The Pykkts invasion of Earth continues as the bodies pile up and the heroes do their best. Meanwhile, we begin to creep closer and closer to the inevitable death of Adam Strange’s daughter. But, if anyone thought the tragedy was what pushed Adam over the edge, you may have other ideas by the end of this issue. Is Adam war hero, or war criminal?
As the Pykkts invade Earth the flashbacks we have witnessed come faster and shorter with the action swapping from panel to panel rather than just page to page. Is this symbolic, given the alien invaders – and therefore Adam’s past – have arrived in full force upon Earth? It certainly feels like it. The other effect of these cutaways that come fast and thick also helps add to the growing tensions as the action builds and a the sense of an inescapable tragedy builds, courtesy of some slow-simmering storytelling by Tom King.
The war in Earth is of course fought by the hero’s of Earth. But Adam is no hero. He was, and is, a soldier. And soldiers do the wrong thing in the heat of the moment in the name of their country. Or their planet, in Adam’s case.
Adam is a man with the weight of a world on his shoulders. A man who is always in demand. You can see how that would put a strain on him, and a strain on his marital relationship too. It’s the first tike we’ve seen Alanna and Adam fight that’s for sure. And that’s not the most dramatic moment this issue serves up. No, that moment comes a little bit later on and it’s the causal manner in which Adam acts that will chill you. And question a man who seems to be on the brink. Especially as this scene – in which Adam is called in to interrogate a Pykkt captive – is clearly contrasted with a similar scene on Earth involving Mr Terrific and Batman. Needless to say, these similar scenes end up with very different outcomes.
It’s enough to question the whole perspective of the series. What of Adam Strange was actually on the wrong side of history with his war on the Pykkts. History is written by the winners, and we know how that can turn out. No so more than in recent months when the Back Lives Matter movement has had many question the way history is taught, received and which historical figures are hailed as villains or heroes. It’s all a matter of perspective. And who’s side you are on when the battle is lost or won.
Even the artwork has been used to sway the message. Looking upon Evan Shaner’s intentionally innocent and wise-eyed Silver Age tinted artwork lulls the reader into a fall sense of the past. The more gritty and brutal artwork of Mitch Gerards is where most of this series’ troubles have been aired. Troubles that are finally coming to a head. But, with 4 more issue yet to come, I dare say we’ve got a few more twists and turns ahead of us. After all, as Adam Strange sets off with his daughter to catch a sunset on Rann, the colour scheme may well evoke happier times, but I can’t help but be reminded that we have yet to se how his daughter died. It may make for a colourful and beautiful ending to this most recent issue, but it also makes for some very dark foreshadowing. The sunsets on Rann, but will it also be the setting of the sun on the young life of Aleea?
Strange Adventures #8 is out now from DC Comics/DC Black Label