Thursday, July 16, 2015

Strange Adventures #226

Strange Adventures #226   (On Sale: July 16, 1970) has a really nice cover by Joe Kubert. The big news this issue is screaming from the cover. The cover name of the book has been adjusted to Gigantic Strange Adventures, the price has increased to 25 cents and the page count has skyrocketed to 64.

 We begin with and Adam Strange tale, "The Mechanical Masters of Rann" by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson and reprinted from Mystery in Space #65.
Rann is visited by the Mechanimen, a group of robots from another planet designed to protect the human race from all weapons. The robots destroy all the weapons on Rann in an attempt to end all warfare.

When Adam Strange arrives, he suspects something is not quite what it seems and hides his own ray-gun from the Mechanimen. Adam then convinces the Ranagarans that the Mechanimen are treating humans as children, and he believes they should stand up and fight. Adam retrieves his gun and a secret cache of weapons, but the Mechanimen destroy them as well.

When an alien attack force arrives, the Mechanimen defend Rann and force the aliens to surrender. However, the robots run out of power at the last moment. Adam was able to gain control of some alien weapons and chase off the remaining invaders, before his return trip to Earth via the Zeta Beam.

Next we have  "Glory Ride to Pluto," a little eight-pager by John Broome and Sid Greene reprinted from Mystery In Space #59.

That is followed by "The Counterfeit Earth," a six-page yearn by Otto Binder and Joe Kubert  reprinted from Mystery In Space #35

Next is "A Letter from the Future," a six-pager by Sid Gerson and Frank Giacoia reprinted from Strange Adventures #30.

We next have  "Earth's Unlucky Day," a six-page yearn by John Broome and Sy Barry reprinted from Strange Adventures #40.

Next is s real treat, the first new Adam Strange story since Strange Adventure #222"The Magic-Maker of Rann" is an eight-page ditty by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson. this is the last Adam Strange story Gardner Fox will ever write and it is not a standard comic book story, but what DC called a "Picture Story," more of a text story with illustrations. Maybe its strange format was the reason the only new material in the book was buried near the back.

Adam Strange catches the Zeta Beam from Australia to find that everyone in Ranagar is acting a little crazy. Alanna is for some reason furious with him and Sardath tells him, "There is nothing wrong Adam. Go away!" 

Adam begins investigating and discovers that a well-meaning scientist, Thortan, had found a way to affect everyone’s mind so that they can control all matter by bombarding them with psi radiation. Thortan created a rainbow that emitted the special radiation that caused this.  Everyone on Rann loved their new ‘magic’ powers until a meteor containing some kind of entity landed on Rann. The entity released from the meteor caused the ‘magic’ radiation to mutate, giving it the side effect of making everyone act in a way ‘contrary’ to their own wishes the more they used their psi powers. Soon friends were fighting duels and mothers were chastising their children.

Adam fights the amorphous entity that escaped from the meteor and eventually he is able to box it up in a coffin made of the black lead that the meteor had degraded into. This somehow negated the creature's effect on the radiation. Flying back to Ranagar Adam is met by Alanna who makes yup for their last meeting. Though he knows the Zeta Beam will soon take him back to Earth, for now Adam is content in the arms of his love.

This eight pager was reprinted in 52:The Companion TPB.

Lastly we have our cover story, the Atomic Knights in  "When the Earth Blacked Out." this 15-pager reprinted from Strange Adventures #144 is by John Broome and Murphy Anderson, who is well-represented this issue. 

Bryndon returns to Durvale injured in an encounter with strange mole men. The other Atomic Knights ride out to meet the mole men and discover the invaders from underground are using plants called Ki-Moli, to envelop the Earth in darkness.

The Knights are turned back in their initial encounter with the mole men, but they take a prisoner with them. By questioning the prisoner, the Knights learn the mole men are weakened by light, so they gather fireflies to use as weapons. The Knights then place the fireflies inside pumpkins and use them as light bombs against the mole men, chasing them back underground.  After destroying the Ki-Moli, the dark cloud above the Earth dissipates. The Knights also learn that it was the mole men who triggered World War III. thus answering the question posed by this month's Kubert cover.

Edited by Julie Schwartz.

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