Mystery in Space 53

Menace of the Robot Raiders

Adam is finally in his right costume and Carmine Infantino, a legend in the medium, begins to pencil the character. Those two facts alone make this an important story. This story will need all the points it can get…it’s not the best. In fact, it might the worst Adam Strange story yet.

Alanna greets Adam in an absurd giant green robot. She’s steering it from a seating area in the thing’s head, just like the cover. A bunch of these robots were given to the people of Rann by the Griks, an alien race in need of some mineral only found on Rann. Adam immediately assumes the robots are some kind of Trojan Horse.

Why don’t you tell us, Vor Kan

His suspicions are upgraded to theory when the robots run amok. After a fair bit of destruction, the robots are about to rip up one building and suddenly stop. A surprising break in destruction is announced.

The interstellar sweeties travel to the mines built by the Griks, to confront the supposed invaders only to find that control of the robots was given over to someone in Ranagar upon their arrival to the planet. Adam races back to the city, remembering the one building left suspiciously unperturbed by the rampaging robots – the robot control center!

The man given control of the robots was a traitor, sold out to some rival city-state on Rann! Adam tackles him and disables his diabolical plot to ruin Ranagar just in time to fade away back to earth.

I’ve said before that Adam Strange’s basic story format is a reflection of the story of Christ. From story to story, he is the visitor from the skies who has adopted the people of this world as his own and who saves them from whatever danger. Sometimes he’ll do something or solve some problem that illustrates another aspect of the true story of Jesus Christ. I suspect that I’ll find that whatever villain he faces will determine what part of the Christian story is illustrated.

The villain here is a traitor. He lived among the people of Ranagar and took advantage of the new robot gifts to destroy the city so whatever city-state he belonged to could have dominance. These characters show up a lot in Adam Strange stories. The tension between the rival city-states will eventually bubble over into full-scale war.

Here, the first traitor reminds the Geeks of Christ of the terrible danger of heretics. I don’t want to diminish the reality of this danger by comparing it to a silly old comic, but the simple point is that bad guys can seem good. Jude warned against “spots on the love feast,” comparing traitors within the church to rocks that sit just under the water’s surface so that the sea looks safe but is truly deadly.

Vor Kan, the first of many traitors to Ranagar, represents this simple danger.

Prisoner of the Electric Eye

In this issue’s second story, an escape artist is commissioned to spy on a secret organization set on starting a way between Earth and Saturn (or Pluto, as one panel’s apparent typo states)!

The hero’s challenge is to escape from a prison with open doors. Sounds easy, but there are electric “eyes” that slam the doors shut whenever its light hits anything. So the good guy pries one of the floor tiles up and holds it above his head so he can sneak out the door, reasoning that the electric eye is already set to ignore the material that the floor is made of. He makes it and warns earth of the evil plot.

From this trite little story, I see the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ! I can’t help it – it’s everywhere! The life of a sinner is like this prison with open doors. We can see that there is a richer life beyond that our sin prevents us from reaching. But we’re covered by the blood of righteous Jesus Christ. His sinless life is a like a different material altogether, and when it’s over our lives we can enjoy the relationship with God that a sinless affords. Covered by the floor, the spy found freedom. Covered by the perfect life of Jesus, the Christian finds freedom.

Earth’s Secret Space-War

A simple farmboy from earth finds a sick alien in a crashed spaceship. He’s telepathically instructed to drive the alien home. While on the strange new planet, another alien planet seems to have sent an invasion fleet. They fight back for a few days and finally the human shows them that they’ve been shooting at nothing this whole time; the invaders only dropped off some hallucinogenic plants that have been poisoning the atmosphere.

A stranger from the sky arrives, reveals the true nature of a threat, and frees a race of people from oppression. Sound familiar?

***

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