Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Phantom Stranger #36 - May 1975

The Phantom Stranger tries to warn two thieves about the sin of greed!

We open in a North African jungle, as two explorers are in a desperate search for...something:

Later that night, Capeheart demands, er, "gratitude" from Teigs, for saving her from a life of secretarial drudgery and the chance for adventure and wealth. She rejects him, and he uneasily bids her good night.

The next day, Capeheart lets it slip that he intends to fire her once they get back to civilization. Big mistake, since then Teigs decides why bother saving him from the quicksand pit he's fallen into:

All alone, Teigs continues her search back out of the jungle. She grows tired, very tired, and The Phantom Stranger reappears to warn her that its guilt that is weighing her down!

He tells her to get rid of the gold she's carrying, as well, but she's having none of it. The Stranger watches as she staggers off further into the jungle...

Eventually, with the cruel African sun beating down on her, Tiegs starts to leave some of the gold behind, to lighten her load. But with even just one gold bar left, she collapses, the last gold bar falling from her hand and down an embankment.



While this story is certainly predictable, nevertheless I found it a great read and one of my favorite Phantom Stranger stories.

Maybe because the whole "Greed will kill you" theme is so powerful its hard for it not to work, or maybe because with this story, Gerry Talaoc was handed a setting that I think better suited his style of artwork. Or maybe that, at a mere ten pages, it moves at such a brisk clip that even the cliched premise doesn't have enough time to become dull.

In any case, a solid outing for The Phantom Stranger!

(On the letters page, someone suggests The Phantom Stranger feature be taken over by Michael Fleisher. Whoo boy, considering how much of a gut-punch his Spectre stories were, the mind reels at the thought of him having a crack at The Phantom Stranger!)

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