King/Dynamite Entertainment 2015
Written by Nate Cosby & Ben McCool
Illustrated by Ron Salas
Coloured by Luigi Anderson
I like the way this book opens off the coast of Bangalla, Africa in 1628 as we see the Phantom of that era fighting a bunch of pirates. Oh yeah Pirate Phantom is pretty awesome you almost forget that there are so many incarnations of the character and some more fanciful than others. Of course soon enough he has allies in his fight as Prince Valiant, Kid Flash Gordon and the dinosaur with the mind of Mandrake arrive on the scene.
This Flash is younger than the one who rescued him from the Demon so that’s a hoot because as immature as he is it’s actually funny to see him so gung ho and eager to fight while time traveling. Well it seems Valiant is here to rescue the same person that the Phantom is though in the middle of a fight on a pirate ship isn’t the best place to talk negotiations. The woman they are meant to rescue is named Karma and she is a healer and master of spirits.
Downstairs Valiant runs into a behemoth of a man dressed in Pirate Captains outfit. After he manages to defeat him another behemoth of a man is guarding Karma. This one however isn’t as easy to defeat and the reason for that well read the story. I have to admit this time traveling romp for Valiant is kind of making him so much cooler than I ever could have expected and it’s awesome. It’s like this is the journey he needed to establish himself as something more than just a kid with visions of being more than he is. Going from rash to seasoned so when he returns to his own time and faces Merlin again it should be quite the encounter.
I’m such a huge fan of the dialogue here from all the characters involved. There’s the appropriate pleasing and appeasing along with some well placed humor. I also loved the fact that after Karma does what’s needed of her she recruits herself and the Phantom to travel with them. Where they go next and whom the recruit well that’s a shocker for me but it certainly adds a decidedly fun flavour the events. With Merlin watching in the wings waiting to see what happens and awaiting their return and the wrath he will try to unleash upon Mandrake should be fun to witness.
This is the second King series that I totally want to see with the same creative team become an ongoing monthly. The promise here is so untapped and vast and what we are getting is some of the finest storytelling around. Plus Merlin is a total tool and not a nice person so having him have to work with Valiant in the future whether he wants to or not is one of the most promising aspects of what I’m reading here.
Ron and Luigi are doing some decidedly fabulous work on the interiors as well. I actually love that they take pages and turn on the sides at the end here too. The whole style, look and feel we get from these characters is wonderful. Valiant’s new look and i’m sorry this Phantom along with Mandrake in the form of a dinosaur it all just makes reading this near perfect.