After his origin and first official New 52 story in ‘The Phantom Stranger’ #0, this issue amps up the weird side of the DC Universe and brings more depth into the Stranger’s mythology.
It opens on a family in the park. Their son is playing with a soccer ball. When the ball gets out of his control, he chases it and runs into the Stranger. The mysterious figure is there to play witness to the family’s story and to meet with his next vict… er… person that he’s supposed to help.
As the events progress, the Phantom find a girl named Rachel who appears to have the ability to absorb the pain and suffering of other people. Rachel travels around the world, doing her best to help people with her strange power. The Stranger arrives and tells Rachel that he is there to help her get a handle on her powers by taking her to people who can train her. But, before he can do that, Rachel has to escape a small army of demonic entities that are keeping her on the run.
After the main story, we’re given a brief glimpse into the life of the Stranger when he isn’t wandering the world and following the commands of the voice that leads him… and it’s definitely not what I expected him to be doing!
When the FCBD New 52 special and ‘Phantom Stranger’ #0 revealed that the Stranger has a name and an origin in this universe, I wasn’t sure I was going to dig it. However, the further along the story moves, I’m finding myself enthralled with the Strangers plight. DC has gone to lengths to let readers know who he really is while never once actually saying his name and I love that angle. But, the final few pages of this issue toss a twist into the Stranger’s stories that I have never seen before. If you’d warned me that it was going to happen, I would’ve told you that it was a stupid idea but the shock of seeing it with no spoilers gave it a gravity that I absolutely love. Now to see if the writers can keep it going without losing the focus of the story. If they can, this title may jump to the #2 spot in my favorite “horror” titles of the New 52.
THE PHANTOM STRANGER #1
Written by Dan Didio
Art by Brent Anderson and Scott Hanna
Cover by Brent Anderson