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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Phantom Stranger 10 - Tannarak debuts, and the crocodile

There are three stories in Phantom Stranger 10 (Nov/Dec 70), but none of them, not even the reprint, have anything to do with the great Neal Adams cover.

Gerry Conway joins Aparo for the lead story, which introduces a new villain, Tannarak. He makes a dramatic entrance, approaching a woman at a disco and acting all seductive, then draining her life force and leaving her to collapse dead in front of her friends. Dr. Thirteen is on the scene, and the Phantom Stranger shows up just after the woman in pronounced dead.

They go off after Tannarak, who grabs another woman, and brings her back to his lair. With three stories, none are very long, so there is no time for Dr. Thirteen to tell a tale about how great he is. Instead, we learn that Tannarak is into alchemy, and hunting for the lost love of his childhood. It's not too clear how many years ago that was. He claims to have immortality, thanks to a golden statue he created.

While Dr. Thirteen keeps barking about everything being a hoax, the Stranger confront Tannarak, and brings down the statue on him. They all act as if Tannarak is dead, although no body is shown, and he comes back in the next issue.

Conway and Aparo also contribute a short tale, narrated by the Stranger, which is both fun and gruesome. A harried man responds to an ad and buys a plastic crocodile in order to murder his wife. The crocodile comes to life when put into water, like their swimming pool.

His plan works, and he goes on with his life. Later, while throwing a party, his friends find the crocodile and inflate it, leaving it in the pool. So the guy winds up dying the same way. Oh, the irony.

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