What Else I’m Reading – Adam Strange 2

Showcase 17

Returning to Rann for the first time, Adam Strange finds a primitive tribe ready for a witch-burning instead of the advanced scientists of his last visit. He’s whisked to be judged, swiftly found guilty of sorcery, and sentenced to death – at least, sentenced to what these folks think is death. They don’t know it, but their punishment is really a transportation device their people have long-forgotten about.

And he disappears from the primitive tribe and finds himself on a strange landscape raining meteors. That spaceship in the distance is filled with an unconscious crew – it’s Sardath and Alanna!

Alanna stirred awake and explained to Adam that she and her father heard about a space colony on Rann’s sister planet Anthorann. To protect themselves from the constant meteor showers, the people built a dome over their city. Rushing off to explore this new world and eager to meet any descendants of the first colony, Alanna and Sardath flew away in a spaceship toward Anthorann.

Trapped on Anthorann with only the ancient bubble to protect them, Adam and friends must now defend themselves against the mysterious aliens who attacked Alanna’s ship. For the first time, Adam dons (a version of) his famous red costume.

This is given less fanfare than you’d expect or want. He just finds the spacesuit in Alanna and Sardath’s spaceship. It’s not very intentional, which means there isn’t much meaning. The little emblem on his helmet’s forehead wasn’t carefully crafted like Batman’s or Superman’s chest emblems were. He’s not a hero by design, but by accident really.

AS 1st appearance was on this cover, illustrated by the great Gil Kane, who also designed the costume.

The aliens have returned with a big blade to cut through the city’s protective bubble!

So Adam’s solution is pretty much what you see on the cover here. He flew around and shot the blade off the spaceship.

Two missions complete in one issue. And two fadeaways from this neato new girl he likes. Poor guy can’t even get a minute to say hi.

This is, frankly, a poor story. By Adam Strange standards, it’s sloppy and oddly paced and resolved in a pretty dumb way. For a campy 8 minutes of fun, it works. The set-up is kind of cool, featuring ancient secrets and an alien invasion. This scope of story would have been better served in a full-length comic, instead of an 8-page supplement.

Mike Sekowsky illustrated this story (and the origin story that appeared in the same issue). Normally, I find his figures rushed, long-hipped and generally sloppy. I’m not a fan. His work in these first two Adam Strange stories is really some of his best I think. In the first story, Adam wears only normal clothes, so Sekowsky isn’t bothered with any anatomy. In this one, he takes on an interpretation of Kane’s masterful cover. I wouldn’t have expected much of anything resembling Kane’s work. Yet he manages to convey some perspective and movement.

So what about the story? Like I said, it’s not the greatest. But we do find our hero assuming the likeness of those under his protection as he faces off against a vicious alien trying to invade their world to destroy them. That’s what my hero did! Jesus took on humanity and saved his people from the vicious enemy cutting his way through our world. The only reason Satan wants into our world is to destroy us. Why does he want us dead? Because God loves us and anything God loves becomes Satan’s enemy. I’m oversimplifying a bit, but with a story this flimsy…well, I don’t have many other options do I?

Adam arrives from the sky, appears as a normal Rannian, and scatters the dark forces trying to destroy his people – especially the one that will become his bride.

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Tomorrow on Geeks of Christ

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