DC Showcase: Adam Strange
Studio: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation
Home Media Release - Original: May 5, 2020, included with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
Home Media Release - Extended Edition: October 13, 2020, included with Batman: Death in the Family
Synopsis: On a rugged asteroid mining colony, few of the toiling workers are aware that their town drunk was ever anything but an interplanetary derelict. But when the miners open a fissure into the home of a horde of deadly alien insects, his true identity is exposed. He is space adventurer Adam Strange, whose heroic backstory is played out in flashbacks as he struggles to save the very people who have scorned him for so long. Charlie Weber (How To Get Away with Murder) provides the voice of Adam Strange, with Roger R. Cross, Kimberly Brooks, Ray Chase and Fred Tatasciore providing their talents. DC Showcase: Adam Strange is produced and directed by Butch Lukic (Batman Unlimited franchise), who also conceived the original story, which is written by J.M. DeMatteis (Constantine: City of Demons).
Runtime: Appr. 16 minutes
Animation Studio: Digital eMation, Inc.
DC Showcase: Adam Strange Mini-Review
By James Harvey
Another riveting outing for the DC Showcase line, Adam Strange finds himself wasting away on a remote mining colony, haunted by a devastating past failure, but finds possible redemption awaits when he must defend the colony from a threat. Despite the hard sci-fi and fantastical nature, it's a compelling and surprisingly relatable look at a hero struggling with failure and reaching for hope in dark times. While the story may hit some predictable beats as our hero reluctantly presses forward, the character work and superb animation makes this short far more engaging than if it was handled by lesser talent.
Please note this mini-review will be as light on spoilers as possible.
DC Showcase: Adam Strange's main story is fairly simple, and unfolds how most will expect it to, but the real meat of the short comes from Adam Strange himself, and his struggle to find hope in impossible times. Most of this short is dedicated to explaining just how Strange ended up on some ramshackle mining colony, and what unfolds is both horrifying and painful. Strange endures some major losses but, in the end, holds on regardless ... for a time. It's a dark look at the toll of war and how it can utterly destroy someone, even the brightest of heroes. It ends up being a far more effective metaphor than major the creative team imagined, but it works, especially as the short reaches its closing moments.
The short also makes the smart move of drawing major influence from the classic Alien franchise to help effectively tell its tale. The viewer knows instantly the situation Strange finds himself in, and what it means to the character, when we open up in such a setting. It allows the story to spend its limited time on where it matters.
DC Showcase: Adam Strange is a solid outing for the animated shorts line, throwing a familiar character into unfamiliar circumstances, with the end result being an engaging and deeply human story of loss and hope. The story itself plays out in a mostly expected manner, but the setting, characters, voice acting and slick use of DC Comics lore makes this actually feel pretty fresh. Couple all of that with some quality animation and it's yet another testament to the interesting possibilities of the DC Showcase line. More animated projects like this, please. Highly Recommended!
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