Warning: This post contains spoilers!
Disclaimer: this review is solely my opinion. Adam Strange, Johnny Quest and related characters are property of DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera & Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Publisher: DC Comics
Written By: Mark Anderyko, Jeff Parker, Dan Didio
Art By: Steve Lieber, Veronica Gandini, Phil Winslade, Chris Chuckry
Letters By: ALW Studios, Dave Lanphear, Nick J. Nap
The last week of five week months is often a dull one for comic shops, but thankfully March 2017 decided to be different and give us some great annuals and crossover specials from DC comics. Today we take a look at the first of the four specials released Wednesday Adam Strange/Future Quest. So without further adieu let the adventure begin!
Something important to note is that from a continuity perspective the story in this book takes place after the Death of Hawkman mini-series and issue #12 of Future Quest. Neither are necessary reads to understand or enjoy the story, but the prior knowledge the two bring regarding the cast of characters in the book can lend to an extra layer of enjoyment for the reader.
The story starts with Adam Strange traveling through time and space uncontrollably via the Zeta beam after being stranded there at the end of the Death of Hawkman mini-series. He escapes the Zeta beam via the vortex and is found unconscious in the Lost valley by Johhny’s friend Todd who contacts Johnny and Hadji about the new development. The Quest team are not the only ones made away of Adam’s arrival however as some agents of F.E.A.R. that have been stranded in the valley spot the newcomer as well. The rest of the issue basically consists of Adam Strange and the Quest team trying to fight off some mind-controlled dinosaurs and fend off the agents of F.E.A.R. while trying to help Adam regain his lost memories and return home. When Birdman appears and his resemblance to Hawkman helps Adam regain the rest of his memories the group goes on the offensive and they are able to send the evil agents off to be chased by the Herculoids and Adam is able to return home.
The second story in the book is a short back-up that previews the upcoming Top Cat ongoing that shows good ol TC stuck in Gotham city where he recounts his tragic tale to Batman and explains he and his friend Benny got transported there from his world and he is looking for his friend who got lost along the way. The story is short, but solid set-up and gives us a good look at this version of Top Cat and co.
The stories as a whole are mostly entertaining romps, Jeff Parker gives us a solid script that builds on both of the series the special shoots out of and like with the main future quest series, both Adam Strange and the Quest team get ample time on panel to help showcase both are equal players in the story. And while many of the cast of the main Future Quest book may not be present for the story itself, they are at least mentioned in passing as are the cast of Strange’s latest adventure. Though overall I will admit compared to the rest of the crossover specials this one does feel a bit bland. As for the back-up strip, while it is short it manages to use its eight pages well and crams in enough content to help justifiably explain how Top Cat has become DC’s equivalent to Howard the Duck while properly setting up for the ongoing series coming out later this year.
The art on the book is also well done as Steve Lieber and Victoria Gandini help the special retain that silver-age meets modern vibe the main Future Quest book has been known for. And having as style that fits in line with the Johhny Quest cartoons with a slight indie vibe thrown in. Phil Winslade and Chris Chuckery do a solid job on the Top Cat back-up as well balancing the darker colors of Gotham city with the more vibrant colors of Top Cat while still giving the strip a somewhat more serious Noir feel even with the cartoon elements.
Overall Adam Strange/Future Quest Special #1 may not be the strongest of the four crossover book released this week, but it is still a well executed and enjoyable read for what it is.