The Phantom gets a new ongoing this week and it all spills out of the exceptional King’s Watch event from last year. Can it keep the ball rolling or will this series fall flat to begin with? Is it good?
King: The Phantom #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
This new Phantom series is doubly cool for two reasons. The first is that the mantle of the Phantom is held by a guy who is looking for the next Phantom (or so he keeps telling himself). He’s a reluctant hero, which is always a great way to build towards a character discovering they were the hero all along. The second is that technology has been knocked back 100 years which actually makes The Phantom pertinent. Considering his powers are reduced in comparison to a Batman or more powerful superhero, this was a great choice by Dynamite. Now the characters can be as heroic as ever in the year 2015.
Tools of the trade.
This issue follows The Phantom as he reluctantly does the hero work with help from his buddy Guran. With Guran on a radio transmitting info they take out some terrorists and decide to take on a warlord in the area. Writer Brian Clevinger does a great job with this new character as he makes him very human and believable. He approaches dangerous situations reluctantly which makes a lot of sense given his newness to it all. The book opens with a journalist, which doesn’t fit quite so nicely, but once you reach the last page it makes a lot of sense. Bookended by the journalist, Clevinger allows us to get a taste of the bigger picture, but the main thrust of the story is focused on building up The Phantom character.
Those of you looking for Mandrake should curb your expectations as he’s briefly spotted in the opening panels and then is not seen again. Odd that they hyped his starring in a book that he has very little involvement in.
The art by Brent Schoonover is good, albeit a little rudimentary, as it’s not the most detailed art, but his layouts do more than enough to service the story. The action flows very nicely and there’s one page in particular where Phantom sneaks up on some bad dudes, takes them out, and then pops them a couple of times. It’s a badass moment that helps establish the character and how dominant he can be. I also really like how he’s given Phantom’s horse a bit of character. It’s subtle but goes a long way in creating an interesting dynamic between the two.
Is It Good?
This turned out to be a pleasant surprise that continues the incredible Kings Watch event.