"Curse of the Phantom": Part One
Writer: Ben Raab
Artists: Nick Derington, Ken Wolak & Dawn Growszewski(c)
While Ben Raab's story is nothing to ignore, the thing you will notice the most about The Phantom is Nick Derington's artwork. Wow. Derrington makes the Phantom lank and lean and gives him a profile very reminiscent of Ray Moore's nineteen thirties and forties classic incarnation.
Combine Derington's sense of artistic history with Alex Toth's pulp sensibilities, and the result is luscious artwork that had no choice but to be in The Phantom. Without a doubt, this is the perfect marriage between the writing and drawing of a specific character.
The style of the artwork lends a frenetic credibility to the drama as well as the core theme of the story. The Phantom though he operates under the ruse that he is immortal has been many fathers and sons in the Walker bloodline. He is a living, breathing legacy but mortal. The fact that Derington like Moore chooses not to depict him as a painted muscle man reminds the reader that the Phantom while an extraordinary man, the Phantom is still but a man and therefore can die like a man.
"The Curse of the Phantom" explores the Phantom's mortality. Ben Raab emphasizes the Phantom's true nature through an unusual enemy, and though The Chronicles of the Phantom hint at what his enemy may be in three intriguing flashbacks, they do not give him the entirety of the answer.
Raab's characterization for the Phantom as usual impresses. He shows Kit Walker dedicated to his calling and portrays Diana as his partner. In a lesser writer's hands, Diana having been unwittingly rebuffed would have probably shouted "Well!" and darted off in a huff. Instead, she stays to provide her husband the moral support needed. She knew who she was marrying, and to have her behave any differently would have been an assault to the this remarkable woman's character. Diana, as did all the wives of the past Phantoms, accepts and admires her husband's reason for being. It is in fact because of these remarkable women the Phantom legend continues. For without a loving, understanding partner, the Phantom will truly die.
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