In an unexpected move, DC decided to give The Phantom Stranger his own title again, part of the second (third? fourth?) wave of new New 52 titles--written by DC head honcho Dan Didio no less!
This premiere issue--part of DC's month-long series of "0" issues--opens with nothing less than the origin of The Phantom Stranger:
Turns out that this young man--this sinner--who so desperately wanted to die isn't given the "easy" way out. Rather, he is cursed to walk the Earth forever, wearing the robe of Jesus Christ himself, stolen from him the day He was crucified:
But when they get there, the Stranger is surprised to find she's not there, and thanks to someone else waiting in the shadows, Corrigan is shot to death, which leads to his becoming The Spectre. The Ghostly Avenger wants to take revenge on the Stranger, but is called away by God, leaving the Stranger once again alone:
As I mentioned above, I was shocked to learn that The Phantom Stranger, of all the characters that had yet to be reintroduced in the New 52, would be given his own title again. As a fan of the character, I'm of course quite happy this has come to pass!
My reaction to this first issue was, sadly, mostly negative: I think giving the Stranger a concrete origin does disservice to the character, and mixing him so heavily in Judeo-Christian history seems like asking for trouble, in terms of offending readers who are not believers. But hey that's just me--this isn't the first time The Phantom Stranger's beginnings have been mixed in with the story of Christ.
Art-wise, I have been and am a fan of Brent Anderson, but I think pairing him with Scott Hanna is a mistake--Anderson's loose, scratchy style (seen on the cover) is a good fit for the character, but Hanna's ultra-smooth inks, to me, squeeze a lot of the life out of it. I'd love to see Anderson do the book all by himself, if possible.
Still, I'm glad the Stranger is back--he deserves to be, so let's hope this book is a big success!
I realize that, in the year or two since this blog went dormant, we've missed a bunch of PS appearances in various DC books. I jumped ahead because I wanted to get to this new series ASAP--so while I can't promise a full-time return for this blog, I promise at some point we'll catch up. After all, The Phantom Stranger deserves no less!