DC Black Label 2020
Written by Tom King
Illustrated by Mitch Gerads
Coloured by Evan Shaner
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
Can Adam Strange handle the truth? After the cosmic adventurer was accused of murder and had his whole record as a soldier questioned, he turned to Batman for help clearing his name. But someone else was needed to ensure that the investigation would be truly impartial. Enter Mr. Terrific, the man for whom “Fair Play” is a credo to live by. Be careful what you wish for, Adam Strange, because your life is about to be turned upside down. This could be one of the greatest tests you’ve ever faced. Like when you had to prove yourselves in Rann’s gladiatorial arena. This adventure between two worlds continues….
This is utterly phenomenal! I mean the Mister Miracle was groundbreaking for sure but to follow that up with this is sheer bloody genius. For one of DC’s earliest stars to have fallen by the wayside the way he has, it is super nice to see that he’s the focus of a story that could very well be canon as it is set in another reality. That we don’t see as much of the space heroes as we have in prior years is a shame because there is a wealth of great characters going to disuse unless they appear in Green Lantern. This feels like a time when Adam was a member of the Justice League of America, he got married in volume one, but with a modern twist. So completely realised is this that it is very nearly scary in how gosh darn it is.
The way that this is being told is flawlessly brilliant. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented beautifully. Sure the Justice League was asked by Adam to look into this but it’s Batman who takes this too far and by engaging Mister Terrific they are definitely going too far in proving he’s guilty not innocent. This leads me to the character development we see in these pages. While Adam is who he is and that’s pretty much All-American boy next door mom and apple pie, however it’s Alanna who really steals the show here. She’s feisty, opinionated, smart and deadly, oh and she likes to smoke cigarettes which is surprising but I am actually okay with. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists and turns along the way we see how well everything works together to create the books ebb & flow.
The interiors here are utterly gorgeous. The linework is truly exquisite and there is this way of seeing these soft and almost delicate lines form these strong unbreakable moments that is awe inspiring. The utilisation of not only varying weights but of techniques throughout really do bring us some amazing attention to detail. Thank you for the hairy chest and making Adam something of sex symbol throughout half this book! The creativity and imagination that we see is mindbogglingly brilliant, Kklint alone is stunning. How we see backgrounds being utilised to not only enhance the moments but bring us depth perception, a sense of scale and this overall sense of size and scope to the book is stupendous work. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show this masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work is equally as brilliant. How we see the various flesh tones utilised to create musculature is sensational. The various hues and tones we see within the colours utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows such an understanding for colour, how it works and how to utilise it properly. Then there’s how we see Hawkman and his helmet and wings and such, by fiery light of the silver moon is this magnificent.
The story really is amazing and how we see the Rann and Earth sections playing out and how they tie together is intriguing on so many levels. The layering and the clash of personalities and then the sheer fact Alanna is fearless and in Batman’s face about it makes me love her even more. If this is what most of DC’s books looked like then I would read every single one of them.