|Mystery in Space
a Graphic Novel Proposal
starring Adam Strange
by Todd Frye
Adam Strange by Rick Blackwell
In space above the planet Rann, the millennium-old warship Hakkestrang, its crew long dead, has been floating cloaked in the void since before the atomic war that ravaged Rann over 1,000 years ago. Astronauts from Rann have only recently discovered it, and attempt to bring its machinery back online. The existence of the ship's powerful pre-War weaponry, however, has caused a sudden shift in the local balance of power: the hostile worlds of Morleen and Zared, among others, threaten the use of force if the ship is put in use. On Rann, the population is divided: most desire to continue Rann's pacifist policies; others want to put the weapons to use for defense. A local Cult of Peace has been established, composed of pacifists, who offer to board the ship, disarm her weapons, and cannibalize the remaining technology for Rann's profit. The Council of Elders, edgy about possible conflict, agree to this proposal, as well as setting up a peace conference between all of the involved worlds.
Adam Strange, Rann's resident superhero, watches over the beginnings of the conference. At one point he bumps into a fellow, who turns on him savagely - but the man is called off by his employer, Lena Thol, the charismatic leader of the Cult of Peace. Strange finds it odd that Thol should surround herself with such muscle though she preaches benevolence; but he doesn't have time to think about it, as the peace conference begins and he is needed elsewhere.
At that moment, in Adam Strange's home, his infant daughter Aleea is attended by her nurse. The nurse leaves the child for only a few moments - and Adam himself steps into the room, grabbing the girl and abruptly leaving with her. The nurse, returning, can only stare after the departing figures, puzzled.
The conference winding down for the evening, Adam returns home - and discovers his daughter missing. The nurse explains what happened - and he realizes that his daughter has been kidnapped by an imposter. It is then he finds the message-disk left by the intruder. It instructs him to break into the Hall of Science and steal the last remaining zeta beam projector, and to deliver it to a certain location within the Great Desert, by second dusk - if he wants to see his daughter alive again.
At the conference, meanwhile, a group of armed men, wearing complete body armor to hide their race, break through the security net and into the conference room. Using laser weapons, they slaughter every delegate to the last man. Aboard the Hakkestrang, the Cult sets to work - bringing the ship's powerful weapons online. Lena Thol discards her mask and reveals herself - as Hyathis.
Strange, as instructed, retrieves the zeta beam, the device by which he has often teleported between Rann and Earth. At the predetermined spot he finds Aleea, alone, sitting in the desert. Adam sets down the zeta beam and walks toward his daughter - who immediately pulls an energi-rod from behind her back and blasts him with it. Nearly unconscious, Adam watches his daughter's features melt
into those of the villainous Kanjar Ro. Ro explains he's been using the shape-changing pills of the criminal Byth Rok (an enemy of Hawkman). Now, with the zeta beam, the warship, and his profitable new partnership, he will finally gain the power he craves. Leaving Strange for dead, he jets away.
While alien navies converge in the skies above Rann to do battle in retaliation for the delegates' murders, Adam Strange - addled but unbowed - rushes to the Hall of Science to seek the advice of Sardath, father of his deceased bride. Watching holograms of the disastrous peace conference, Adam finds a clue - one of the assassins, his helmet removed during the fracas, is the bodyguard of Lena Thol that he'd bumped into earlier! He then begins to understand what's happened. But - the powerful warship is cloaked again. How can he find it? Sardath then reveals a device he's been saving: a modified Thanagarian absorbascon, which quickly pinpoints the ship's location. Sardath then makes a painful admission: he intentionally teleported Adam to Rann those many years ago, to impregnate his daughter, the last fertile woman on the planet. Now, the world's hopes rest upon Aleea returning safely. Adam, focusing on the battle ahead, departs in his ship, the Alanna, named after the woman he loved.
His own ship cloaked, Adam is able to sneak aboard the ancient warship, and there he confronts his enemies. He first battles Hyathis's elite guard, but then the woman's own plant-sentries, combined with the power of Kanjar Ro's energi-rod, defeat him. He's captured and brought before the two villains, who gloat in triumph, while little Aleea looks on. Her charade now ended, Lena Thol finally reveals herself as the would-be conqueror Hyathis; her Cult, she admits, are exiled Thanagarian mercenaries. It was they who murdered the peace delegates, and who will man the Hakkestrang against the weaker alien navies; and who will be teleported via the zeta beam to strike Earth and other worlds without warning.
That, replies Adam, was all he needed to hear: he reveals a mini-recorder in his helmet, which has been transmitting every word of the exchange to Rann - and to the other involved worlds. They've been tricked. The alien navies, realizing they've been duped, turn their guns on the warship. Strange warns them: surrender - or be blown to bits. Ro sneers: Strange would never allow the child to be killed.
At this Adam plays his last ace: reaching a stud on his belt, Adam's rocket-pack goes off - not being strapped to his back, it launches forward and explodes against the ship's main control panel. The ship's circuitry goes haywire: the artificial gravity is turned off, the lights go out, the cloak and defensive shields are dropped. In the confusion, Strange grabs Aleea and, using the zeta beam, teleports them both to the surface of Rann. Seconds later, on Sardath's signal, the combined alien warfleets blast the disabled Hakkestrang to atoms. Adam and Aleea return to a Rann that need never fear war again.