Tom King has grabbed the reins of another classic hero who’s been out of the spotlight for a while. After his complex and moving, Eisner-winning work with Mitch Gerads on Mister Miracle, the power duo aims their blasters at Adam Strange and hit him with a murder mystery. Spoilers below.
As a character, Adam Strange has been around since 1958, flying on his jet pack, falling in love with alien beauties, and making pew pew noises with his blaster.
If that feels like an oversimplification, too bad. Tom King’s broad strokes approach to storytelling shows you everything you need in order to care about the character, understand where he’s coming from, and apprehend where he is now.
Signing books! After saving the day for the umpteenth time and writing his autobiography, Adam Strange is on a national book tour with his wife Alana as his companion (and possibly his manager)?
She runs point with booksellers and Morning Show pundits, as the action zips back and forth from Adam’s early days of glory, to his present successes as established superhero and author. He’s signing autographs and shooting blasters at alien lizard men. It is a magnificent slice of life comic, sewn together from completely different slices of his life...
Right up to the point somebody gets murdered. Turns out that one of Adam’s only critic (and alien lizard man sympathizer) quite literally has his head blown off. By some kind of ray gun.
It’s a controversy that threatens to undermine Adam’s entire book tour, not to mention political aspirations foisted on him by his supporters. To prove he had nothing to do with it, Adam delivers his blaster to Batman himself. The Dark Knight refuses the case, saying he’s too close to Adam as they are personal friends. But he knows someone who isn’t...
If you’re familiar with Tom King and Mitch Gerad‘s spectacular work, then you have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for: A rollicking adventure, with notes of deeply personal feeling, spun together into a time bending tale (which in this case happens to be a murder mystery).
Now, I have a strong theory as to whodunnit, based only on what’s available in this first chapter. If you want to be completely surprised as the mystery unfolds, read no further.
You good? Long story short, I think Alanna did it. In addition to having motive, means, and opportunity, she’s also the only person on earth with a personal stake in her husband’s story. (Not to mention, focusing on someone’s reflection instead of the actual person is visual shorthand for duplicity.)
Adam is frequently seen sacked out on a hotel bed, between interviews and signings— giving Alana plenty of time to step out with his ray gun and get some revenge on his sole vocal critic. (It would also not be the first time a hero’s civilian wife committed the crime.)
I think Adam’s blaster is going to turn out to be the murder weapon. I think Alanna did it in a fit of pique, and will say she did it to help his future. I think it’s heavily political, which is not something you usually see in a comic with jet packs and laser guns!
Regardless of whodunnit, I am a steadfast fan of king and Gerad’s work, And eagerly await chapter 2. Go pick it up!