67. Adam Strange (43 points)
"Because he signifies the ultimate fantasy, I think: An average guy who one day gets swept up out of the blue to a different universe, one in which he's a hero and gets the girl."
"The man of two worlds is one of my favorites of all time. This guy is so badass, he beats interstellar monsters, warlike races, and invading conquerors with nothing more than his brains, fists, a ray gun and a jetpack (plus a funky-finned helmet). As smart as Capt. Kirk, as cool as Han Solo, less whiny than Luke Skywalker, and with a wife hotter than Leia. The epitome of cool space hero."
Showcase was created by DC in 1957 as it was a try-out for characters that allowed DC to allow certain characters their own series. Adam Strange was featured in Showcase but the readers of DC really had no time for sci-fi adventurers as characters like Flash made his return in Showcase #4. His first appearance was in Showcase was #17 which was released in 1958 and returned in Showcase #18 and 19.
With his origin story, he was teleported by the Zeta Beam and was teleported to the planet of Rann. There he discovered a red suit, a jetpack and a ray gun where he fought off vicious monsters and generic evil geniuses. He soon discovered that he was accidentally teleported to Rann, as the Zeta Beam was originally created as a means of communication with Earth. Sardath explained that he had accidentally discovered a teleporter. Unfortunately, he discovered that the Zeta Beam would wear off and cause him to be teleported back to Earth. With this kind of story and sticking to its traditions, he met a beautiful woman with blue hair named Alanna, who was Sardath’s daughter. Adam Strange was a man who enjoyed the technology on Rann as he was a science man himself, yet he wasn’t stuck in the nerdy archetype, like Spider-Man.
A typical start to Adam Strange’s adventures would involve him working on a calculation where he teleported to Rann by the Zeta Beam. There, he would meet Alanna, with their relationship developing into something romantic. She would inform him of a menace and the both of them would go out to defeat it. After they defeat it, they would attempt to develop their relationship, but the Zeta Beam always wears off at this point, teleporting him back to Earth. Any injuries caused on the mission would also disappear, as if the Zeta Beam healed him.
He appeared in #53. In this issue, Adam Strange and everything in the comic was drawn by Carmine Infantino whose style fit the comic. Rann was a city with elegant buildings, and he knew how to draw them. A major continuity error that appeared was in #75 in which Flash had said Strange’s name when the Justice League and Adam Strange clearly hadn’t met. A fan letter had pointed this out and Gardner Fox was forced to write a story where Adam Strange had saved them on Rann. With issue #87, Hawkman had joined Adam Strange in his stories but in 1964, he became quite popular earning his own series. Space Ranger had come along and joined Adam Strange. Adam Strange also had a costume change from Lee Elias. With issue #110, *Mystery in Space* was cancelled.
In 1990, Adam Strange was finally given his own series. Richard Bruning, the writer had a talk with Alan Moore to continue his ideas and works. The series also made a lot of references to Adam’s old days. For example, the layout of the comics in the series would be reminiscent of the 50s but had a great contrast to the 80s sort of dystopia-like city.
The mini-series spans over three issues. With the first issue, the Zeta Beam has stopped working due to the lack of transmission some five years ago. So, Sardath had developed a Mega Zeta Ray, which should permanently keep Adam Strange on Rann. With the marriage and Alanna who is about to have a child, Sardath sends two Mega Zeta Beams in case Adam misses the first one. With the Mega Zeta Beam on his way, he decides to finish things off in Earth. He says goodbye to his father who is dying. His family is skeptical of his story about transporting himself to Rann and never coming back, so he drinks with a woman called Eve until he is drunk and spends the night with her.
Just before Adam reaches Rann, there are a few pages devoted to “Meanwhile on Rann” and Alanna discovers that she is the first Rannian in twenty years to conceive. The Rannians also hate Adam Strange, but this time, they have started a movement against him. They are jealous that a human can be such a hero, when they can obviously do it themselves. After a first attempt, Adam Strange doesn’t make it through the Mega Zeta Beam, but with the second one, he gets through. However, the beam had caused him to become mentally unstable and he started having hallucinations. He thought that the Rannians were monsters and injured Sardath and injured himself in the process and runs off into the desolate areas of Rann.
In the second issue, Adam’s actions in turn makes the Rannians resent Adam Strange even more and things are going downhill in general, with terrorist attacks. Sardath is healing from his injury and Delaken who could have married her, fills in Adam Strange’s absence. In the out areas of the Rannian city, Adam meets a woman who turns out to be Alanna’s mother and he notices that the people there also interact with the monsters that he has fought with. Meanwhile on Earth, Eve, who Adam spent the night with seems to have him on her mind all the time. In a need to contact Adam, she rummages through his notes and finds a location in Rio. She contacts a friend and invites her along for the road trip. Then, the Zeta Beam transports Eve to Rann.
In the third and final issue, Adam hears of Alanna’s story where Sardath had created a high-tech computer, capable of choosing Rannians who were able to reproduce and that is how Alanna came about. Though Sardath and Alanna’s mother had a disagreement, and she was exiled. She muses why a communications beam ends up teleporting someone and the reason why Sardath was treating Adam like a welcome guest. Sardath probably wanted him to reproduce with his daughter.
Eve however is taken prisoner but becomes a midwife, helping Alanna give birth. Sardath’s personality has changed due to the faulty healing machine and has changed his personality from the cold scientist he was to a resplendent man. As Adam and Alanna join the group, Eve scolds Adam for cheating on his wife. While Adam goes out to fight a creature just outside the city, Alanna dies in childbirth. Luckily and fortunately, Alanna recognizes and establishes that the woman in Alanna’s mother. A fleet of rebel ships are coming for Rann, and with Sardath’s new personality, he creates a technology that will allow that city to float into space with a force-field. It lifts itself up and flies into space. With Eve on the new Rannagar, Eve is the new expert on democracy, with experience on Earth. She also didn’t go insane due to the radiation as Adam had already had a bit in him. The daughter is named Aleea, and Eve talks to him about overcoming his sadness and convinces him to go to the meeting about deciding on a new government.
Adam Strange had a large disappearance gap due to the fact that with the last mini-series of three issues, fans felt there was not much to continue on with Adam Strange. It felt as if Eve and Alanna’s mother were not interesting characters and few could imagine Adam being a single father. With JLA during the late 1990s, Mark Waid had been called to fill in Grant Morrison's absence and with this, he took the opportunity to include Adam Strange in the adventures of the JLA, though he had seemed to offend the Adam Strange fans, with the lack of continuity. He had written up Alanna as alive now, and Ranagar was no longer a space colony floating in space. Eve and Alanna’s mother was not mentioned.
66. Starman (43 points)
"Much more "sympathetic" since he lost his mind."
"First time I read of Starman was in Johns' JSA. What attracted me most to this character was his awesome costume. He also makes me laugh."
Take it away my main man, Amoebas!!
In the Future…
Two scientists work working in an observatory in orbit of the planet Xanthu have a child they name Thom Kallor. Mon, Dad and the infant lived in the space station until one day the babe Thom pointed and the station instantly had its mass increased a million fold. The family escaped the station moments before it made planet fall.
Being the loving parents that they were, the infant Thom was handed over to Xanthu’s doctors and scientists to study the mass-producing field he must have obtained due to being born in space.
For at least 14 years Thom was little more than a medical curiosity; examined and studied endlessly. His mental health was pretty poor as well (later diagnosed as a schizophrenic state) as Thom grew up, he considering himself a freak.
At the age of 16 Thom stole his father’s space cruiser in a mad attempt to just get away from the insanity of his life. He barely made it to deep orbit when the cruiser fell through the tail of a passing comet, which irradiated Thom and caused the ship to (again) planet fall. Crashing, Thom walked away without a scratch – the comet had granted him invulnerability amongst other incredible powers. With little to stop this super-powered Thom, he left Xanthu with permission and headed to Earth to be with the only group he felt he could fit in with.
Thom, now calling himself Star Boy, tried out and was welcomed as the thirteenth member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. For a while Star Boy was the team’s most powerful member (even mightier than Superboy).
Thom was sent on a one man mission to rescue from Science Police officers and he intestinally got himself caught to thwart their plans, however just as he was about to finish the job, the comet’s effect wore off and Thom lost all the super-powers he had from it. Moments from being killed, Thom had no choice but to use his ‘original’ power for the first time in ages and he increased the mass of the building causes it to smash the bad guys and himself. The mission was deemed a success but Thom had broken nearly every bone in his body. He spent quite a while recovering, and with teammate Saturn Girl encouraging him to hone his mass-inducing powers. In time Thom returned to the team just in time to meet Nura Nal, codenamed Dream Girl, the love of his life.
Thom spent the next few years as an upstanding Legionnaire until one day during a one-on-one battle with one of Nura’s jilted lovers, he found himself losing and about to be killed. Thom was desperate and in an act of pure self-defense he killed his foe. Thom was expelled from the Legion for breaking its cardinal rule against killing at all costs. On his way out the door, Nura was waiting for him and together they joined the Legion of Substitute-Heroes until such time as he was allowed back in the Legion.
For the next few years Thom’s relationship with Nura blossomed and they both served the Legion honorably. He has also acted as Xanthu’s planetary Champion.
In the Present…
One day, fellow Legionnaires sent Thom on a mission back in time. An accidental side trip to the Kingdom Come universe left Thom confused when he landed in his target of the present day. Coupled with being 1000 years away from the medicine he took to control his schizophrenia, Thom wasn’t exactly a stable; his Swiss cheese memory and ability to think clearly however didn’t stop him from continuing on as a hero. Eventually he was noticed by the Justice Society of America who recruited him as a member.
Thom’s mission from the future kept popping up occasionally and he aided his Legion teammates when they came to the present day to collect the life force of Kid Flash (who had just died). When the Legion went home, Thom stayed as his mission was just really starting.
It involved a shovel and a job as a gravedigger. In particular, he was a grave robber – stealing the body of Conner Kent who had died earlier. Thom placed the dead hero in a regenerating chamber and hid it where in 1000 years Conner would return.
Another adventure with the JSA revealed that Thom’s costume was devised by Brainiac 5 (and two other B5’s) to be an actual map of the multi-verse. With it, in combination of his mass-producing powers) he can transport others to and from other realities.
While Thom’s official Legion missions are concluded, he has undertaken a personal mission, which involved the last will, and testament of Legion benefactor R.J. Brande. Where this leads Thom has yet to be seen (although one would hope it involves sloppy-joes).
65. Terra (45 points - 2 first place slots)
The king of Markovia had one affair which lead to him having an illegitimate daughter named Tara Markov (Terra). The king decided that it would be the best to send her to the United States of America to prevent his public image to be ruined. Because of Tara's decadence she inherited earth moving powers similar to the ones of Geo-Force, who was her cousin, and with the help of a doctor named Helga Jace, Terra gained control. How much the doctor helped Terra in gaining control hasn't been explained, neither which was the process to do it, the doctor only implied that Terra got her powers by meddling. Soon after gaining control over her powers Tara Markov (Terra) decided to leave Markovia with a lot of hate and anger towards his father because of the fact that she was an illegitimate daughter. When Tara was fifteen years old she decided to use her powers to do illegitimate work for people.
Tara's criminal life lead her to accept a contract that had been declined by Deathstroke himself and which implied killing an African king. Tara decided to come close to the king and his family, one day betraying them and killing the king like the contract wanted. During this mission Tara met and had an affair with Slade Wilson (Deathstroke). He invited her to become his partner on a vendetta against the New Teen Titans because Slade blamed them for the death of his son. Tara Markov accepted the offer and took the codename Terra, at the same time she and Deathstroke invented a story that involved Tara being a prisoner of terrorists.
Changeling (Beast Boy) decided to offer Terra membership in the New Teen Titans after he saw her trying to destroy the Statue of Liberty. It was soon after her joining that Changeling (Beast Boy) started to have romantic feelings toward her, it was also during her time in the New Teen Titans that she was reunited with her cousin Geo-Force when both the "New Teen Titans" and the " Batman and the Outsiders" confronted the Fearsome Five together.
During the time that Terra was a Teen Titan she worked as a spy for Deathstroke, collecting information for him to find out the identities of the members of the team and use it as a way to capture them and take them to the H.I.V.E who were the ones that hired Deathstroke.
After everyone in the team revealed their identities to Terra both Kid Flash ( Wally West) and Robin ( Dick Grayson) left the team for different reasons, having lost two of their members (Robin being the leader), Donna Troy became the new leader of the team until Dick Grayson decided to come back after figuring out what would he do with his life. Dick Grayson was attacked a few days later by Deathstroke as an attempt to capture him. The strange part of the attack was that Deathstroke didn't attack him as Robin, but as a civilian. After the confrontation Dick manages to escape Deathstroke by losing him in the city and goes to see if his teammates are okay. After Dick notices that every single one of the New Teen Titans has been captured he meets Adeline Kane and her son Joseph Wilson (Jericho) who tells him that Terra has been working with Deathstroke, and it was because of that that Deathstroke had learned their identities and was able to attack them at their homes. Dick Grayson (Having taken the identity of Nightwing), now with the help of Jericho went to rescue the New Teen Titans from H.I.V.E and Deathstroke. During the fight Jericho took control over the body of his father and used it to fight Terra, during the fight she lost control over her powers and caused the building to fall over on her, killing her.