Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Phantom Stranger #25 - July 1973

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The Phantom Stranger takes on a serpent cult!

As I mentioned yesterday, The Phantom Stranger #24 featured the last cover by Jim Aparo while he was still drawing the book. This cover is by Luis Dominguez and...well, I find it less than inspiring. Oh well.

Luckily, Aparo is still doing the insides:



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...I love how that last panel cuts in on the rest of the page--"The skull of the serpent!" Cue "Dum dum dum!" music.

The scared guy continues running into the jungle. but is nabbed by a giant snake and carried away by members of the cult, "those who serve the serpent."

Later, Mr. Colter and Teresa are having lunch, and they see the same man from yesterday now waiting tables. Colter accosts him, but the man now seems zombified and amnesiac. Colter gets really mad, but:

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Later that night, Colter takes off in his jeep to search for the cult. Teresa was supposed to go, but she's too scared to, so she stays behind. Good move.

As his jeep makes it way down a dirt road, a massive tree falls over right onto the jeep, trapping Colter. The Phantom Stranger arrived and rescues him, but warns him not to go any further, since he might night be able to help him if he does!

Of course, Colter doesn't listen, grabs his camera, and takes off.

As he explores further, he hears the distant thunder of drums. He then hears some chanting, follows it, and:

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The cult's chief is in the middle of the circle, involved in some ritual with a giant snake wrapped around his arm.

Then a beautiful woman appears, and begins "The Dance of the Serpent":


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...what the hell's going on here?!?

The cult discovers Colter, and blames his presence for the snake killing Teresa. They chase after him, launching their machetes in the air.

But, despite what he said, The Phantom Stranger reappears and makes the machetes vanish by the sweep of his cloak. As a wall of flame rages, the two of them escape.

The Stranger tells him that he is responsible for his friend's death, but Colter is less than concerned, claiming he has film of the cult and that's all he cares about.


As Colter heads home later that night, he heads down a dark road. In the middle of the road blocking his path is hundreds of snakes! We hear those drums again, and the snakes pile up, forming into...Teresa!

Colter is so terrified he veers his car out of the way, and smashes into a utility pole. But that's not what kills him:


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...now that's a downbeat ending. I kinda like how The Phantom Stranger barely cares this jerk is dead.


The Spawn of Frankenstein back-up continues this issue, again written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Mike Kaluta:



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Maybe its just me, but I always thought Kaluta drew some of the most gorgeous women in comics. They are definitely from another era, and don't always possess the physical qualities that later generations considered sexy, but, I dunno, the woman in this panel haunts my dreams.

In a good way.

1 comment:

Bribaby said...

I really like that opening illo, with the Stranger holding the snake...that, and the subject and general tone of the story itself, is strongly reminiscent of the scary stories in those old Warren Publication magazines, Creepy and Eerie.
Was voodoo every really big in Costa Rica, though, like in the Carribbean? Wein should have somehow built the spookiness around the sea turtles that come to lay their eggs on the beaches there, cuz that's one of the things Costa Rica is really known for. Now that would have been an interesting story!

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