Strange Adventures #1
Loads of white men flew to other lands to liberate the (proper sort of) natives, in the pulps of the 1930's and 40's. Here's another look at one of them.
For readers longing for another dose of the special brand of existentialism offered up in the pages of Tom King’s Mister Miracle, there’s a lot on offer here. The flavour’s slightly different. Whereas Miracle was a close examination of the effects of trauma (and the limits of healing) this outing appears, at first blush, to be more concerned with the effects of story — the biographies we tell ourselves — about ourselves — so that we are able to live, contrasted with the stories that the world weaves around us, in order for the public to accept their own roles in the events of the world. In part, this story appears to be an analysis of spin — as it relates to the soldiers we support — as much as it a (potentially profound) examination of the ways those soldiers reconcile themselves to what they’ve done in order, one way or another, to live.
The truth (assuming, of course, that we can get at it) lies somewhere between these two poles. This story, brilliantly and challengingly, only presents us with those two parallel — but ultimately disconnected— narratives. So, the visual and literary narration, presents us with two stories: the clean, bright (intellectually simple but morally pure) story of an all-American hero who winds up (through no fault of his own) stranded on an alien world where it is his duty to save the (human) inhabitants from the Savage, restless (alien) ‘natives’ who threaten this western-analogous civilization and the somewhat cynical (but superficially believable) effort of that hero to present whatever actually happened in the best possible way (the way which will enable him to live with himself) for the media. The writing, in these segments, is more naturalistic, far more linguistically complex, than the offerings in the pulp sections, and the art mirrors this complexity both in the dark (dirty) colours and the sketchy quality of the linework. Gerads and Shaner work together flawlessly, incorporating and expanding upon the subtle nuances of King’s writing.
All of this exploration hinges (and hangs) upon a central mystery: who murdered the man who dared to criticize the nation’s brightest hero? This plot will, it seems, force the varying threads of not-quite-true to come together into a net to snare the truth in the story — or else it will reveal the irreconcilable facts currently held in stalemate in the mind of the protagonist. In either case, this will be an interesting, rewarding story to follow.
If you're in the mood for some complex, surprisingly astute analysis of western colonialism wrapped in a patina of 1940's all-American pulp, pick up the first issue of Tom King's Strange Adventures. It's well worth the cover price.
Strange Adventures #1: Truth is Rarely Pure and Never Simple
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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