Adam Strange – Mystery of the Metal Menace

Mystery of the Metal Menace

Adam’s rendezvous with the Zeta-beam is complicated when he spots a white hunter in the path of a rampaging elephant. Adam does the right thing and risks missing his trip to Rann to pull this guy to safety. Dazed at the sudden appearance of a man with with a jet pack, the hunter receives no answer as Adam darts off. And he makes it just in time to catch the beam!

When he meets up with Alanna, she carts him around to the dignitaries and royalty of Rann, who all want to show their appreciation to Adam for his service to their planet (which they should do after they decided to send him off on the last mission).

Adam seems less than grateful when he complains to Alanna that the supposed diamond key he was given is really just made of glass, as he demonstrates that a large coin (another of his gifts) cannot be cut by the key. Borrowing her ring, he uses the diamond to cut into the diamond, discovering that it too is not of the quality promised to him.

So he’s cruising around Rann with his lady and this meteor whips by, throwing them off course. Adam is able to tear their ship free. But his curiosity inspires a pursuit of this mysterious magnetic meteor. This takes them to a faraway planet where a weird alien lives. This alien, Zakkad, has figured everything out. He’s super-smart and he can do anything he wants. Except for teleportation. He hasn’t figured that out. So he tricked Adam into visiting his world to give him the secret of interstellar teleportation.

Adam refuses, anticipating Zakkad’s plan to conquer the galaxy. Zakkad figured Adam would refuse, so he set his meteor to pull Rann out of its orbit.

“Um…okay okay! I will give you the secret of teleportation. First, let me talk for a long time while my girlfriend checks her Facebook. Do you mind if she uses her computer? Thanks, just look away s while she enters her password.”

Alanna changes the meteor’s direction, so now Zakkad’s planet will be pulled out of its orbit. Clever girl! Trapped by his own sneakiness, Zakkad surrenders and Adam and Alanna return to Rann. Just for a moment for Adam. Just as they touch down on Rann, he fades away back to earth.

This is another silly story that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I won’t even go into the ridiculous mechanics of the magnetic meteor (let alone the misuse of the very word ‘meteor’). As I’ve proclaimed again and again, every story we tell can be shown to be a reflection of the meta-story of our species – that of Jesus Christ and the amazing rescue he performed, at the cost of his own life; which only set the stage for the unexpected final act: Resurrection!

So how can a silly story like this reflect that majestic story?

Every Adam Strange story follows a similar pattern: Adam longs for his bride, travels to her world through a pillar of light, battles her enemies, saves her, and disappears again, always eager to return for her for the last time. This is Jesus’ story too. His bride is the Church. He longed to be in the presence of the Church. So he came for her, under the light of the Christmas Star. He battled our enemies, saved us, and disappeared again. He’s waiting right now to return and collect us for the last time.

What about this individual story? One nuance it gives to the basic framework story is Adam’s commissioning of Alanna to help him on this mission. She’s accompanied him before, but here begins one of the great legacies of this strip: Adam and Alanna’s partnership.

She beats the bad guy in this one! I dare you to name another superhero girlfriend in 1959 who was busy beating the evil alien instead of caring about this kind of dumb stuff:

The Bible talks about the role of a husband being like Jesus and the role of a wife being like the Church. This illustration will be used again and again in the Adam Strange stories to come.

Another perfect cover by Gil Kane, my favorite comic artist. Notice the influence of Wally Wood, particularly on Alanna’s figure and costume.

*************

This completes the pilot series. A few months later, Adam Strange was placed in Mystery in Space, where he would stay for about 50 issues and where he would have his legendary adventures.

Adam’s original run in Showcase was successful enough to merit more appearances. I think I’ll invite him back to Geeks of Christ too! After a successful pilot series, Adam Strange has joined the blog as the regular Wednesday review feature!

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