Review by Win Wiacek
Countdown to Adventure spins from 52, wherein Adam Strange, Starfire and Animal Man were lost in space for a year.
Earthman Adam Strange is reunited with his family on the distant world of Rann when he is forcibly retired as Planetary Champion and replaced by the obnoxious film and Ultimate Fighting celebrity Steven “Champ” Hazard. Whereas Strange solved threats with his wits and good heart, Champ is psychotically brutal and aggressive, preferring to shoot first and keep on shooting till he’s the only person still breathing.
In San Diego Buddy Baker has returned to his job as a stuntman, since his Animal Man powers are malfunctioning, but at least that’s better than Princess Koriand’r of Tamaran, who has lost her energy-casting abilities completely. For weeks she’s been unconscious in Buddy’s spare room, resting, recharging and not contacting her old superhero friends in the Teen Titans.
However, Buddy’s son and other people start exhibiting signs of a “Rage-Plague”, causing extraterrestrial contagion experts to isolate San Diego and prepare to sterilise everything in it if they can’t find patient zero, who must have brought the rapidly spreading infection to Earth. The same symptoms are ripping through the citizenry of Rann, fomenting violence, intolerance and even physical transformations. And then on both worlds the infected begin to chant a phrase Strange, Koriand’r and Buddy last heard from the religious zealots of Lady Styx, a death-worshipping monstrosity they killed a year ago and a zillion light years away.
Under Adam Beechen and Eddy Barrows this interplanetary bio-plague thriller has an abundance of pace and action, and keeps the tension high, but falls short of being exceptional or compelling as even the newest recruit can plainly see that everything’s going to be all right in the end. Fine for a lazy afternoon but hardly a keeper and adds nothing to the lustre of its stellar, fan favourite cast.
A back-up strip by Justin Gray and Fabrizio Fiorentino provides the backstory for Forerunner, who has a part to play in the main feature.