Adam Strange

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Adam Strange
Adamstrange2005.JPG
Art by Pasqual Ferry.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceShowcase # 17, (November 1958)
Created byGardner Fox
Mike Sekowsky
In-story information
Alter egoAdam Strange
Place of originRann,
formerly Earth
Team affiliationsJustice League
Seven Soldiers of Victory
R.E.B.E.L.S.
AbilitiesWears a jet pack spacesuit that allows for sustained flight and interstellar travel; Carries energy blast guns; Generates solid-light equipment via spacesuit; can see into the whole electromagnetic spectrum
 
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Adam Strange
Adamstrange2005.JPG
Art by Pasqual Ferry.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceShowcase # 17, (November 1958)
Created byGardner Fox
Mike Sekowsky
In-story information
Alter egoAdam Strange
Place of originRann,
formerly Earth
Team affiliationsJustice League
Seven Soldiers of Victory
R.E.B.E.L.S.
AbilitiesWears a jet pack spacesuit that allows for sustained flight and interstellar travel; Carries energy blast guns; Generates solid-light equipment via spacesuit; can see into the whole electromagnetic spectrum

Adam Strange is a fictional superhero published by DC Comics. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky, he first appeared in Showcase #17 (November 1958).

In May 2011, Adam Strange placed 97th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time.

Contents

Publication history

Created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky,[1] Adam Strange is reminiscent of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series. Both characters have origins in which they are chased by threatening aboriginal peoples only to find themselves mysteriously transported at the last moment to distant planets where they become heroic figures. In Carter's case this is to Mars, while Adam Strange is transported to Rann. Both characters long to travel to a strange world to fight alien opponents and be united with a beloved woman who resided there. Although the John Carter stories depict a raw sort of adventure that includes swordplay, physical action, nudity, and bloodletting, these are absent from the Adam Strange stories.

Like most other comic book science fiction stories of the 1950s, the problems and their stories are contrived, the solutions often based on haphazard application of simple scientific principles. After his initial 3-issue run in Showcase (#17-19), came a move to Mystery in Space (#53-100, 102), drawn by Carmine Infantino and most often inked by Murphy Anderson (although Bernard Sachs, Joe Giella and Sid Greene did a few issues each). As of #92, Jack Schiff replaced Julius Schwartz as editor of MIS and Lee Elias became the artist for Adam Strange. He later appeared in Strange Adventures (reprints in #217 through 244, except for #222, which instead had a new story with Strange, written by Denny O'Neil, while #226 had the addition of a new Strange text story, by Fox, with illustrations by Anderson).

One award-winning story, however, resulted from a continuity gaffe in the Justice League of America comic book, in which the Flash mentions Adam Strange as a possible new member for the Justice League, a group he had not met and who could not have heard of him, as all his heroics took place on Rann. When a letter to the editor reported this, Gardner Fox wrote a story showing how the JLA came to Rann and how Adam Strange got them out of the traps that Kanjar Ro set for them there.

For years, the character was a regular presence in the DC Universe. By the 1980s, the acclaimed author Alan Moore provided a more cynical reason for his visits to Rann. Apparently, the population of the planet, the majority of whom viewed the Terran with contempt, is sterile, and the real reason for Adam's presence is to be a breeding stud. This new situation is further illustrated in a 1990 limited series, The Man of Two Worlds, where Adam learns of the population's opinion of him and Alanna died giving birth to their daughter Aleea. In JLA #20 (July 1998), Alanna is revealed to be alive, and, at the end of the story, she is reunited with her husband and daughter, albeit briefly, as Adam is transported back to Earth soon after Alanna's arrival.

It should also be noted that Moore got the situation on Rann wrong; children were visible in several of the earlier stories (MIS and the Strange Adventures text story). His story remains a curious (if well-written) quirk in the Adam Strange series.[2]

Fictional character biography

Strange is an archeologist suddenly teleported from Peru, Earth to fictional planet Rann through the "Zeta Beam". Called on to protect the planet from extraterrestrial threats using high-tech weaponry, Strange grew to care for the planet and its inhabitants, especially the blue-haired Alanna and her father Sardath, whose experiments were responsible for the ray that had brought him. Eventually, the effects of the beam wore off, automatically returning Strange to Earth at the exact point of departure, but not before Sardath had given him a schedule of beam firings allowing him to periodically return to the planet. Independently wealthy, he traveled Earth, intercepting the scheduled Zeta Beams to defend Rann and be with Alanna. Although never a headlining character, Strange has had a consistent presence in the DC Universe.

Justice League of America

During Grant Morrison's revival of the Justice League of America series, Mark Waid featured Adam Strange when he filled in for Morrison. This proved to be the starting point of a renaissance for the character, establishing new motivations and updating the character's role in the DC Universe. Adam Strange kidnaps the entirety of the Justice League while seeming to be completely insane. The heroes of the Justice League are put to forced labor to reconstruct Rann, ostensibly to celebrate the return of the missing Princess Alanna, who is believed to be dead. With the help of the En'Taran's, a group of telepathic alien slavers, the entire population of Rann has been rebuilding the planet to restore its technology and infrastructure. The League's role is to help with the finishing touches for the finale, which will greet Alanna and her En'Taran escorts.

After several escape attempts by the New God, Orion, and a concerted effort by Superman, Wonder Woman and The Flash, the League succeeds in breaking loose and restraining their En'Taran captors thanks to the efforts of Steel, using Orion's Mother Box to block the En'Taran telepathy. Adam Strange then reveals that he has been completely sane during their entire incarceration—using a device to broadcast deranged brainwaves and give the impression that he was mad—and that the restoration effort has been a ruse to ward off an En'Taran invasion. Due to a fluke of circumstances, Alanna was never really dead, but was rather merely in a coma, having been misdiagnosed by an Earth doctor unfamiliar with Rann physiology, prompting her father to take her body to other planets to try to find a cure. As the En'Tarans revived her, they discovered the secret to Zeta Beam teleportation technology and began to covet it for military purposes. Acting quickly after the En'Tarans tricked him into bringing them to Rann, Adam Strange feigned insanity and had the Justice League brought to Rann to provide back up and help him with a desperate gamble. The structures of the capital city are actually plans to turn the entire planet into a larger version of the teleporter; by using his own body as part of the lens, the radiation that keeps him tethered permanently to Rann can instead be used to permanently teleport the invasion fleet away. The Justice League was necessary to complete the repairs in time and for mounting a fast rescue attempt of Alanna and her father from the En'Taran fleet, Superman 'borrowing' the Flash's speed so that he could rescue Alanna and her father from the fleet after the beam was fired but before it struck the ship. The plan works, and Strange's family is rescued seconds before the beam channels through him to teleport the fleet away.

Just as the Stranges are reunited, he begins to disappear as the beam has expunged his radiation tether. The League disappears shortly after, both admiring that Strange beat an alien invasion using only his wits, but also lamenting how painful it must be to have won the battle only to lose his loved ones again. Somewhere on Earth, J'onn J'onzz finds Adam Strange looking up at the sky with longing, and comforts him by placing an understanding hand on his shoulder.

Strange returns to Rann in JLA: Heaven's Ladder (2000) and is presumably reunited with his family shortly after.

Planet Heist

Planet Heist, a 2004 eight-issue limited series, written by Andy Diggle, penciled by Pasqual Ferry and colored by Dave McCaig, updated Adam Strange's appearance and abilities by giving him a new costume, a spacesuit that allows for interstellar travel. In the series, Adam was prepared to relocate to Rann permanently when he was informed that the planet was destroyed and that he was blamed for its destruction. In fact, Sardath transported Rann to another dimension to save the planet from the cosmic being, Starbreaker, intent on destroying the planet. Adam, with the help of the Omega Men and the Darkstars, among others, saved Rann and defeated the evil being.

Rann-Thanagar War

When Rann was moved, its orbit was believed to have pushed the planet Thanagar closer to its sun, destroying much of the surface (it was later discovered that the actions of Superboy-Prime moved Thanagar). Many Thanagarians were relocated to Rann, but enmity between the two races resulted in a war, depicted in Rann-Thanagar War- Strange working with Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Kyle Rayner and Kilowog to try to end the conflict-, a six-issue precursor to DC's 2005 to 2006 limited series and DC crossover event, Infinite Crisis. Strange was eventually able to end the war when he discovered evidence of Superboy-Prime's role in Thanagar's relocation.

52

Adam is featured as one of the main characters in DC's weekly event 52. Adam is stranded on a paradise-like planet with Animal Man and Starfire. As a result of a teleportation accident involving the zeta beam, he has lost both of his eyeballs but in spite of his injuries, he is trying to fix a damaged spaceship so that they may return home.[3] After being attacked by Devilance the Pursuer, they eventually escape having realized that the entire planet is a trap.

Encountered by Devilance again, they are saved by the intervention of Lobo. Having renounced violence and his career as a bounty hunter, Lobo agrees to serve as the group's guide. They are soon also joined by Ekron, a member of the Green Lantern Corps nicknamed the "Emerald Head" for his unique mode of transport. This ragtag team makes a stand against the villainess Lady Styx, whose undead legions are ravaging planets across the galaxy. With Styx presumably defeated and Animal Man seemingly killed, Strange and Starfire continue their journey back to Earth and Rann, still pursued by angry Lady Styx followers. With Starfire wounded in one of such battles, and their ship breaking apart and malfunctioning, Adam is forced to fly blindly in open space. When he's about to crash into a sun, he is saved by Mogo and a rookie Green Lantern. Brought to Rann, Strange is equipped with new eyes, cloned by Aleea and genetically engineered to grant him vision of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. He is briefly questioned by the Green Lantern Corps about the secret of 52, but when an emergency arose during the interrogation, the Lanterns offered to respond in Strange's stead so he could be reacquainted with his wife.

Countdown to Adventure

Adam Strange joined Animal Man and Starfire in the series Countdown to Adventure written by Adam Beechen in August 2007.

In issue #1, Adam finds himself replaced as Rann's protector by Champ Hazard, a former actor from Earth. However, Hazard has no regard for any life and is responsible for ending his battles in a horrifically bloody way. It appears Champ was infected by a madness plague created by Lady Styx before leaving Earth, and has infected one third of the people on Rann, causing them to riot and say "Believe in Her." Adam and his family escape to Earth, where he enlists the aid of Animal Man and Starfire, eventually discovering a way to cure the plague and restore the infectees to normal.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War

Adam Strange, along with many of the DC space heroes, battles Synnar the Demiurge. Adam Strange's actions in this story result in the depopulation of Prince Gavyn's Throneworld at the hands of Lady Styx. Later, to defeat Synnar and Lady Styx, Rann's atmosphere was explosively discharged into outer space with Rann's entire population Zeta-beamed to Throneworld. Strange also discovers in this story that he is a member of the so called Aberrant Six.

Strange Adventures

With Throneworld renamed New Rann, Adam Strange once more teams up with the DC space heroes to investigate why some of the galaxy's stars are disappearing. It is revealed that Synnar has merged with an unstable Weird; that is what is causing the stars to disappear. However, once separating them, Adam Strange realizes that one day Synnar will return and force him to join HIS Aberrant Six.

R.E.B.E.L.S.

Adam Strange then found himself joining up with Vril Dox as part of his R.E.B.E.L.S.. Adam Strange helped to save the Vega system and several galaxies by defeating Starro the Conqueror. It was also around this time that Adam Strange visited New Krypton to protest the accord that their Council reached with the Thanagarians. Explaining that the Rannians have recently been on the losing end in a war with the Thanagarians, Adam questions the judgment of the Council in reaching this accord. Whilst there he aided Superman who was investigating a murder.

The plight of Rann's people was soon resolved by Vril Dox, seeking to restore his reputation after Starro the Conqueror stole L.E.G.I.O.N. from him and used it to enslave its client worlds. Dox Zeta-beamed Rann into the Vega system, in the orbit previously held by the now destroyed planet Tamaran, and proceeded to terraform Rann and make it suitable to sustain life again.

The restoration of the planet Rann wasn't Dox's only reason for relocating it into the Vega system. First, by putting Rann into Tamaran's orbit, it restored the gravitional balance to the Vega system, which had been thrown off by Tamaran's destruction. Secondly, in exchange for restoring their planet, the people of Rann agreed to let Dox rebuild L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters on Rann.

Tamaranian refugees, led by Blackfire, attacked Rann believing that since the planet was in Tamaran's orbit they had claim to it. The violence was ended when Vril Dox, who was off-world at the start of the conflict, arrived with Thanagarian warships and stopped the fighting without bloodshed on either side. As it turned out, Dox was off-world negotiating an official end to the Rann-Thanagar War, using Rann's new-found distance from Thanagar and change in leadership on both sides as leverage.

Dox then went on to mediate the tension between the Rannians and the Tamaranians by proposing that the Tamaranians live on Rann's uninhabited southern continent.

Other versions

In other media

Television

Film

Video game

Awards and reception

The character and series of the same name have received several awards over the years, including the 1967 and 1968 Alley Awards for Strip Most Desired for Revival. IGN ranked Adam Strange as the 97th greatest comic book hero of all time stating that while Strange has never been a major force in the DCU, the character makes a perfect vessel for the zaniest stories the writers at DC can come up with.[7]

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ Irvine, Alex; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1950s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Adam Strange debuted in a three-issue trial starting with Showcase #17, which was written by Gardner Fox and featured art by Mike Sekowsky." 
  2. ^ Strange Adventures 226
  3. ^ 52 Week Seven
  4. ^ Pope, Paul and Jose Villarrubia "Strange Adventures"
  5. ^ "'Young Justice' heads into sci-fi direction in new season –". Usatoday.com. 2012-04-27. http://www.usatoday.com/life/comics/story/2012-04-27/Young-Justice-animated-series/54582660/1. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  6. ^ "Leonardo DiCaprio to Produce Aquaman and Adam Strange Movies". TheHDRoom. 2009-07-20. http://www.thehdroom.com/news/Leonardo-DiCaprio-to-Produce-Aquaman-and-Adam-Strange-Movies/5303. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  7. ^ "Adam Strange as number 97". IGN. http://www.ign.com/top/comic-book-heroes/97. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 

External links