Review & Spoilers: The PHANTOM #3


Review & Spoilers: The PHANTOM #3  PHANTOM {10th Series} #3D  PHANTOM {10th Series} #3C

PHANTOM {10th Series} #3A PHANTOM {10th Series} #3B Hermes Press logo

The PHANTOM {10th Series?} #3 (of 6)

“Duel in the Skies” (20 pages)

Story by: Peter David

Art by: Sal Velluto

Colours by: Eugenio Mattozzi

Letters by: Kenneth Bruzenak

Publisher: Hermes Press
Cover Price: $3.99


The Ghost Who Walks haunts evil-doers everywhere!! Let me say unabashedly that I never, ever, ever read a single piece of literature featuring the masked mystery man. OOPS!! I take that back. After reading quite a bit on this pulp fiction hero, I remember that I have PHANTOM vol. 9(?) #17-19 from Moonstone which featured the critically-acclaimed and widely-publicized “Invisible Children” story arc. Yay, me!

Peter David is the crowning chronicler for this current volume. My heart has broken a bit in learning that this is only a mini-series and not an on-going. In order to be well-prepared, I read the first two issues on Comixology. Let me just say, I am rapt with this modern interpretation!! Peter boils down the essence of the character and his supporting cast, and delivers a story that flows naturally. The pace is perfect, there is no need to boggle the readers with verbal diarrhea, and each chapter is entirely accessible!! I could’ve just read this issue without any prior knowledge. I’ll sing his praises some more later. On with the show!

The Phantom and Diana found a new ally in their fight against the Singh Brotherhood: a supposedly immortal, invulnerable man named Jimmy Wells. Diana remembers him from her youth. He was a socialite with more money than should be allowed but with no real purpose. The real eye-opener is the introduction of his better half: The Baroness, one of Phantom’s many foes!!

For those who came in late…” I really dig that opener. The sworn enemies have arms pointed at each other: the Phantom has his pistols; the Baroness her machine gun. Jimmy takes it all in stride. Baroness believes she has the upper hand since she knows Phantom won’t shoot her point blank nor will he relieve her of her gun. The face-off barely lasts thirty seconds with Diana helping herself to the villainess’ weapon. Phantom emphatically states two times that Jimmy’s wife is a criminal. The well-to-do blond boy was completely clueless. Her real name is June and she brushes off her previous transgressions.

I always perk up my ears when couples recount how they met. Jimmy proceeds to tell the tale. He was sailing on his yacht when he spotted his future spouse clinging on to her down aircraft. Coincidentally, she had been thwarted by the Phantom. After all the sordid details are aired [natch!], June sarcastically offers to be arrested. She then ‘traps’ her hubby by telling her she might be pregnant. Key word: might. Jimmy is miffed. Diana feels sympathy for her fellow female and asks her hubby if it is necessary to take her in. The One Who Cannot Die is focused on the mission: talk to the witch doctor and track the Singh Brotherhood.

Jimmy talks to his oldest and most faithful friend. The witch doctor is beyond regretful for having betrayed his bwana. Jimmy assures him that no harm was done. The location of the golden city Ophir may have been revealed but it has fierce defenders. Besides, what choice did the pygmy have with his daughter and granddaughter’s lives at risk? Jimmy and Phantom still have some residual resentment among them. Phantom is adamant in accompanying him to Ophir. Jimmy shrugs it off and says that its monarchs would destroy him. The decision is made. The quartet will take Mr. Moneybag’s iron bird as the method of travel. Baroness will be the pilot, obviously. There is flirting, innuendo, and chastising between the lovebirds [couldn’t help it ;-)] Off they go!

PHANTOM {10th Series} #3 pg. 8

To pass the time, Jimmy fills in Diana about his origins. He came from wealthy ambassadors whose ship had been raided by the Singh pirates. Marooned on an island, his mother became pregnant with him unbeknownst to her at first. The little bundle of joy made his parents give up the notion of rescue. Sadly, at age three, his father had been mauled by a pride of lions. His mom ran off with him but she ultimately met the same fate. It seemed like the tot’s days were numbered as well until an elephant grabbed him and raised him among its herd. The rest is history.

The Singh Brotherhood is a most resourceful organization. Not only do they maraud by sea, they invade the skies as well. A dogfight ensues. Kinda. Phantom tells Baroness to fly over the intruding airship. He bails onto the enemy airplane and tosses the pilot. No need to worry. The baddie had a parachute. One of the henchmen informs his master that the Phantom has commandeered one of the craft. Phantom is figuring out how to work the controls. When he looks up, much to Diana’s horror, the other plane collides into his. Au revoir, eternity!

PHANTOM {10th Series} #3 pg. 16 PHANTOM {10th Series} #3 pg. 17 PHANTOM {10th Series} #3 pg. 18

PHANTOM {10th Series} #3 pg. 20

More and more, I’m patting myself on the back for selectively choosing hidden gems and/or books under the radar as well as those that don’t get enough attention nor recognition. Peter David is a household name in the comic book industry. His major claim to fame will always be his twelve-year tenure on INCREDIBLE HULK. I read extensively his piece on writing The PHANTOM and honouring to great length’s Lee Falk’s creation. If you are curious, check it out: Mr. David gives much love to his intriguing personage that has been around for almost eighty years! Even though I also saw the 1996 cinematic adaptation, this man answered a question picking at the back of my brain: what’s the Phantom’s alter ego?? After having read the first two issues (not knowing its limited run), I get the appellation uttered by Diana: Kit, diminutive form of Christopher. It’s a British thang. I have to live up to my sobriquet of ‘Oracle’ (given to me by my friends). The research I did enlightened me even more: the Ghost Who Walks is a legacy hero, always with the name Christopher Walker. This current one is the 21st generation. That’s 420 years!! No wonder the myth/legend has grown!

Finally, Mr. David paints a perfect period piece. I can jive with the new technologies of the era and the juxtaposition of the wilds of Africa setting.

Sal Velluto rang a bell in my crammed cranium. I couldn’t place his previous works. Luckily, there was a two-part interview at the end of the first issue and this one. He illustrated books I own from both major companies in the early to mid-90’s: JLA, JSA, JUSTICE LEAGUE TASK FORCE, and MOON KNIGHT, all part of my humble collection. Mr. Velluto’s delineation is so distinct!! He has honed his talent immensely in his twenty-five-year career. I’m gaga over ‘clean’ art. I appreciate the fine lines for every single detail. This man is worthy of various awards!!

Eugenio Mattozzi lovingly fills in Sal’s sketches. The Phantom’s costume isn’t hokey in the least! I find it befitting him, even though it has its origins in the circus. The Baroness really knows how to cut a dress. Her voluptuous body and fiery personality make her the quintessential femme fatale.

I imagined that a long-standing intellectual property like this one would have umpteen published issues from various companies, merch, media adaptations, etc. but I couldn’t envision how much!! The fact that original on-going stories are printed in Australia, Brazil, Finland, Germany, India, Italy, and Norway is a true testament to this pop culture icon!! Phantom forever!!

 Phantom 2015 logo

I’m definitely going to follow this to the very end! This mini is quarterly. That means I’ll have to wait until September for the next one? NNNOOO!! Acknowledging the legacy of the first skin-tight super-hero to have white pupils within the mask (that’s a fun factoid), I give this book 19 out of 20 (95%) taking the 4 P’s in the good mark ring and the features of the evil mark (skull ring).

Phantom skull ring and P ring Phantom punch Phantom good mark ring and evil mark ring