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Friday, 28 April 2017

Phantom Stranger 7 - the kiss of death

Phantom Stranger 7 (May/June 1970) is the first issue with art by Jim Aparo. He would quickly grow into one of the major artists for the character, but the Kanigher story in this issue is not a great one. Dr. Thirteen is the man pictured on the Neal Adams cover, although it's all but impossible to tell that until you read the story.

Those kids are back again. They open the story by trying to find a boat to take them out to an island, and Vulcan's Castle, but no one will go. They find a small sailboat, but Tala brings up a storm as they sail out. They get rescued by Dr. Thirteen, who is also heading to the castle.

The daughter of the man who bought the castle believes herself under a curse, and tries to kill herself. Phantom Stranger swoops in out of nowhere to save her. Then, annoyingly, we are back to the characters telling stories to prove their point of view is correct.

Dr. Thirteen's story is about a man dressed up as a glowing skeleton to get vengeance on those who he feels wronged him.

Then the Phantom Stranger talks about a haunted ship, and how he saved the crew. Aparo adds a nice touch to this, making Tala the wooden figurehead of the ship.

Then we finally get back into the story. The daughter had rejected a man, who then died, and placed a curse on her, that any man she loved would die. Over the years since, she had fallen in love with three guys, and each died before their wedding.

The conclusion of the story gets just preposterous, with the supposedly dead jilted man not dead, but in suspended animation in his coffin. For years? Tala shows up, for no real reason. At least with Aparo the story looks decent, but again it is far from my favourite.

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