Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Phantom Stranger (Vol.3) #3 - Dec. 1987

"Thunder in the Night" by Paul Kupperberg, Mike Mignola, and P.Craig Russell.

Did you ever think you'd see a cover featuring President Ronald Reagan zapping The Phantom Stranger with machine gun? You didn't, did you?

This series keeps rolling, kicking off this issue with the Stranger seemingly bereft of his powers:

...thankfully, its all a dream, but reality is barely better: the Stranger is now mortal, something he's not quite used to.

While the Stranger, Bruce Gordon, and Dr. Klyburn did help defeat a horde of Earth-Demons last issue, that was only one part of Eclipso's plan. "There are others, already in the works."

As they head for Metropolis, to meet up with someone who can help them, we see that in Washington, the U.S. government is increasingly concerned with the Soviet Union's armed build-up along their borders.

Meanwhile, we reconnect with Jimmy Olsen, who is trailing a member of the Soviet Consulate who is having a clandestine meeting in a dive bar with the small-time mob clerk he came across in issue #1.

Unfortunately for Jimmy, the clerk spots him, and follows him outside:

...I love that little panel of the trashcan. Amid all the self-serious so inherent with Phantom Stranger stories, this mini-series managed to work in a fair amount of humor, a touch I really enjoyed.

Anyway, Jimmy escapes just as the guy is about to grab him, but we see that this mob clerk is more than just a mob clerk!:

The Stranger saves Jimmy, and asks him to come along.

We catch up with Eclipso, who, while frustrated the Stranger has thwarted one of his plans to destroy the world, is sure the other two will work...

Back in Washington, it appears that the Soviet Union is preparing for some kind of nuclear first strike. Outside the gates of the White House, Jimmy and Bruce Gordon spot the mobster named Rizzoli, who the Stranger says will swap places with the President, thereby insuring the United States engages in nuclear war!

Rizzoli teleports away, changing places with President Reagan, who is left outside the gates, wondering what the heck is going on!

Inside, "President Reagan" refuses to back down, and asks for the nuclear codes. Uh-oh...:

While The Phantom Stranger battles the fake Reagan inside, Jimmy, Bruce, and the real President are kept out of the White House by two armed guards, who are actually demons under the control of Eclipso!

The Stranger manages to get the red phone away from "Reagan", before all the codes can be transferred. "Reagan" then loses it, grabbing a machine gun and blasting away: "Eat hot lead, dupe of order!"

The Stranger manages to grab him, teleporting them both outside, where the two Reagans start to fight! Finally, the Stranger pastes the fake Reagan one, leaving the demon exposed for what he is:

To be concluded!

This issue is completely insane, and I mean that as a compliment.

Writer Kupperberg manages to keep all these various plates spinning, hopping from place to place, character to character, keeping the story chugging along, but still having time for goofy little moments like Jimmy in the trashcan, and of course an evil Ronald Reagan firing a machine gun at The Phantom Stranger. You simply can't beat that.

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...