WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of Krypton, "House of El," which premiered Wednesday on Syfy.
Although Adam Strange might not be the first, or even the fifth, DC comics character fans might nominate to play a time-traveling harbinger of doom on a television series, Syfy's Krypton nevertheless settled on the Silver Age sci-fi hero rather than, say, Booster Gold. Indeed, executive producer Geoff Johns conceded Adam is "the unlikely choice," but his everyman nature and Zeta-Beam technology make him ideal for the role on the Superman prequel.
However, it's difficult to watch this week's episode of Krypton, and not think the character is a bit more Booster Gold than the traditional depiction of Adam Strange.
Introduced in 1958, Adam Strange follows in the tradition of pulp heroes like John Carter and Flash Gordon, as Earthmen whisked away to another planet, where they become great heroes. In Strange's case, he was an archaeologist teleported through a Zeta-Beam to Rann, where he uses the planet's advanced technology to become its champion. Booster Gold, on the other hand, is rather less traditional, having been a night watchmen at a 25th-century museum who stole technology on display and traveled through time to our present, where becomes a shamelessly self-promoting superhero.
That sort of showmanship surfaces in the opening moments of "House of El," when Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) finally asks the obvious question: Why didn't his grandson Superman travel across time and space himself to deliver warnings about the future? Like any decent grifter, Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) responds with a blend of the truth and presumably harmless exaggeration.
“He sent me in his place," he says, quickly adding. "I’m kind of a big deal where I’m from. A lot of reasons, but mainly because I can teleport across light years using a little something called a Zeta-Beam. I know, it’s a cool name, huh? Came up with it myself. The only problem is, one passenger per ride, me, and … it’s a little temperamental."
That's not to suggest Adam is guilty of any more than self-aggrandizement (yet), but he clearly has the mind of a con man. Although Seg insists that he doesn't care what a big deal the ball cap-wearing Adam might be on the planet Detroit -- undoubtedly a wink at Zod's "planet Houston" in Superman II -- he still refers him to his friend Kem (Rasmus Hardiker) to obtain less conspicuous clothing. Seeing his opening, Adam takes full advantage, telling Kem that Seg had said "no expense spared," and to quench his thirst while he was at it.
So, we can add opportunistic to self-aggrandizing, neither of which makes Adam Strange a bag guy, only maybe a little sketchy. Still, he insists on helping Seg beyond his initial mission by attempting to uncover evidence of Brainiac to present to the ruling council, and prevent the scion of the House of El from making a grave mistake. When searches of the Science Guild's databases and planetary networks turn up empty, Adam and Kem are forced to hitch a ride with a salvage crew to the Outlands to investigate a recent meteor shower.
Although the weather conditions of the Outlands are unforgiving, surveying a site for clues should be second nature for an archaeologist like Adam Strange, right? "You know what the first rule of archaeology is?" he asks an impatient Kem, who responds, "I have no idea."
"Yeah," Adam chuckles, "neither do I. Dropped out the first year of college, but I think it's something like, 'Never stop searching'!"
So, Adam Strange isn't sort of a big deal on Earth (or the planet Detroit), and he isn't an archaeologist. Then, what is he? A museum watchman from the 25th century, perhaps. Luckily, whatever Adam is, he's persistent, and finds the evidence he's searching for: a Giger-esque "egg" that Brainiac sends to planets he identifies for conquest, "as a forward scout." That, he concludes, dramatically changes their circumstances.
"Brainiac isn't on his way," Adam tells Seg and Kem, "he's already here."
Airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy, Krypton stars Cameron Cuffe as Seg-El, Shaun Sipos as Adam Strange, Georgina Campbell as Lyta-Zod, Elliot Cowan as Daron-Vex, Ann Ogbomo as Jayna-Zod, Rasmus Hardiker as Kem, Wallis Day as Nyssa-Vex, Aaron Pierre as Dev-Em, Ian McElhinney as Val-El and Blake Ritson as Brainiac.