Hermes Press 2014
Written by Peter David
Illustrated by Sal Velluto
Coloured by Eugenio Mattozi
There really isn’t a character that Peter can’t write and make dramatic and exciting he’s one of a rare breed of writers whose ability transcends genres and subject matter. With the unexpected encounter with Jimmy Wells, a man Diana is familiar with, and an emerging team-up that seems to have come to a screeching halt when they arrive at his house and encounter his wife. The Baroness the leader of the Air Circus is his wife and she’s a former foe of the Phantom and currently Jimmy’s wife.
This whole encounter is fantastic for so many reasons and the characterization we get alongside the dialogue can’t be beat. This is Peter in his element and as Jimmy learns of his wife’s past it’s the present that takes precedence and needs to be dealt with first. Sal adds his own touch to all this too because husband and wife couldn’t look any more different if he’d tried, Jimy in ripped jeans and nothing else looking every bit the jungle boy and June the high fashion coiffed and elegantly appearing wife.
The story of how the pair met well that ties right into the last time the Phantom saw her as well so that their lives seem more intertwined than we would have thought. Again Sal’s depiction, page and panel layout of the encounter well it’s remarkable. June is a character and she’s delightful, pushy and all kinds of arrogant confidence that come across as well through her words as through Sal’s. Honestly these guys work so incredibly well together that I’m hoping they will continue to do so bringing us multiple mini-series of the Phantom and his life.
When they go to talk to the Shaman, whose daughter and granddaughter were taken, Jimmy who is known as Bwana by the Shaman learns where they are going. The city of Ophir is the destination and Bwana is ready to leave now. Though the Phantom makes it quite clear that he’s not going alone he’ll be accompanying him. There’s something just fun about this foursome going off on this grand adventure that feels both like a double date and an incredibly dangerous mission to stop deadly pirates.
This issue is packed full of story, Jimmy’s background, how he and June met and what his life has been like all the while the story to find the pirates goes full steam ahead. I love that Peter can move a story forward while giving us this amount of information about the characters involved without it seeming like a “break” issue. Sal too gets a chance to really shine with the depiction of the jungle animals which are so realistic it’s incredible to see on the page.
Exciting, fresh, fun and action packed this is how we envision the Phantom and these guys are doing it best!