Sunday, September 9, 2012

Phantom Stranger #0

Wow, what a terrible comic book.

Well, partly. The artwork by Brent Anderson and Scott Hanna is quite good. Anderson channels the best qualities of Gene Colan, with realistic characters, powerful layouts and iconic characters.

But the story by Dan Didio is amazingly wrongheaded.

It gives the Phantom Stranger an origin story - which is bad enough all by itself, since he works primarily as a figure of mystery.

Ordinarily I avoid spoilers, but this is an issue you should shun, so forgive me if I reveal too much - but the big secret behind the Stranger is that he's Judas Iscariot.

Oh, the story doesn't actually have the courage to name him, but it leaves no doubt about his identity. Despite killing himself (it's in the Bible), he's brought back to life, sentenced by a panel of wizards, gets the word about his sentence from The Mysterious Voice On High (on loan from The Spectre) and starts wandering the Earth.

He's not a hero, he doesn't particularly like people - he just walks.

Just as I'll be doing from any future editions of this incarnation of this character.

Grade: D



Dwayne said...

Lamest Judas reference? The coins he received from the Romans are now a necklace. sheessh.

***Dave said...

Actually, the coins were probably the cleverest bit, IMO.

But turning him into yet another explicable Tragic Wandering Figure takes away the mystery and intrigue of the PS.

Chuck said...

I agree that the coins were the closest thing to being clever that the story managed. (What, no origin for the hat?) Back in the '80s (or '90s) DC published an issue of "Secret Origins" that offered four different possible origins of Phantom Stranger (while confirming none of them), including one by Alan Moore. Any of the four were far better than this issue.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, thanks for the heads p, Chuck. I almost bought this!

Sean Mc said...

I am torn. Brent's artwork is so beautiful to look at, the book may be one of those train wrecks that you read month after month that you can't believe they put out. Does this book officially make Dido, Jemas?