Friday, October 5, 2012

Action Comics (Vol.2) #13 - Dec. 2012

"The Ghost in the Fortress of Solitude" by Grant Morrison and Travel Foreman.

It didn't take the Stranger long--less than a month, in fact--after debuting in the New 52 before he started popping up in other DCU books, but what's a little thing like the time stream mean to...The Phantom Stranger?

In this issue, a Halloween story (nice) that opens on Krypton, we meet Doctor Xa-Du, who is banned to The Phantom Zone for his crimes against society:
Xa-Du's first chance at parole (obviously these Kryptonians are a little less harsh than the ones seen in Superman: The Movie) just happened to be on the day Krypton exploded, which by our calendar would be considered Halloween.

Many, many years later, on Earth, in Superman's Fortress of Solitude, Xa-Du seems to have been able to return from beyond the grave to haunt the Man of Steel:
Xa-Du manages to ensnare Superman into the Phantom Zone, transporting himself to Earth. As he contemplates what further revenge to wreak, we catch up with Superman, who is met by...a stranger:
The Stranger, with the help of Krypto (now there's an issue of The Brave and the Bold!), allows Superman time to escape The Phantom Zone and suck Xa-Du back to the his otherdimensional prison.

The Stranger, not being limited to the bonds of this world, summarily disappears, leaving Krypto behind, waiting for his Master. But Superman would never break a promise to his best friend, and he does indeed return, reuniting a Boy and His Dog again. The End!

While I had my issues with The Phantom Stranger as portrayed in his new series, I absolutely loved this guest appearance--it's classic Phantom Stranger: he shows up, says a bunch of cryptic stuff, helps the hero out, and splits. Well done, Mr. Morrison!

Special thanks to Fantom Stranger Oscar Olaide who mentioned this guest appearance to me over on IATPS's Facebook page. I might have missed it entirely if he hadn't pointed it out. Thanks Oscar!

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