Comics / DC Comics History

DC Comics History: Adam Strange (1964 - 1967: The New Look)


By Deejay Dayton
January 18, 2020 - 08:36

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Adam Strange underwent some drastic changes during the period 1964 – 1967: the New Look, with the series changing writer and artist, and abandoning the most important plot development that had taken place. There was absolutely no mention of Adam and Alanna getting married in any of the tales from this era, a major disappointment after all the build up. Adam didn’t even look quite right, as Lee Elias eliminated his distinctive helmet. Needless to say, none of his recurring villains showed up, either.

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Frankly, Adam Strange’s tale in Mystery in Space 92, the first after these changes, feels more like an introduction to the character and his two worlds.  In this tale, Adam comes across aliens on Earth hunting for resources to power their hyperdrive engines, and then, after being Zeta-Beamed to Rann, comes across more doing the same thing there. So he defeats the aliens on Rann, and then, when the Zeta-Beam wears off, does the same with the ones back on Earth.  Ho hum.

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The story in Mystery in Space 94 introduced a descendant of Adam Strange, teaming him up with Space Ranger in a full length story that I covered when discussing the other hero. During the tale, Space Ranger finds a ray gun, with Adam Strange's name on it, and goes to consult the long ago hero's journals. Thiss leads to an extended flashback, relating Adam Strange's adventures against Okri-Ro, an alien thief who found five powerful machines.  He used three of them against Adam, but Adam triumphed each time, and destroyed the machines.  Two were lost, along with Okri-Ro's ship. Not much gets explained about these machines.  Adam and Alanna are left with no idea who made them or why.  That would require too much effort from the writer, I guess.

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There are two linked stories in Mystery in Space 98, neither of which are very good.  But the Space Ranger tale does feature the second, and final, appearance of Adam Strange II. The issue opens pitting Adam Strange and Alanna against Yarrok, a would-be conqueror of Rann, who wants to make that world subservient to his own.  It's hard to tell if Yarrok has tusks, or just some really unfortunate facial hair. Either way, Adam takes him down, and Yarrok appears to die at the end of the story. But wait!  There he is again in the Space Ranger tale, two centuries later! The latter part of the issue I covered when discussing Space Ranger.

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Mystery in Space 102 brings Adam Strange's series to an end, with his only cover story during this period. Adam and Alanna are exploring some caves on Rann, and then falling through a time warp.  They wind up in a prehistoric world, but one with advanced robots as well. It turns out that the cavemen were once far more advanced, and constructed the robots. The robots then overthrew their human masters, who reverted to cavemen.  Adam leads an attack on the robots, using a weird yellow substance that burns out their wiring. When Adam's Zeta-Beam radiation begins to wear off, he grabs Alanna.  Adam gets pulled back to present day Rann, where he can drop Alanna off, before getting pulled all the way back to Earth.  There is no reason Adam should assume such a thing would happen, instead of just being pulled back to Earth, but he counts on it. These last couple of years of Adam Strange stories are so disappointing compared to what came earlier that I am glad to bid it farewell. Adam Strange, and Alanna, both next appear in the pages of Hawkman, a couple of years down the road, with his helmet back where it should be.

Adam Strange returns in the next period, 1967 – 1970: It’s a Happening!

Adam Strange: Mystery in Space 92 – 100, 102 (June 1964 – June 1965, Sept 1965)

Next up – Gunner and Sarge!

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Last Updated: January 18, 2020 - 08:50

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