Thursday, April 2, 2009

Action Comics Weekly #631 - Dec. 1988

"Cat and Mouse" by Paul Kupperberg and Fred Carrillo.

The Phantom Stranger's one and only cover appearance during his run in Action Comics Weekly, courtesy Jim Starlin!

After inking the PS story in ACW #617, longtime Phantom Stranger artist Fred Carrillo returned to pencilling and inking the character's exploits. And it was only appropriate he return with this story, which features characters from the Stranger's past:
...Tala, Dr. Thirteen, Cassandra Craft--its like old-home week!

While talking with Dr. Thirteen, the Stranger senses a presence outside. Turns out its Cassandra Craft, who the Stranger seems happy (as happy as he gets) to see.

The Stranger senses a force of evil nearby, and as he heads out to search for its source, it comes to him:
...Tannarak! It really is a old-home week!

To be continued!


Johnny Bacardi said...

Ugh, Fred Carrillo. The poor man's Nestor Redondo. The Stranger looks like a dork sitting there in his cape and hat without his jacket...and Tannarak's body stocking- oy.

Also, I was under the impression that Wein had established that Tannarak wasn't completely evil, that his morals were kinda adjustable depending on the situation.

I've never read this, or any of these Action Comics Weekly adventures- and this one looks more interesting than the others so far (well, Kyle Baker's was pretty cool for artistic reasons), but I never thought Kupperberg brought anything to the party- this, and the last few issues of the Stranger's own book, always read to me like glorified fan-fic. Just my opinion.

Bribaby said...

I have to second that emotion about the Stranger in cloak-sans-jacket; who would do that? But there were some touches of which I approved. I like the idea of the Stranger and Dr. Thirteen, diametrically opposed in their beliefs and quasi-antogonists for over 20 years, being able to sit down and enjoy a friendly game of chess. It kind of rings true; you can wake up one day and realize that the people you've actually known the longest in your life are your "frenemies", and they become more like friends. Also -- Cassandra Craft! Always a pleasure to see her. There was an issue of PS where she showed fairly good skills as a hand-to-hand combatant. Maybe she'll open up a can of blind whoop ass on Tala.

Johnny Bacardi said...

Agreed re: PS and Doc Thirteen. That was one thing which always grated a little about the original, classic run- that the Doc would be so irrationally stuck in his skeptic mindset about the Stranger, especially when there was so much evidence to the contrary.

Of course, it bears pointing out that 1) Terry didn't have the reader's omniscient viewpoint; and 2) the writers, pre-Len Wein, felt it was necessary to perpetuate the coyote-roadrunner relationship they had, to drive stories. The temporary abandonment of this trope was one of many reasons, I believe, why the Wein version was superior.

Jacob T. Levy said...

This story was the highlight of the 80s miniseries/ ACW run.If it was fanfic, it was at least fanfic about the stuff this fan wanted to see.

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