Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Adventure Comics #419 - May 1972

Another adventure with the original Phantom Stranger!

The second of two Phantom Stranger reprints, this issue features the story "Dead Man's Hand", from The Phantom Stranger (Vol.1) #3, by John Broome, Carmine Infantino, and Frank Giacoia:

I've said it a couple of times before, so forgive me for repeating myself, but man did Carmine Infantino do some excellent work in this series.

One the next page we have this sequence featuring Wild Bill Hickock drawing the infamous "dead man's hand":
...that's just a fantastic sequence, brilliantly executed. I love the all-black backgrounds, the shifting perspectives, the uncomfortable close-ups. There's more artistic skill displayed in these four panels than I've seen in entire comics by other artists.

Anyway, the cowpoke telling the story, Hank Wheeler, later sees a ghostly form in the sky as he heads back to his hotel. When he arrives there, two bullets come flying into his room, barely missing him!

Instead, they whiz right by him, shooting through a deck of playing cards nearby.

As if that wasn't weird enough, a package arrives for him, containing two linked nooses...forming an "8." Then, as he stands by his window looking for his would-be assailant, another playing card flutters down into his window--luckily (?) its a "3", so the dead man's is not yet complete.

The next day, Hank goes on at the rodeo, but is spooked when he sees the number on the bull is 8!

The bull starts to buck wildly, throwing Hank off. But before the bull can trample him he is rescued by...The Phantom Stranger!:

After the rodeo, Hank meets up with his fellow riders, where they are taking up a poker game. Hank agrees to sit in, but then the Strange reappears, asking to sit in for him.

The man dealing, Jim Pomeroy, ends up with the dead man's hand himself. He doesn't react well to this, and pulls his six-shooter on the Stranger:
...and so ends another adventure with The Phantom Stranger!

I chuckle at the idea of The Phantom Stranger at a rodeo. I'm sure he blended right in.

Like the previous issue of Adventure, this book is filled with fun stuff. There's the lead Supergirl story (by John Albano, Tony De Zuniga, and Bob Oksner), the second part of the classic O'Neil/Toth Black Canary story, a Zatanna solo adventure by Len Wein and Dick Giordano, plus The Enchantress by Bob Haney and Howard Purcell.

This was it for The Phantom Stranger in Adventure, though. While more stories from the original series would be reprinted, the Stranger himself never set foot in DC's (then) longest-running title.

1 comment:

Luis said...

Adventure Comics, man that comic was great! I hear DC is bringing it back. I sure hope they make it as fun to read as it was back in the day.

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