Artwork for the cover of DC Comics Presents: Mystery in Space vol. 2, 1 (September 2004). Art by Alex Ross.
|First appearance||Showcase #17 (November 1958)|
|Created by||Julius Schwartz
|Alter ego||Adam Strange|
|Place of origin||Rann,
|Team affiliations||Justice League
Justice League United
Seven Soldiers of Victory
|Abilities||Wears 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|
In May 2011, Adam Strange placed 97th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Other versions
- 4 In other media
- 5 Awards and reception
- 6 Tributes
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 References
- 9 External links
In 1957, DC Comics editorial director Irwin Donenfeld held a meeting with editors Jack Schiff and Julius Schwartz in his office, asking them each to create a new science fiction hero: one from the present, and one from the future. Given first pick, Schiff chose to create one from the future (Space Ranger). However, Schwartz was happy with the pick, feeling that readers would more readily identify with a hero from the present. He conceived the idea of an Earth man repeatedly traveling to a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system using a Zeta-beam altered by space radiation, and named his character Adam after the first man on Earth according to the Abrahamic faiths, since Adam Strange was the first Earthman on another planet.
Adam Strange debuted in issues #17–19 of the tryout series Showcase, published November 1958 – March 1959. The first artwork of the character was a cover for Showcase #17 by Murphy Anderson; though Schwartz rejected the drawing and commissioned a new one by Gil Kane, Anderson's costume design was retained. Schwartz then assigned the scribing of the stories to Gardner Fox and the penciling to Mike Sekowsky. Schwartz and Fox devised the plots for the stories in Schwartz's office, and Fox would write the scripts at home. A science major, Schwartz specialized in giving Fox scientific pointers that gave the Adam Strange tales a plausibility that made them stand out from most science fiction of the time.
Sales on the three-issue Showcase tryout were enough to justify giving Adam Strange a slot in Mystery in Space, which ran in issues #53–100 and 102. Though Schwartz and Fox continued their work on the character, Schwartz gave the penciler assignment to Carmine Infantino instead of Sekowsky. Most issues were inked by Murphy Anderson (although Bernard Sachs, Joe Giella and Sid Greene did a few issues each). In the Justice League of America comic book, the Flash mentioned Adam Strange as a possible new member for the Justice League. When a letter to the editor pointed out the group had not met Adam Strange and could not have heard of him, as all his heroics took place on Rann, Schwartz and Fox wrote a story showing how the Justice League came to Rann and how Adam Strange saved them from Kanjar Ro. The story was published in Mystery in Space #75 and won the Alley Award for the "Best Book-Length Story" of 1962.
As of #92, Jack Schiff replaced Schwartz as editor of Mystery in Space and Lee Elias became the artist for Adam Strange. Following the discontinuation of the Adam Strange stories, reprints were presented in Strange Adventures #217 through 244 (except for #222, which instead has a new story with Strange, written by Denny O'Neil, while #226 has a new Strange text story, by Fox, with illustrations by Anderson).
Through the 1970s, the character was a regular presence in the DC Universe despite having no series of his own. In the 1980s, Alan Moore wrote a retcon of Adam Strange's reason for his visits to Rann. In this retcon, the population of the planet, the majority of whom view the Terran with contempt, is sterile, and Adam Strange is there to be a breeding stud. In a 1990 limited series, The Man of Two Worlds, Adam learns of the population's opinion of him and Alanna dies giving birth to their daughter Aleea. In JLA #20 (July 1998), Alanna is revealed to be alive, and is briefly reunited with her husband and daughter before Adam is transported back to Earth.
In 2013, Jeff Lemire said he intends to introduce a New 52 incarnation of Adam Strange at some point in Justice League Canada, a series scheduled to launch in Spring 2014. In January 2014 Lemire announced that the series would instead be titled Justice League United, and that it would feature Alanna as well as Adam.
Fictional character biography
Strange is an archeologist suddenly teleported from Peru, Earth to the planet Rann through a "Zeta-Beam". Upon his arrival, he is attacked by one of the planet's predators and rescued by a dark-haired woman called Alanna. She takes him to her father Sardath, who explains that the Zeta-Beam was transmitted at Earth in the hopes that whatever form of intelligent life lived there would trace it back to Rann, and theorizes that in the 4.3 years it takes the Zeta-Beam to reach earth, it was altered by space radiation into a transportation beam. Called on to protect the planet from extraterrestrial threats using Rann's technology, Strange grew to care for the planet and its inhabitants, especially Alanna. 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. Using mathematical calculations, he was able to determine the exact time and the precise locations at which the Zeta-Beams would arrive. He travels the world and intercepts them, to defend Rann and be with Alanna.
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. Adam Strange kidnapped the entirety of the Justice League and put them to forced labor to reconstruct Rann, as part of a ruse to rescue Alanna and her father. Strange returned to Rann in JLA: Heaven's Ladder (2000) and presumably reunited with his family shortly after.
Planet Heist, a 2004 eight-issue limited series, written by Andy Diggle, penciled by Pasqual Ferry and colored by Dave McCaig, replaced Adam Strange's costume with a spacesuit that allows for interstellar travel. 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. Adam, with the help of the Omega Men and the Darkstars, among others, saved Rann and defeated the evil being.
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, tried 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.
Adam was stranded on a paradise-like planet with Animal Man and Starfire. As a result of a teleportation accident involving the Zeta-Beam, he lost both of his eyes but in spite of his injuries, he tried to fix a damaged spaceship so that the trio might return home. After being attacked by Devilance the Pursuer, they eventually escaped having realized that the entire planet was a trap.
This ragtag team made a stand against the villainess Lady Styx, whose undead legions were ravaging planets across the galaxy. With Styx presumably defeated and Animal Man seemingly killed, Strange and Starfire continued their journey back to Earth and Rann, still pursued by angry Lady Styx followers. With Starfire wounded in one such battle, and their ship breaking apart and malfunctioning, Adam was saved by Mogo and a rookie Green Lantern. Brought to Rann, Strange was equipped with new eyes, cloned by Aleea and genetically engineered to grant him vision of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. He was 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 return to his wife.
Countdown to Adventure
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 including Hawkman, Starfire, The Weird, and the Prince Gavyn Starman, 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.
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 discovered from the future spirit of Synnar that he is destined to be one of 'The Aberrant Six', a group critical to preventing the Synnar of today (trapped in The Weird's body) from destroying the universe. Ultimately the Aberrant Six did not form and the future Synnar was forced to leave, but not before Captain Comet's mercenary friend Eye was killed by Synnar's supreme god-enemy to prevent the forming of the Six. Comet was entrusted with Eye's robot companion Orb until she returns, told by Synnar that when that happens he will "continue his negotiations – All has changed, but remains as it was". Adam Strange realizes that one day Synnar will return and force him to join his Aberrant Six.
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.
Adam Strange as well as protector of Rann would also become a senior commander of L.E.G.I.O.N. ensuring peace with the Green Lantern Corps. He also helped create an alliance between Rannians, Tamaranians and L.E.G.I.O.N. after defeating Starro the Conqueror, ensuring security for Rann, the Vega System and the galaxy.
The New 52
Adam Strange was re-introduced as part of the New 52 in Justice League United #1. In this version he is a Canadian archaeologist, who has a relationship with Alanna (now Alanna Lewis, a former student of his).
Beginning in October 2016 in THE DEATH OF HAWKMAN #1, residing on Earth and out of the hero game, Adam Strange finds himself trying to live a “normal” life, until he’s literally pulled back into adventure again as a seemingly normal Zeta beam transmission returns him to the planet Rann, where he hopes to be reunited with his beloved Alanna. But instead, he finds the once great city of Ranagar in ruins with millions dead, and the once peaceful Alanna is now calling for the blood of Rann’s oldest enemy, Thanagar, home of the Hawkmen.
Sensing something is amiss, Strange enlists the aid of Thanagarian policeman Katar Hol, aka Hawkman, who is also trying anything possible to avert war. Together the two try and uncover who’s really behind the destruction of Rann while at the same time preventing Rann and Thanagar from marching into interplanetary Armageddon.
- Adam Strange made a brief appearance in Elseworlds' JLA: Another Nail when all time periods meld together. In the original series JLA: The Nail, he is found dead in Earth orbit by Hal Jordan after the Zeta Beam taking him to Rann was blocked by a force field surrounding Earth.
- In Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier, Adam Strange is confined in Arkham Asylum because of his belief he has traveled to another world. It is also revealed this was done so the government can keep an eye on him. When the Centre appears off the coast of Florida, Dr. Leslie Thompkins returns his jet pack and energy weapon to him. It is Adam's idea to use Ray Palmer's shrinking device to destroy the threat, having read an article about his work while confined.
- The 2009 weekly comics broadsheet Wednesday Comics featured an interpretation of Adam Strange by artist and writer Paul Pope that drew much more directly from the John Carter stories which inspired the character, casting the planet Rann as a much more fantasy-like world, and Alanna as a scantily clad warrior princess.
In other media
- In the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, during the episode "The Plot To Kill a City: Episode 2" (written by Alan Brennert, who had also written comics for DC), an announcement over a spaceport's loudspeaker system asks for "Doctor Adam Strange from Alpha Centauri" to "please report to the reservations desk."
- Adam Strange appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Mystery in Space", voiced by Michael T. Weiss. Batman is called over to Adam's home planet and he brings Aquaman as well. All three alongside Adam Strange's wife Alanna go in to stop the Gordanians led by General Kreegaar from obtaining the Eye of Zared from the bottom of Rann's oceans. Before he can get his wife away from the Gordanians, the effects of the Zeta Ray wears off sending him to Earth. He had to trace another one to get back to Rann only to find out that Rann is now in danger. After the enemy successfully gets the Eye of Zared and starts attacking, Adam Strange starts to have his doubts. His confidence is rekindled by Aquaman, and he goes in to save Alanna, and buy Aquaman and Batman some time to create a solar eclipse to stop the Eye of Zared forcing General Kreegaar's army to surrender. In the series' third season, Adam appears in one of four vignettes in "Four Star Spectacular!", titled "World's War." He is preparing to return to Rann with an anniversary present for his wife when he witnesses dozens of Zeta Beams strike Gotham City. Adam allows himself to be teleported and discovers that Kanjar Ro plans to intercept a Zeta Beam, teleport a negaton bomb to Rann, wipe out the population, and use the planet as a base of operations. The hero manages to teleport Kanjar Ro and his bomb to a swamp world, and the space pirate disarms the bomb just in time, only to run afoul of an alien monster.
- Adam Strange appears as a teenager in the Young Justice: Invasion episode "Happy New Year", voiced by Michael Trucco. Besides his history of ending up on Rann, he tells the team that Rann has a bounty on all Justice Leaguers after some of them were controlled by Vandal Savage to attack Rimbor. He and Alanna, who is the same age, are also in "Earthlings" where they help Superboy, Miss Martian, and Beast Boy in their efforts to find the Kroloteans and their Zeta Ray technology by distracting Rannian authorities and fighting the armored Kroloteans. In "Salvage", Adam activates a Zeta Shield to cover Earth and protect it from future alien invasions.
- Adam Strange appears briefly in Justice League: The New Frontier. He is glimpsed in one of John Jones' news clippings early on in the film. During the climax, he is one of the heroes who answers the call to fight the Centre, but has no speaking role.
- Adam Strange appears in DC Universe Online.
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 "If by fluke we were given the chance to ride a Zeta Beam[sic] into space, meet a sexy alien princess[sic] on the planet Rann, and fight extraterrestrial threats with high-tech weaponry, I[sic] wouldn’t want to go back to mundane Earth-life either. That makes us completely sympathetic to Adam Strange’s plight."
Heroic Publishing's Eternity Smith (vol. 2) #3 includes a backup story called "The Threat of the Sensuous Siren", in which the character Skylark Smith sees a copy of Mystery in Space #77 and daydreams about Eternity Smith and herself having an adventure in the roles of Adam Strange and Alanna. Most of the story's script and pencils imitate the style of Fox and Infantino, and the plot is loosely based on "Siren of the Space Ark", an Adam Strange adventure which appeared in Mystery in Space #89.
- Amash, Jim (2003). "Foreword" in The Adam Strange Archives: Volume 1. Pages 5–8.
- 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.
- Mudhar, Raju (August 23, 2013). "DC Comics to launch Justice League Canada in 2014". The Star. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- Lemire, Jeff (January 16, 2014). "Justice League Canada becomes Justice League United A New Ongoing Series in April!". Jeff Lemire's Blog. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Showcase #17 in The Adam Strange Archives: Volume 1. Pages 9–34.
- 52 Week Seven
- Pope, Paul and Jose Villarrubia "Strange Adventures"
- "'Young Justice' heads into sci-fi direction in new season –". Usatoday.com. 2012-04-27. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- "Adam Strange as number 97". IGN. Retrieved May 5, 2011.