In this issue, Gerry Conway, Carmine Infantino, and Tony DeZuniga take on an updated origin for Adam Strange while Roy Thomas, E. Nelson Bridwell, Howard Simpson, and Bob Lewis give us the new origin of Dr. Occult. It’s the first pairing that I was a little wary of, considering that up to this point, Thomas (as editor) seems to have been doing pairings of modern and Golden Age heroes and at least one of them has been a “name” that is a draw. I’m not sure if these two qualify. Yes, Adam Strange is a known entity to DC Comics fans, but by the time this issue rolled around, he hadn’t really been seen in many comics outside of a panel or two of Crisis, so this might have been a bit of a hard sell.
Dr. Occult is a Siegel/Shuster creation that I’m only familiar with because of Crisis and the History of the DCU, and it should be noted that this is one of E. Nelson Bridwell’s last works because the Meanwhile column on the inside back cover is about his recent passing. It’s a well-drawn story that looks like it might be from the Golden Age (or at least I can tell that the creative team was trying to go for something like that. It looks nice but I either was not interested or it was just a misfire because I found it a little hard to follow in a couple of places and a odd in others.
The Adam Strange story makes up for that because Gerry Conway is such a great writer and Tony DeZuniga is an outstanding inker for Carmine Infantino because he makes this story look like a 1950s sci-fi strip and rescues Infantino from what was a less-than-stellar period of artwork. That sounds mean, but his 1980s DC stuff leaves a lot to be desired, especially the end of The Flash. DeZuniga softens his straight edges and gives him back the sleekness he had on 1960s Batman and 1970s Star Wars. Conway gives us an origin that is almost like Indiana Jones becoming Han Solo (which has to be deliberate) and honestly, I would have paid money to get this team on an Adam Strange miniseries.
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