Written by Brian Clevinger & Jeff Parker (Prologue)
Illustrated by Ryan Cody & Marc Laming (Prologue)
Colored by Robt Snyder & Jordan Boyd (Prologue)
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Published by Dynamite Comics
Release Date 07/15/2015
Issue four begins by taking us back to the end of the KINGS WATCH series and revisits the previous Phantoms’ last moments as he discusses with Lothar the origin of the “Ghost Who Walks”. The flashback also reminds us of the sacrifice he made to save the Earth, giving his own life to assure the survival of the entire planet. It was here when Lothar vowed to put the mask on until he is able to find the true successor.
At the start of this new Phantom series I truly believed that we would see Lothar exclusively as The Phantom, at least through the end of the miniseries. Once it was revealed that investigative reporter Jen Harris is a descendant of the Walker family, my thoughts were he would quickly pass over the mask. For those who don’t know, there has (depending on who you ask or what you read) been at least twenty-one Phantoms. Once the Phantom passes, the son has always taken over the responsibilities of wearing the mask and upholding the oath that Christopher Walker vowed to uphold over 400 years ago, which is devoting themselves to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice; with his sons and their sons following this promise.
Jen Harris is the first female Phantom (as far as I know) since Julie Walker wore the mask hundreds of years before. Julie Walker was the twin daughter of the 16th Phantom, and when the son (Kit Walker, I believe all of the male Phantom’s have had Kit as a part of their name) had health issues, she took over.
Our story in this series is like in the other King titles, set after the events of KINGS WATCH, where the planets technology has been set back one hundred years after Ming’s attempted conquest of Earth. The Singh crime syndicate is plotting to strategically take advantage of these unfortunate events, beginning in Bangalla and then the rest of the world. I love the fact that they are using classic characters from past Phantom stories, as it was the Singh Brotherhood who attacked and killed everyone on the ship (back in 1536) with the exception of a young Christopher Walker (who would later become the first Phantom).
Because of the prologue, the art style differences are obvious, and although I prefer the Marc Laming art from the KINGS WATCH series, Ryan Cody and Robt Snyder bring a different more relaxed approach. Their work stands out best when drawing the action sequences and some of the darker colored panels.
Brian Clevinger is writing a simple but fascinating story that examines corporate and political corruption, and brings with it plenty of suspense and action. It also has some really well placed funny moments, “Since when did the Phantom have two idiot sidekicks”? Which brings me to this new three-headed monster that is the Phantom, an interesting choice by Clevinger, but it works and works really well. “We are the Phantom”.
REVIEW: KING: THE PHANTOM #4
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)