Friday, January 9, 2009

Brave and The Bold #145 - Dec. 1978

The Phantom Stranger re-teams with The Dark Knight Detective!

The Phantom Stranger made a third appearance in Brave and the Bold, drawn again by classic PS artist Jim Aparo. The story is by Bob Haney--so you know we're in for it--and is titled "A Choice of Dooms!":

Batman brings Lustig to police headquarters, and Commissioner Gordon puts him under police protection in exchange for testifying. He agrees when Batman offers to protect Lustig himself.

The following day, in court, Lustig collapses from some sort of attack, grabbing his neck in pain. He mutters something about someone named Kaluu, and we see a mysterious hand as it jabs a needle into a voodoo doll of Lustig...

Lustig falls into some sort of coma, and Batman tries to figure out what's going on. His thoughts are interrupted by...The Phantom Stranger!

The Stranger warns him of growing storm clouds, and he shows Batman a vision forming in them, the face of this man Kaluu! Stranger explains Kaluu is running the Ice House Gang, and controls them with the threat of his voodoo powers.

The Stranger disappears, leaving Batman alone. He feels drawn to the new skyscraper in Gotham, and heads there to search for clues. Inside, he finds a cache of voodoo dolls, and trouble:
...I love that bit with Phantom Stranger casually terrifying the gunman by turning his gat into a snake. Don't mess with The Phantom Stranger.

Batman and the Stranger warn Kaluu they are on to him, but without hard evidence, they can't arrest him. Batman then takes off to meet back with Lustig, but does not know that Kaluu has obtained a strand of hair from The Phantom Stranger's head. Uh-oh...

Batman brings Lustig to the Batcave, and uses his high-tech equipment to terrify Lustig, so much so that he will (hopefully) fear Batman more than Kaluu, and free him of Kaluu's mental grip.

Lustig screams in torment, and Batman stops his interrogation
With the Stranger's help, Lustig comes to, free of Kaluu's voodoo. With the evidence needed, Batman heads back to Kaluu's penthouse to arrest him.

Once he arrives, Kaluu sics a mountain of a man, another mental slave named N'Daka, on Batman, who is so strong that he nearly beats Batman to a pulp!

But Batman is not alone:
A fun outing for Batman and the Stranger, and of course having Phantom Stranger Artist Numero Uno Jim Aparo back on the character is a total treat.

For a Bob Haney story, this tale is pretty straightforward, and doesn't have any of the bizarre left and/or right turns that his stories frequently contained. Phantom Stranger + voodoo = win!


Unknown said...

Man, this brings back some great memories. I knew the PS from JLA but seeing him with Batman (my favorite) was just too cool. I was 9 when this came out so I thought the story was interesting and well, what can you say about Jim Aparo other than "yet another great job". Man, I miss seeing his art. And I think I would gladly pay lots of money for one of the pages from this book with both Bats & the PS.

Luis said...

I own this issue! One of my favorite Brave and Bold tales. Batman + The Phantom Stranger + Jim Aparo + Bob Haney = Can't go wrong.

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