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Last Phantom #1 Review

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  • Last Phantom #1 Review

    Warning: Spoilers ahead

    In 1943, Columbia released a serial version of a 7-year-old comic strip, The Phantom. While I wasn't around in that time period, as a Phantom fan and a fan of the old cliffhangers, I remember many years after the fact tracking down a vendor who could get me a copy of the Phantom serial on videocassette.

    I couldn't wait to get it into the VCR. As bad of a transfer as it was, I watched anxiously as the chapterplay began to unfold. I recognized the Phantom costume, the Skull Throne, and the "dog" named Devil. But why is the Skull Throne not in the Skull Cave? Why is Diana under the care of an "uncle", a Professor Davidson? And they're telling me that The Phantom is some guy named Geoffrey Prescott? Huh? I felt that the serial was okay... but it was different, somewhat like the Phantom, but not enough like the real thing.

    Of course, later I learned that some of the plot points of the Phantom mythos had not yet come about when the serial was written. But after more than 70 years of stories, you would think anything written today would have the mythos down, right? After all, something that has existed for 70+ plus years has worked well enough that it shouldn't be tinkered with, right? After all, Lee Falk set the character up so that, if there needed to be a reboot or refresh, you could just go on to the next Phantom in a more modern time, right?

    Enter The Last Phantom #1, Dynamite's attempt to bring the Phantom into modern times. There's some intriguing ideas here: a "Walkabout Foundation" and a new Phantom home, "Long Walk Farm." But where did the name "Kitridge" come from? How did "Bangalla" become "Bengali"? Who are Michael and Lee? Why was a family created for Kit, just to have them die? But most importantly who is this obnoxious broken-nosed bald-shaven infomercial-refugee Bruce Willis inspired version of Kit Walker, who after finding the dead bodies of his wife and son, covers himself in their blood (or berry juice, it's not clear), wears his dead wife's scarf as a loin cloth, straps on his father's guns, rings, and belt buckle, and... and... and...

    Waitaminnit! I see what's going on here. A man's family and friends are killed, and he's left for dead. He fashions a mask from suet and otherwises disguises himself. He's the last of a group of law-abiding do-gooders. His magnificent white horse has just escaped, likely to re-appear later in our story. There stands our hero, pistols a-blazin' with his faithful friend, ready to take on all evil as a symbol of law and order... Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Dynamite has not cancelled The Lone Ranger with issue 25, they've just moved him over to the new Phantom series! Return with us now, to those thrilling days...

    If this is supposed to be the Next Phantom in the line, sure, we fans would expect differences. But no matter how I feel about any of these differences, there's just one thing I can't stomach. That's the idea that a generation of the Walker line would not have a Phantom because said Walker wanted to break the chain. Lee Falk wrote some different scenarios for Walker siblings over the generations, but he was always determined that there would be one Walker child to carry on the mantle due to family responsibility and belief in all things right. So again I ask, who is this obnoxious broken-nosed bald-shaven infomercial-refugee Bruce Willis-inspired version of Kit Walker? You might as well have called him Geoffrey Prescott.

    Just as I felt when I watched the 1943 serial. It's okay... but it's different. Somewhat like the Phantom... but not enough like the real thing.

  • #2
    I agree with you General. I was very disappointed with issue 1 of the Last Phantom. As a story, it was all well and good, but it was not the Phantom.

    He wants to break the chain, so why carry the gun, belt and rings around? And why did he take off his pants?

    Kitridge? WTF?

    Was his wife supposed to be Diana Palmer or are we just to assume that "Kitridge" is the son of Kit and Diana?

    I was really bummed after reading this issue. I understand wanting to put your own spin on a character, but there is a reason the character has been around since the 30's.

    HOWEVER: I am sure that non-phans will probably love it and it will do fairly well for Dynamite.

    MikeM

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    • #3
      For what it's worth, which is nothing, CBR gave it all of a half star out of five.

      I haven't read it yet but will pick it up soon.

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