DC is releasing fifty-two zero issues in an attempt to give a jumping on point for people that did not come on board with the New 52 from the get go, and as a way to re-tell the origins of those heroes who’s continuity was still confusing post-Flashpoint. In some cases, such as that of The Phantom Stranger, they are changing origins radically. Does the new origin work or is it a dud? Find out with this Major Spoiler’s review!
Previously in The Phantom Stranger: Seeing as how this is the first issue of the new series there is not much that happened before this. He made an appearance in the Free Comic Book Day giveaway, The Trinity War. This depicted the Stranger and two others being sentenced by a court of wizards for their sins. Before all the New 52 business the Phantom Stranger had a gallery of origins, mostly Judeo-Christian in some form or another, and one involving a parallel universe.
A VAGUER STRANGER
The first few pages (which were almost completely recycled from The Trinity War) show The Phantom Stranger’s new origins, which are vague to say the least. He is punished for doing something involving betrayal and avarice, and his punishment is to walk the lands until he does some unspecified thing, all the while being bossed around by a strange voice from the heavens, and being granted strange, undefined, powers. Needless to say, there is not much concrete about what is going on in the Stranger’s life right now. Near the end of the tale, The Phantom Stranger helps an ex-cop find a captured girl, ultimately leading him to a set-up and turning the man into The Specter. There is no explanation for why it happened, not outside a vague sense of higher powers demanding it arbitrarily, and it felt out of place to just have The Specter’s origins in what is supposed to be a Phantom Stranger book.
NOTHING TO SEE HERE
The art is serviceable. Things tend to look like what they are supposed to be. The actions of characters look unclear most of the time though. It seems Anderson really hates drawing eyes, because he tries to avoid it as much as possible. Pretty much at every chance available he has a character’s brow cast shadows over where their eyes would be. When he does draw eyes, they are very basic, no more than dots on white, which is fine, but makes me wonder why it seems like he avoids it so much.
BOTTOM LINE: NOTHING TO BECOME FAMILIAR WITH
Overall its a sub-par comic. Its too vague to hold my interest, and it doesn’t raise any questions or give the reader a hook for the next issue. The Phantom Stranger just seems to accept his world of enigma, and has no drive to ever get any answers to what exactly is going on. If the comic continues in such a fashion, then it will just be boring. Save your money on this one, I really do not recommend it.