Monday, January 26, 2009

Saga of The Swamp Thing #7 - Nov. 1982

The Phantom Stranger in "The Haunting of Amanda Dove"!

Previous Phantom Stranger artist Fred Carrillo makes a return appearance with the Stranger, drawing this two-part story involving reincarnation and eternal love:

Amanda Dove is distraught when she receives a letter from the government, telling her her fiance, Pvt. Tony Smith, has been killed in action.

She is driven mad when she sees a series of ghosts--all dressed in different military uniforms--calling out to her. She is so terrified that she almost falls out her apartment window, but The Phantom Stranger is there to save her!

The Stranger offers to help her with her torment, but he finds there is a part of her soul even he cannot reach. He then gets a message from on high:
Amanda recalls being in love with a Roman Centurian named Marcus, and how she convinced him to go to war, saying she could not love a coward. The very next day, Marcus is killed in battle. The other soldiers wonder why a man so unsuited to combat would volunteer for such a duty.

This opens the flood gates of Amanda's memory:
To be continued!

At a mere six pages, Mike W. Barr didn't have a lot of space to work with, so it makes sense that he would turn this into a two-parter. Be here tomorrow to see the conclusion!


Anonymous said...

Is this the first time we see PS actually talking to God? Or am I mis-remembering again? I think right around this time DC (or just MWB?) turned PS into more of a religious character, culminating in a Bible-based origin in Secret Origins a few years later. This to me is similar to how The Spectre became a direct tool of God and not just a supernatural super-hero. I'm not sure I liked this change.

Richard said...

The Secret Origins tale depicting the Phantom Stranger as the Wandering Jew receiving absolution from the Christian God for denying Jesus was also written by Mike Barr.

I've always found that story deeply offensive and arguably anti-Semitic. I don't believe any offense was intended -- but in a way that makes it worse. I think it was simple carelessness in a tricky area where the author should have been more careful about the unintended meaning of his words.

Now I see the same writer was bringing religious motifs to the Stranger even earlier, and I can't say I like it any better.

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