King/Dynamite Entertainment 2015
Written by Brian Clevenger & Jeff Parker (Prologue)
Illustrated by Ryan Cody & Marc Laming (Prologue)
Coloured by Robt Snyder & Jordan Boyd (Prologue)
I had a bit of a geekgasm when I started this issue because I’d forgotten just how darn good Mark and Jordan’s interior artwork could be. It’s the kind of illustration that personally I always look for in a book. Solid, detailed and full of life in its attention to backgrounds and the look and feel of each character. Ah I loved seeing this here and it reminded me of what I adore about the Phantom unfortunately that wasn’t meant to last.
While the prologue with the Kings Watch goes to reiterate how we’ve gotten to where we are now and how Lothar became trusted with the Phantom’s secrets and his aging and failing health and why he took the mantle up till he could find a true heir. That kind of loyalty and commitment are rare to find in people and it’s a really nice reminder for the way this new Phantom operates.
Coming back to the present Lothar has found Jen Harris and she’s a Walker while also being a reporter who inadvertently got caught up in all this because Ming crippled the planet and set technology back to doing things old school where you have to travel and do legwork instead of being able to use the internet. Along with Guran as a partner the Phantom through this story has once again evolved and has become what it’s meant to be to survive and thrive in this new environment. How they manage to work together to put an end to the threat posed was extremely clever and well executed.
Brian has done something more brilliant than I was prepared for here and that’s kept the legacy of the Phantom alive and moving forward with the times. Keeping this living, breathing legend as important and relevant today as it was when he first appeared. With Ming’s assault on the planet and the Banghala region in such turmoil he’s never been needed more. With a team instead of just the one, with a background trusted servant, the Phantom legacy has now gone into a new era. The characterization is fantastic the melding of these individuals has been done to leave the reader excited for the Phantom’s future. Dynamite and the people they’ve decided to work on these projects must have a super secret formula because they can seem to do no wrong.
While at first I thought that the artwork might be an homage to the King series it really doesn’t so much for me. It’s too simple, it has too little detail and the backgrounds just too bare for my personal enjoyment. Plus we just don’t get that feeling of excitement seeing Lothar in that Phantom outfit that we felt in the beginning of the issue. The interiors for me are something not to be repeated with this character this world deserves tighter more detailed work.