Adventureman gives a modern perspective to the adventure stories that were popular in the pulp novels of the ‘20s, the film serials of the ‘30s, and the radio dramas of the ‘40s. There are colorful characters, dastardly villains, and a whole world of possibilities. In short, it’s the sort of comic that’s right up my alley.
We open with the direst of dire circumstances. It’s a few decades ago, and the end of the world is fast-approaching. The only ones who might be able to stop it are the intrepid hero Adventureman and his team of fantastic friends, which include a magician, an aviatrix, a ghost, and a superpharmacologist science witch, among others. Each has their own set of powers and/or skills, and it’s going to take every one of them to stop the evil Baron Bizarre from destroying the world. Even with all of them fighting together, it still might not be enough…
Fast forward to the present. Ordinary bookstore owner and single mom Claire Connell reads the aforementioned story to her son Tommy from an old pulp novel. Both are big fans of Adventureman and his adventures. But of course, they’re just stories. Nothing like that ever happens in the real world, right?
However, when a mysterious stranger leaves Claire with a new Adventureman book, it leads her on a journey she barely remembers taking to find the answers to questions she didn’t know she was asking. Characters from the stories she knows practically by heart start popping up in her real life. Claire suddenly finds herself doing things she can’t explain—and saving people from danger in the process. What really happened to Adventureman and his team all those years ago? Did they save the world? And what became of Baron Bizarre?
This comic is a thrill ride from start to finish. Written by the inimitable Matt Fraction, he seems to pour into this story anything and everything his imagination can devise. It includes things like interdimensional demon bugs, echolocation guard robots, and the aforementioned superpharmacologist science witch—and that’s just the beginning.
In the “real world” part of the story, it also features a big, loud, diverse, and loving family who get together weekly to have Shabbat dinner and share the adventures of their week. The story switches back and forth, sometimes on a dime, between the pulp world of Adventureman and the real world of Claire, Tommy, and their family. As the two worlds begin bleeding into one another, the story can feel disjointed and a bit hard to follow at times, but it’s that way by design. Just keep reading, and you’ll quickly fall into the comic’s rhythm.
Volume 1 collects the first four chapters of what I hope will end up being a much longer story. It also features some early character art, character notes, and musings from Fraction on how Adventureman came to be—which are definitely worth reading.
I really enjoyed this comic. The story is gripping, the art is vivid and colorful, and, together, they create a fantastic, fantastical world that’s full of adventure and a whole lot of fun. If you’re a fan of over-the-top sci-fi/fantasy adventure serials where anything’s possible and the sky’s the limit, then Adventureman is a comic you won’t want to miss.
Creative Team: Matt Fraction (writer), Terry Dodson (penciller and colorist), Rachel Dodson (inker), Clayton Cowles (letterer), Leonardo Olea (designer), and Lauren Sankovitch & Turner Lobey (editors)
Publisher: Image Comics
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