Overview

The Phantom Annual #1

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The Phantom Annual #1

Credits

  • Words: Ron Marz, Tony Bedard, et al
  • Art: Rueben Procopio, Allan Goldman, et al
  • Inks: Rueben Procopio, Allan Goldman, et al
  • Colors: Val Staples, Patrick J. Williams, et al
  • Story Title: Five Days of the Dragon
  • Publisher: Moonstone Books
  • Price: $6.50
  • Release Date: Jan 31, 2007

In the first annual for The Phantom, five stories chronicle five different Phantoms as they quest for the pieces of a mystical object. A quest that spans centuries....

What happens when you take five different writers with five different styles and ask them to write one comic book? Something extraordinary. Ron Marz, Tony Bedard, Chuck Dixon, Rafael Nieves and Mike Bullock may seem like an odd grouping to write one issue but the very nature of the character of the Phantom itself allow them to create something unique in terms of annuals – a story that embraces diversity of voice and makes it flow together.

Our story begins with two legends... the first is the story of the statue of a dragon rumored to have grave, mystical powers. In fact, powers so dangerous that the statue had been broken into five pieces and scattered to the corners of the Earth. The second legend is that of the Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks. In 1667, the third man to bear the costumed identity discovers that his eternal enemies, the Singh Brotherhood, are after the five dragon pieces. Eternal battle now has a new focus as, down through the centuries; other Phantoms continue to seek the pieces in order to keep them out of Singh hands. At the discovery of each piece a different Phantom faces a different villain in a different place and time... Off the coast of America near the end of the Revolutionary War, the 1800’s in the deserts of Mexico near the U.S. border, the early 1930’s in the Himalayas, and finally, in modern times. Each Phantom handles the problem in their own, unique style from hard and cold to gallant and confident and everything in between.

The Phantom was designed by creator Lee Falk with a built-in legacy – a history of heroic ancestors all bearing the same name and this unique nature is what allows this annual to fit together so well. Each writer is able to play to their strengths or desires in terms of characterization and setting without contradicting anything running in current continuity. A testament to the skills of these three writers is also the fact that each short story in this collection is complete in and of itself. In the course of these complete tales, however, none of the writers skimp on the action, drama, or characterization.

In addition, the unique pencils of five different artists emphasize the five writers’ unique voices. Rueben Procopio, Allan Goldman, Graham Nolan, Rafael Nieves, and Juan Ferreyra have contributed their own visions to the stories. Some of these artists are well known and beloved to Phantom fans and that is an added bonus. Each man’s style is very different from the others, ranging from animated and cartoony to dark and realistic. The unique, but interlinked, storytelling chosen for this special plays well to this idea of diversity in art also.

This issue is certainly a must for any fan of the character but it is also actually a very good jumping on point for new readers as well. There is plenty of bang for the buck here – something for everyone in terms of both art and story. If The Phantom Annual were a sampler platter it would be served sizzling hot... grab your copy before it gets cold.

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