Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Phantom Stranger #17 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: J.M. DeMatteis
Art By: Fernando Blanco, Diego Olmos
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 5, 2014

What Happens In Vegas, Gets You Help Against Project Thaumaton.

This chapter of Forever Evil: Blight is a Phantom Stranger, Pandora, and Cassandra Craft story, so I'll only be filling you in on what happened to them last issue.  Because it's all you need to know, and I'm lazy.  While trapped in Nanda Parbat, Pandora went all light side on Nick Necro, and tried to teleport the Justice League Dark away.  But once away, she realizes that the only people with her are Phantom Stranger, and for some reason the blind psychic; Cassandra Craft.  Stranger decides that they need help, and tries to find his friend Chris Esperanza, who has just become the Spirit of Redemption, to lend a hand.  But they don't find Chris, they find The Spectre, and we all know how it's all wrath first and ask questions later with him.  Let's see how they make out, and what they plan on doing to get their friends out of Project Thaumaton.

Explain It!:

So we get Spectre and Phantom Stranger duking it out, and I wish this was as cool as it sounds, but it's not and it's short lived, when Chris Esperanza and Scottish Terrier god show up to yell "Break it up".  Well they don't yell that, but you get the point.  So once again Phantom Stranger is all like "You can't tell me what to do god, I'm my own man", yeah and we'll see how long that lasts this time.  But Chris won't help them, and him, Scottish Terrier, and Specter disappear.  But not before giving them a so called gift.  Red energy forms in his hands, and then goes into Cassandra Craft, and Phantom Stranger.  It's odd, and I can't really tell you what this was, but ever since it happened it seems that The Stranger has gone sweet on Cassandra, and I don't mean just at that moment, Stranger acts weird around her the rest of the book.  Enough of the mushy stuff, time to find new allies.

Well allies is a stretch.  Phantom Stranger decides to go to Trigon's sons in Las Vegas looking for a little back up.  Being the demons they are, they strut around talking all demony and acting like dicks.  But Trigon's sons agree to help after looking at the big picture.  But in return Belial wants Phantom Stranger's silver coin necklace, with it he would finally have enough power to overthrow his father.  At first Phantom was all against it, but after Belial threatens to kill everyone in their hotel, he reconsiders, and hands Belial his necklace.  At first it looks like Belial is getting jacked on Stranger magic, but ultimately he takes the necklace off, and tells Stranger that the suffering it causes is more than he's ever witnessed, or inflicted.  Knowing the daily suffering that the Stranger deals with he offers to help.  I think it was mostly out of respect for the amount of suffering the Stranger can endure.  So in the end this really unlikely team fly off to Nanda Parbat, to stop Faust and Necro, and to destroy the Thaumaton device.  Come back next week when we take on the next chapter in Constantine #12.

Bits and Pieces:

While it's not the best thing that Forever Evil: Blight has given us, I really love seeing Phantom Stranger do that strange thing he does so well.......  Yeah it's probably just suffering, but I like seeing him do it.  While I like call backs to earlier issues, it seems that the Phantom Stranger series is lousy with them.  Every other issue before we got to Blight seemed like it was just a call back, and here we're doing it again.  While you might like that, this issue is a mixed bag for me.  Like I said in previous reviews on this arc, I think I'm just getting burned out from weekly Blight.



  1. I think the rating on this book should be a lot higher. There is excellent characterization and a plot direction which takes it away from the "Judas as Superhero" we saw when the series started. The references are to tie up older threads. If you have been following it closely, I think DeMatteis has turned the first 16 issues into a prequel for a revised version of the Phantom Stranger, Second Series. Craft is going to be an integral part of the revision. She's part of his history.

    By the way, I do agree with you that this Blight story has gone on way too long.

  2. Sorry you don't agree with the rating, but as you know it's subjective. I probably have a little bias because how much I like Phantom Stranger, and this book just didn't do it for me, as much as I wanted it to. I'm just spit balling here, but I'm just happy you read the review. Hope you keep reading, and I hope our personal scores match up better in the future.

    1. I don't know how DeMatteis could have wrapped up a long story arc which began with issue 0 unless he gave a lot of background. While I can understand how a regular PS reader can find all the flashbacks tedious, for me, they pulled everything together pretty neatly. Then, DeMatteis wove the threads for the next major arc into the plot. I consider that to be great writing.

      Let me just add that those subjective ratings do matter. People read them and they become encouraged or discouraged from buying a book. If you really don't care for something, that's fine. But being too casual can affect a book's survival.