Who's Adam Strange?

Who's This? DC's premiere rocket age hero!
The facts: First appearing in Showcase #17 (November 1958), Adam Strange was an archaeologist who got hit with a Zeta Beam from the planet Rann, transporting him there so he could have rocket pack adventures and fall in love with the beautiful Alanna. It's John Carter of Mars with a twist - the Zeta Beam periodically "wears off" and he snaps back to Earth, forever seeking the next beam so he can return to his life of science-fiction adventure. After a three-issue try-out, Julius Schwartz and Murphy Anderson's baby moved to Mystery in Space where he enjoyed a long run from #53 to #100 (plus #102, September 1962), mostly written by Gardner Fox, with art by Carmine Infantino and Anderson. Reprints in Strange Adventures and appearances in JLA would keep him in reader imagination through the 1970s, and he would enjoy a back-up strip in Green Lantern at the turn of the 80s.
How you could have heard of him: The New52 reimagined him as Canadian and thus a member of Justice League United, and the Krypton show decided to make him a Rip Hunter clone protecting the Superman legacy from never happening.
Example story: Mystery in Space #60 (June 1960) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, and Murphy Anderson
This story wasn't exactly chosen at random. I wanted Alanna to play a big part because she seems crucial to the concept, but mostly, it's the wild monster on the cover. That's what did it. So... what's a typical Adam Strange story LIKE, going by "The Attack of the Tentacle World!"?

Well, it's peak Silver Age, so Strange has to have a secret identity conundrum with complications even though who gives a damn in Bangkok's floating market if he DOES vanish into thin air?!
Crisis(?) averted. As soon as he appears on Rann, Alanna runs into his arms, he gets into planet-appropriate fin-wear, and it's off to the races. Literally.
Hey, she's not just a pretty face. Wait--the Adam Strange trophy?! Dude really left his mark. I'm surprised he's not being mobbed by onlookers in the stands. While it's fun to see science-fiction leisure activities, the wind current race is really just a pretext for Alanna getting in trouble with sudden tentacles. (THAT'S a phrase.)
Now, it's 1960 and they're contractually obligated to say "a terrified Alanna", but I'd describe her state of mind as "mildly surprised" at best. And perhaps a little frustrated it's gonna make her lose her shot at first place. Anyhoo, while the tentacles destroy a bunch of buildings, everyone in Ranagar is at the games, so they're all empty. In unrelated news, everyone in Metropolis during the events of Man of Steel's final battle were at a Mammoths game.

Rann's armed forces to the rescue. Nope, nothing to be done without the help of one Adam Strange. Our lovers finally look up, and the planetoid attached to those tentacles speaks its origin story!
Long story short: Yggdaris was birthed in the Big Bang, tentacled, bigger than it looks, and possessed with a mind. And it's super-lonely, because anything it plants on itself, whether vegetable or animal, dies within 24 hours (and it's not because it can't sustain an atmosphere, which was my first guess). And it's pretty much invulnerable to weapons. Cue romantic moment where macho male hero tries in vain to stop feminist heroine from joining the fight:
But again, it's 1960, so when Yggdrasil--sorry, Yggdaris--unleashes boulders and magma, etc., Alanna... faints. Adam Strange was right to worry! Time to use that human mind of his! See, he realizes that the planet's mind is a form of radiation that kills everything on it, and that's happening to Alanna and to himself (he's just MACHO and taking his time passing out). IRONY - a key element of a good Silver Age story. What a quandary! But maybe if Yggy trusts Adam there's a way to do it short of planetary lobotomy. And trust it does as Strange plants and sets off explosive charges that blow the planet apart! Uhm, whhaaaaat?
And before we have too much time to think about that idea, or ask Yggdaris if it's still alive, celestial surgeon Adam Strange fades from view, his Zeta charge depleted.

Another date gone wrong for the Man of Spatial Mystery, I guess!

Who's Next? Hal Jordan already?!



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