Overview

The Phantom: Legacy

Review

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The Phantom: Legacy

Credits

  • Words: Ben Raab
  • Art: Pat Quinn
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Art Lyon
  • Story Title: Legacy
  • Publisher: Moonstone Books
  • Price: $12.95

Read the first chronicle of the original Phantom! What circumstances could possibly push the young Christopher Standish take up the persona of the Ghost Who Walks?

In the mid 16th century, the young Christopher Standish and his father sail towards Siam in search of commercial opportunities. What they find instead is piracy, greed, murder and misery. Their ship is attacked by the dread Singh Pirates and Christopher’s father is murdered. Lost in the open water, young Christopher is left for dead until he washes up on a distant and mysterious shore inhabited by Pygmies – the land of Bangalla!

The Phantom’s origin story is unlike many other costumed heroes. He is not blessed with super-powers or gadgets. In fact the one supernatural ability he is credited with, that he cannot die, is an illusion. He is in fact, simply a family heirloom of sorts. Having said that, his origin story is like that of many other heroes in that his mission is borne out of tragedy and the thirst for revenge. Similarly, his story is similar to those of the mysterious visitor who inadvertently fulfils the ancient prophecy of the land he stumbles onto.

Ben Raab has taken the unusual step of writing a comic that is not a comic. It is in fact only sparsely illustrated. The format of the book is of an entry from the Phantom chronicles, the first entry for that matter. This is the founding myth of the Phantom mythos and Raab has retold it with the respect it deserves. Unfortunately, it is not that accessible. The writing is a spidery calligraphy and is phrased in an attempt at period realism. The end result is that the book is difficult to read and the story does not flow at all.

The art or what there is of it is patchy. While some of the images resonate quite powerfully, others are almost completely ruined by the attempt to make them look as if they are printed on parchment. It was an interesting idea but not one that completely works. It is common knowledge that images printed on parchment hundreds of years ago are going to look faded and scratchy but why would a comic fan want to buy a whole book of it? Certainly the calligraphy is much nicer to look at and some of the pages do exude a certain drama and gravity.

On the whole, I would call Legacy an admirable failure. It is a good attempt to establish the Phantom mythos as it impacts on the current Moonstone series. It just fails to be a thrilling enough story to read on its own.

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