Overview

Captain Action/The Phantom #1

Review

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Captain Action/The Phantom #1

Credits

  • Words: Mike Bullock
  • Art: Reno Maniquis
  • Inks: Keith Williams
  • Colors: Bob Pedroza
  • Publisher: Moonstone Books
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Apr 14, 2010

Years and years ago, somebody made a Phantom movie.  I remember seeing the ads in mainstream comics, getting excited about it and going to watch the movie.  It was good superhero movie for its time (1996) and, despite the full body purple spandex, made me interested in the character’s history. 

This was the pre-Wikipedia era, so information was a bit more difficult to come by, so my Phantom education came from my third grade girlfriend’s father, who had read the comics when he was a kid.  Both the fictional and publication history of this character are fascinating, and if you don’t know who the Phantom is, you really should take the time to look him up. 

I have to confess, though, that I have only read a handful of Phantom comics.  I haven’t done nearly enough to keep up with what’s been happening within the Phantom continuity. Also, I know literally nothing about Captain Action.  Despite all of that, Captain Action/The Phantom #1 was not at all hard to follow.  In fact, it was quite the enjoyable read. 

This book begins right in the midst of the action.  The fighting sequences are exciting and dynamic.  Artist Reno Maniquis never strays from the grid format during talk portions of the story and rarely ever stays within panel borders during a brawl.  This pattern he sets focuses the reader’s attention on the many action scenes.  It gives the sense that the talking parts are small breaks between fights, which makes the story move at a fast pace.  

Writer Mike Bullock makes it easy for readers to familiarize themselves with the characters, even if they have never encountered them before.  He gives some history and a lot of details about the personal lives of each character through their interactions and captions. 

It is a bit of a trade-off, though: we do receive tons of information, but the dialogue feels unnatural and lacks subtlety when relaying the information.  There are many interesting plot developments, including Captain Action’s previous relationship with the Phantom’s wife, Diana Palmer-Walker.  After the Phantom is captured, Diana asks Captain Action to masquerade as her husband.  This puts Captain Action in a position where he is regularly in close proximity to Diana, saving her life.  He professes lingering feelings for her, but she maintains that she loves her husband. 

While this plot point is very interesting, the dialogue that conveys it seems more like narration than casual conversation.  Bullock explains everything he tries to get across, while Maniquis’ attention to expressions and body language already speaks volumes.

Still, that shouldn’t hold you back from picking this issue up.

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