Haven't mentioned the Phantom on big small comix since ages ago. This comic is in keeping with my smaller press theme, but the Phantom himself is a big, big icon. Possibly the first hero to wear the skintight costume that all supers wear today. The Phantom is older than Batman or Superman, and has great similarity with the former of the two. He has no special powers, untold wealth, and is regarded by evildoers as something of a dark legend - his other titles include "The man who cannot die" and "The Ghost who Walks". Small-time publisher Moonstone Books have picked up the license for Phantom, and are currently releasing two titles - the ongoing title (which will be reviewed here) and a prose-with-pictures maxi-series called Generations, chronicling the adventures of the first twenty Phantoms. But anyway, onto the review...
Synopsis: the issue kicks off with a dishevelled man running through the jungle, fleeing from some unknown pursuer. He has stolen something valuable from some local village, and flashbacks to the act of stealing it. While lamenting his position, a shadowy figure continues to pursue him, seemingly disregarding the six bullets that the crook has fired at him.
The chase continues, with the crook constantly seeming to lose his pursuer, only for him to pop up again from life-threatening situations. Finally, after jumping off a moving train, the crook elopes in a jeep that has been provided by his employer. The Phantom continues to pursue him on horseback, and signals surrounding tribesmen to fire their arrows at the jeep. The arrows damage the jeep heavily, but the crook is unscathed. He tosses a grenade behind him, blowing up a nearby tree.
Much later, the crook arrives at a harbor, where he gets on a pre-arranged ship bound for Portugal. He goes down into the hold, and calls his employer. He is told his employer is unavailable, and ends the call in anger. Suddenly he hears a sound, but dismisses it as nothing. Then the sound is heard again, a clank. several times the clank sounds, with the crook becoming more and more panicky. The Phantom's shadowy figure emerges, demanding the crook hand over the stolen goods. He tries to fire on the Phantom, but he has already disappeared. Then he reappears behind the crook, knocking the gun out of his hand and punching him unconscious. The Phantom retrieves a glowing gold idol from the crook's bag, and drags him outside, dangling the crook off the side of the ship. Threatened with being fed to the sharks, the crook reveals that he was assigned to get something called "the eastern dark", and didn't know what it was. The Phantom drops him onto the deck, and disappears. The crook's satellite phone rings as the issue ends.
The Good: the art for this issue is way better than what I saw in the first 3 issues. Every shot is well set out and heightens the suspense. Favourite panel is the blood spewing from the crook's mouth as the Phantom punches him, so cool. The sequence where the Phantom seems to disappear is very effectively done. In terms of art, an awesome issue.
The Bad: the story seems to be a bit of a filler, not really connected. The story itself is pretty good, but nothing special. Bad story, but told well. Its only saving grace is the mention of the "eastern dark" which could be a hint of things to come. But it is a disappointment for me, and I'm left seriously underwhelmed.
The Ugly: I'm not really sure if this is an error, but page is repeated on page seven. it doesn't look out of place or anything, but I can't help but wonder. Nothing else. Moonstone are pretty good at ironing out the kinks from my experience.
Overall, Phantom: Ghost Who Walks #4 is rated by me at 7.5/10. Great art, and the story is told very well for what it is, but it feels like just an issue filler and a serious disappointment. But the art was something that I wanted rectified, and it has been, so I won't complain.
Posted by Fanbot at 5:37 pm, SATURDAY 8 August