Max continues his rampage through the Adam Strange Archives and takes a huge chunk out of volume 3. Plus, a look at the Secret Society of Super Villains collections recently put out by DC Comics. Read Max rant and ramble about comics, and maybe learn a thing or two!
Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to email@example.com or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.
No reading today. However, I was able to get down to Super-Fly to pick up my Xmas gift from my Dad that was ordered from the store just prior to Christmas, The Secret Society of Super Villains Vol. 1 hardcover. It looks awesome! Thanks Dad! I have all the published issues, but haven’t read them yet and the hardcover (and its second volume, due out this spring) contain all kinds of extras, some including some stuff that never saw print! For example, the first volume contains a black & white alternate issue #1 by Gerry Conway that DC didn’t use. I flipped through it, and put it up on the shelf. It won’t stay there long, as I’ve designated it as one of my “out” books if I ever need a break from a character or series, and as I’ve got nearly two shelves of Batman coming up… Hey, I’m sure all that Batman will be awesome, but I’ll probably need a break or two.
Hopefully I can get into some late night Adam Strange this evening!
It’s early and I’m about to pull the shrink wrap off of Adam Strange Archives Volume 3!
How does Adam Strange rank three volumes where Atom and Hawkman only have two archives a piece and Aquaman only has one? Of course, three isn’t overwhelming when you consider Flash and Green Lantern have five each (GL actually has six now), Plastic Man has eight, and Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have who knows how many by now? I guess Adam Strange is up there because it’s classic Gardner Fox writing with Julius Schwartz editing, crisp art by Carmen Infantino and Murphy Anderson, some great sci-fi and a really smart, likable hero with a girlfriend who gets in on the action.
Actually, when I actually get to reading the introduction to the third volume of the Adam Strange Archives, the reason becomes clearer. The three archives volumes collect all the Gardner Fox/Carmine Infantino/Murphy Anderson stories before Infantino went on to draw Batman and Anderson went from inking Adam Strange to do the pencils on the then-new Hawkman series. Not long after their departure, Mystery in Space folded, with Adam Strange fading into obscurity for a time aside from the occasional guest appearance in other books.
Getting into the stories of the volume, there are asterisks littering the pages, with dialog boxes explaining and sometimes even panels referencing Adam Strange’s past adventures. It’s a nice feeling to have read them all while these editor’s notes are flying. It makes the stories much more enjoyable too. While these archive editions are expensive, they are treasure troves of classic stories and it is awesome having just about Adam Strange’s full run to enjoy.
One story features Adam torn between saving Earth and Rann, with him pictured between Earth being atom bombed and Rann being burned through a giant lens as if its inhabitants were ants. It really nails the man of two worlds nature of Adam Strange and it’s definitely worth seeing. DC was pretty proud of this cover too, and redid it for DC Comics Presents: Mystery In Space #1 in 2004.
Another cool cover features a reoccurring foe. Adam Strange’s most deadly arch villain started out as a surviving member of a seemingly easily dispatched alien race of dust devils Adam and Alanna encountered on another world. Each time the dust devil Jakarta comes back more deadly than before, and Adam must devise a new way to stop him as Jakarta is quick to learn from past mistakes.
There’s one story that seems out of place, and it comes not out of Mystery in Space but from Strange Adventures from a feature called “Space Museum” which stars Alan Strange, who is a descendent of Adam Strange and a curator of the Space Museum. Alan has an adventure where he must save his brother from saboteurs and along the way saves a hidden minature race from destruction. The story’s inclusion in the volume is nice, but it’s a little jarring to go from Adam to Alan to Adam again. This is not a complaint though, it’s interesting this character was even created, let alone included in this archives edition.
Adam Strange also acts like a jerk a couple times, once when he grows a super brain, and another time when he is under the spell of an alien enchantress Brittis. Both times he is a complete creep to Alanna, though it turns out at least in the Brittis incident, Adam’s behavior was all part of a plan to lure Brittis into a false sense of security before breaking free of her spell. Naturally, Adam had a plan all along!
That’s it for now. It’s really been great reading all this Adam Strange, and I highly recommend the three volumes of Adam Strange Archives. I should have them all wrapped up for next time!
NOTES FROM NOW (7/31/12): I’ve actually just picked up the second volume to The Secret Society of Super Villains over the weekend, which made me more excited to dig into those books, yet I still was putting them off. However, because I’ve become hopelessly stuck in what I’ve been trying to read/write about now for some time, my wife has commanded I dig into The Secret Society of Super Villains Volume 1 immediately to break free from my slump and jazz me up. Let me tell you, I’ve read only about a chapter and a half and it is some hot stuff! Villains team up only to look out for themselves when the chips are down. It’s like primordial Suicide Squad or Secret Six except with a bigger cast and the bad guys are engaging in great schemes of super villainy instead of government or mercenary work. Plus there’s this classic campy narration throughout, like: “These questions will have to wait reader, as we turn our attention to…” etc. Plus there’s Captain Comet, who I’m pretty fond of. At any rate, great stuff, and I can’t wait to read more and write about it!