Spiraling out of the brilliant 5 issue Kings Watch series, from Dynamite, comes the new Phantom!
The issue starts off with a quick recap of Kings Watch limited series. The tragic ending that the Defenders have won the day, but at a terrible price. The Phantom was killed in action and the world’s technology been set back a hundred years.
For four hundred years there has been a Phantom, a direct descendant, so Lothar Kehwabe takes up the mantle of the Phantom pledging to be the Phantom until the true successor is found. We find Ace reporter Jen Harris investigating illicit money being dumped in Mawitaan Bangalla. We then head back to the Skull Cave to find Lothar contemplating what it means to be the Phantom. He is still not confident in his abilities and the Phantom suit but Guran, his Bandar warrior companion, informs of trouble in a nearby village. This is where our story picks up. The Phantom, still unsure of himself, proceeds to the village and deals with the Mercs, cautiously at first, but by the end of the encounter it’s classic Phantom! From here Phantom learns the Vultures are back, a mercenary band that has not been seen in one hundred years and are in Mawitaan. The Phantom and his trusty side-kick Guran, come up with a cunning plan to infiltrate the Vultures. We then find out that Jen Harris has been captured and interrogated by the War Lord. She claims to know nothing, and has left the interrogation room under guard. From here the War Lord is informed of the arrival of King Guillotine who is really Guran and The Phantom in disguise. They are asked for information about the Mercs that the Phantom defeated earlier. They come up with the right answers to the right questions and are asked to deal with a problem. We are left with a classic cliff-hanger to prove their loyalty, Guran – King Guillotine, is asked to kill the reporter.
This was a great first issue, we found our hero at a loss, contemplating whether he was worthy or not to wear the uniform. The story took us where it needed to go, with the Phantom not confident in the beginning, but with coaxing from his side-kick and the action that then followed, we got a classic Phantom story.
I also felt the art complemented the story and cannot wait to read the others.
The Phantom #1, by Brian Clevinger and Brent Schoonover, reintroduces the daring adventurer Lothar in his new guise as The Ghost Who Walks, as he explores the birthright of a heroic lineage – one not his by blood, but by heroic deed.Writer Brian Clevinger says, “I think it’s great that Lothar gets to be The Phantom. This guy has no direct connection to the legacy, but he respects it, and he’s the best guy around for maintaining it. This outsider’s perspective lets him question what it means to be The Phantom and it lets us play around with what its ancient legacy means in the 21st century.”Regarding the plot of The Phantom, Clevinger explains, “It’s the first time in 200 years that worldwide industry has stopped. Old powers are displaced, new ones are on the rise. Greed and cruelty are everywhere. And Lothar’s gonna be up against people who know more about The Phantom than he does. But I think he’s smart enough to use that against them. We also get to bring back the Bandar and see how they’ve been influenced by The Phantom since helping to invent it 500 years ago.”“I am very excited to be working on The Phantom. The comic strip was one of my first introductions to cartooning as a kid,” says artist Brent Schoonover (Adventures of Superman). “He’s always been on my ‘Comic Book Bucket List’ of characters to draw in an official capacity. So to not only draw the character, but also get to do something progressive (i.e. Lothar taking the mantle of one of the longest running legacy superheroes in the industry), it’s a real honor. I can’t wait for people to check out what we have in store for The Phantom.”