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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Phantom Stranger 11 - Tannarak returns

Another Adams cover for Phantom Stranger 11 (Jan/Feb 71), as Conway and Aparo do an entire story without Dr. Thirteen!

You really don't even miss him. This is a strange tale, though, right from the outset. Crazed violence and anger is raging around the world. One of the early scenes of this involves radicals taking over a spaceship, and trying to crash it into Washington DC. I find it really impressive that they could somehow manage to take over the craft, but not really surprised at their failure to use it as a big bomb.

The Phantom Stranger hunts for the source of this violence, and it leads him to Israel. Along the way he befriends an American girl who is moving to Israel. Her brother is already there, helping build a school and such. She talks about how important it is to create peace, but once she arrives her brother gets blown up by an Arab bomber, and she butchers the guy with his own knife. It looks like she dies as the result of a grenade, but her body disappears.

The Phantom Stranger finds a strange cult who dress a bit like ancient Egyptians, but also use a lot of computers and high tech stuff. They are lead by Tannarak, who was saved from the statue crushing in the previous issue by the gods of hate, to work as their operative on Earth. He has been collecting people and drawing power from their hate, which is then channelled out into the world to increase it overall.

The girl has been brought here, but aside from the whole killing-the-guy-who-killed-her-brother thing, is not consumed by hate the way others were. The Phantom Stranger rescues her, and fights off Tannarak and the gods of hate, who seem to control the banks of computers. The girl survives, but her mind is mush by the end, so it's not a great victory. Tannarak appears to die when his entire base explodes, along with the computers, but will return the following year. And not having Dr. Thirteen around to yell at the Phantom Stranger didn't hurt this odd tale one bit.

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