Did he just notice his costume?
Adam Strange is a DC Comics space hero
character from the 1950s
, who still appears occasionally in their comics and cartoons. He was created by Gardner Fox, and first appeared in Showcase
#17 (November, 1958). After three try-out issues in Showcase
, he became a regular feature in Mystery in Space
beginning with #53 (August, 1959).
Adam was an ordinary Earthman, an archeologist who was teleported
to the planet Rann (located in the Alpha Centauri solar system, the closest to Earth) accidentally after being hit by the zeta beam, a communications beam invented by a Rannian scientist named Sardath that was somehow altered en route to become a teleportation effect. Adam fell in love with Sardath's daughter, Alanna, but it turned out that the zeta-beam's effects only lasted a few hours, and then he was returned to Earth. Adam then calculated where the next zeta beam would strike Earth, and made sure to be at that spot so he could return to Alanna, even if only for short intervals at a time. In addition, he helped protect Rann from various menaces, monsters and aliens, using a Rannian jet pack and a raygun, plus, most notably, his wits and scientific knowledge.
Adam is a long-time ally of the Justice League of America
, though not a member.
Eventually, a way to make the z-effect permanent was found, and Adam stayed on Rann, and married Alanna.
A two-issue story in the Alan Moore
run of Swamp Thing
stated that Adam was not transported by accident, but rather that the Rannians needed him to help repopulate their species as nuclear war had rendered them sterile. The idea was further developed in a three-issue miniseries by Richard Bruning in which Adam learned the truth, Sardath went mad, and Alanna was killed off. This Retcon
was quietly undone in the late 1990s by Mark Waid
, who revealed Alanna was still alive
and casually had Adam mention curing Sardath's madness. The "sterile Rann" Retcon
has gone unmentioned since, and associated miniseries seems to have tacitly slipped into Canon Discontinuity
No relation to professor Hugo Strange
or the Marvel
character Doctor Strange
This series provides examples of:
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Adam is an archaeologist but it rarely plays into his adventures.
- Battle Couple: Adam Strange and Alanna. Especially in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
- Badass Bookworm: Adam is quite smart but also pretty tough.
- Darker and Edgier: Adam's two issue appearance in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and the three-issue miniseries "The Man of Two Worlds". Although Moore is often blamed for driving this change, it was revealed in the letter column of Swamp Thing that the mini-series was already in the works when Moore came to write his stories, and he was asked to reflect its nature.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: The Zeta Beam
- Genius Loci: Adam once fought Yggardis, a sentient planet that stole other lifeforms to populate itself, which then died within 24 hours.
- Goal-Oriented Evolution: The Rannians are further along than Earth humans (no appendix, no hair except on the head), leading to the "ape" epithet for Adam in the Alan Moore comics.
- Guile Hero: As fits a DC Comics hero of the Silver Age, Adam mostly defeated the menaces he encountered with science and trickery.
- Human Aliens: The Rannians. As typical of DC, no explanation for this was ever given.
- Inconvenient Summons: Often happened at the end of many stories: just when the crisis in question is over, Adam and Alanna barely have any personal time when the Zeta Beam would wear off and send him back to Earth.
- Jet Pack: Adam Strange has one of these.
- Mighty Whitey (In Space)
- Adam used Rannian technology to fight his enemies. Why couldn't they do likewise? Because they're not as well-suited to heroics and violence as Earth people.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Alanna (subverted in that Sardath isn't mad, in most versions of the character.)
- Monster of the Week: The oddest variety this side of Toku shows. (Example: a giant flying magnifying lens.)
- Planetary Romance: In some versions.
- Ray Gun: Adam Strange has one of these, too.
- Raygun Gothic
- Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Kanjar Ro went from fighting the Justice League to repeatedly clashing with Adam for awhile.
- Science Hero
- Teleporters and Transporters: The Zeta Beam.
- Trapped in Another World: Inverted: he wanted to stay in Rann, but couldn't for long.
- Weapons That Suck: One enemy alien race used this form of sucking weapon.