Adventureman is just a story, right? But why does this new book have an address for them, and why is there suddenly a skyscraper in that location? Find out in Adventureman #2, from Image Comics!
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist:Terry and Rachel Dodson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch and Turner Lobey
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 8, 2020
Previously in Adventureman: We meet Adventureman and his team of heroes as they’re called in to battle against Baroness Bizarre and her team while the mystical Apocolypsydra (a sort of doomsday clock) ticks ever closer to midnight. It’s all part of Baron Bizarre’s plan – and it ends halfway through the issue on a cliffhanger that times to the present day, where Claire Connell is reading the story to her son Tommy. Claire, we soon learn, is deaf, which she takes advantage of at her family’s weekly dinner where we meet her fascinating (and diverse) adoptive sisters. They lead interesting lives, while Claire runs her mother’s used bookstore. Life there is calm and quiet, until a woman in 19th century garb drops off a book – a book with the Adventureman sigil on the cover, and then strange things start happening…
DRAWING CLAIRE INTO ADVENTURE
Adventureman #2 opens with Phaedra Phantom (one of the original heroes) dragged by bugmen into the presence of Baron Bizarre. She (I think) was the woman who gave Claire the book, the book which Tommy has been reading with huge interest. This Adventureman book is new to them, and it is full of surprising facts, including a street address for their headquarters. Oddly, it’s the same address as the book’s publisher. Claire drops him off at school and heads off to meet her sisters.
She needs to apologize to them. She starts with Evie and Sera, meeting them on their soufflé day. The chocolate soufflés fall – and burst out in bugs. Claire has seen a similar manifestation before – after Phaedra gave her the book, and she darts out to her scooter. On a whim, completely unlike her mild self, she heads off to the address from the book.
When she gets there, she sees an incredible art deco style skyscraper that did not used to be there. She texts her son, asking him to look up the address and sees what it shows. It’s a great touch of humor that not only is he in school, but he stubbornly follows the rules about not texting in class. She resorts to asking a passerby, and we see that he does not see the same thing she does. She tries the door – and can walk right in.
The first thing she sees is the woman in black, who looks like Hellcat Maggie, so it’s a little unclear whether that’s who she is, or if she’s Phaedra in disguise, and which one it was last issue. At any rate, she talks to Claire about planting books hoping that someone would follow the clues and warns her about building security. Claire triggers a couple security robots and must deal with them before getting to the elevator where she remembers the secret password.
And then it’s Friday, the night of the family Shabat dinner. There is one rule about this dinner, and that is if they’re in town, they must attend. All Claire’s sisters are there, as well as her father, and Tommy. But Claire is not – until she arrives late, rumpled, with torn clothing, holding the Adventureman book.
A COOL VERSION OF THE PORTAL TO MYSTERY
I’ll be honest, I have a great fondness for both pulp adventure and Art Deco style, and Adventureman #2 plays with this a lot. The mysterious building Claire finds looks pristine. It fits perfectly in the big city, tucked in like the Empire State Building. Inside, the place is a shambles, but the architectural details, the sculptures, the windows, the elevator doors – they all share the aesthetic. Not only does this cement the time of the old adventures, but I think it also connects with the tone of the story. This looks like two-fisted adventure, and I’m all for it.
There’s a wonderful dynamic between Claire and Tommy. He’s old enough to have his moments of independence, to vary between talking nonstop and being lost to his cell phone. But they both share a love for the Adventureman stories. In Claire, this manifests more internally while in Tommy it shows as literal excitement in his face and body language. When Claire takes off from her sisters and finds the building, we see a little bit of him in her, and it is charming.
BOTTOM LINE: EXCITEMENT GALORE!
Adventureman #2 hits all the right notes. Claire and her son Tommy are quirky and close without being saccharine, and the background of 1930’s pulp heroes is an irresistible draw. The art is super-fun and the plot is developing at the perfect pace. Now is the perfect time to get hooked on a thrilling tale like this one.
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