Tuesday, January 13, 2009

DC Comics Presents #25 - Sept. 1980

Superman and The Phantom Stranger re-team to fight an old foe!

Not even a year after saving Supes' Kryptonian bacon in a fight against Dracula and Frankenstein, The Phantom Stranger made his debut in DC Comics Presents, in a story by PS writer Paul Levitz with art by the Lennon and McCartney of DC Comics, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin:

As we see doctors mull over Pete Ross' wallow in madness, we find Superman in his Fortress of Solitude as he does some basic maintenance.

Suddenly, Superman feels a sharp pain in his side, causing him to drop a table of chemicals. Since some of them are dangerously unstable, Superman realizes he can't let them hit and explode on the floor:
The Phantom Stranger disappearing after introducing himself into the story is pretty standard, but this time its a little different, in that instead of staying with the main hero, we follow the Stranger:

Meanwhile, back at the Fortress, Superman is mulling over the problems of his old friend Pete Ross, and how that his son Jon had disappeared (events that took place in DC Comics Presents #13). He then returns to the Planet as Clark.

But there's a connection to Pete Ross to The Phantom Stranger as well, since Tala used Ross to obtain some talismans from the Man of Steel, which she will use to destroy him!

The Phantom Stranger can't stand hearing of Tala's mad plan
Our circle draws tighter, as we find Superman in space heading towards the planet Nyrvn, where Jon was last seen. Supes finds Jon, slaps a spacesuit on him, and brings him back to Earth to reunite him with his father.

The battle between the Stranger and Tala continues, but it takes a bad turn for Tala when Superman brings Jon to his father, instantly dissipating the hatred Pete has for the Man of Steel. She realizes her mystical mental hold on both Superman and Ross is broken:
Interesting team-up, since except for that one brief moment, Superman and The Phantom Stranger never meet up throughout the story. That's how the Stranger rolls sometimes.

Nice to see Tala back, even if she is just as ineffective here as she has been in the past. Beautiful, evil...and kinda incompetent--that's Tala.


Unknown said...

Wow, does Dick Dillin draw a hot Tala or what? Just might get me to turn to evil, if she asked. :)
I'm actually quite glad you posted this issue. I always wondered what happened to the old Pre-Crisis Pete Ross hated Superman for the loss of his son. Thanks Rob, now I know. (come on, you know you want to finish it)

Anonymous said...

Wow, I totally remember this issue differently than you, Rob. I thought it was *terrible.* And BTW I would NEVER (never ever) compare Dillin-McLaughlin to Lennon-McCartney. Ah, different tastes, I guess. :-)

Anonymous said...

Aside from Nick Cardy and Dick Giordano, Dillin was the best DC artist for drawing fetching gals for years.

I think this issue was my first exposure to the Phantom Stranger!


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