Lightning Strike Comics bring us another new story of The Phantom that launches this coming weekend (3rd June) in Dublin but I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early preview copy of the book.
Last years anniversary issue for Dublin Comic Con saw a host of creators pull together for an impressive set of stories that captured the pulp heart of the character and bring a freshness to it that some other attempts have really struggled to do. The hope was always that they could do the same in further releases and this one-shot story does that and more as The Phantom hands out his usual vigilante justice to protect the innocent.
A jewel smuggling ring has captured his attention and while we open with a visit to the docks to prevent another night-time arrival of a high quality, illegal shipment. It’s vintage Lee Falk as Stephen Mooney’s story unfolds and he’s a perfect fit given the success he’s had with his own pulp title, Half Past Danger (with a second volume on the way soon from IDW). He gets an extra nod for that cracking cover too.
Stephen’s joined by Robert Carey on art who recently impressed in both Ness & North Bend but he seems to have taken things to a whole new level in this one. He pours an amazing level of detail into the world the Ghost Who Walks inhabits and plays around with panels to make every page work in the story’s favour. Triona Farrell on colours brings a subtle depth to the dark world of a vigilante while adding a sinister edge to the criminal underworld our hero is facing. Robin Jones polishes things off with his usual attention to detail and while he has a ton of dialogue to work with he manages to make this work and make it a joy to read. Special mention goes to Cormac Hughes for his origin strip on the inside cover which is a slick touch for this issue.
We end up with a fitting homage to the very best that a pulp story can be as they produce a story that’s sweeps you along form the first punch thrown until the last and while it weaves in and out of the politics, the criminal underworld & the jungles that The Phantom calls home it showcases Lee Falk’s creation in a fresh way for new & old fans alike.