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Monday, 1 May 2017

Phantom Stranger 19 - the Ice Giants return, and Dr. Thirteen follows the voice

Phantom Stranger 19 (May/June 1972) is the last of the larger issues, and the Neal Adams cover story brings back Jim Aparo, as well as the Ice Giants, thanks to Len Wein.

This is another one where the Phantom Stranger plays a smaller role, doing his best to advise the characters who are involved in the drama. We are back in the far north, and a drilling crew has set up in the region where the Ice Giants were. A hot beaded environmentalist is also up there, along with his girlfriend, trying to stop the drilling.

The Ice Giants also seem less than pleased with the drilling crew, as they freeze many of them solid. The head of the drilling promises the Phantom Stranger that they will end their operations, but has no intention of doing so.

 He, the environmentalist, and the girlfriend all get pulled down into the land of the Ice Giants when a huge crevasse opens in the ice. We find out that the vibrations from the drilling have been shattering the city of the Ice Giants, who are not at all happy about this.

But we also learn that the environmentalist has been working with them, and happily plotting the deaths of the drillers. He is even willing to sacrifice his own girlfriend. When the entire city collapses, the environmentalist gets killed. The Phantom Stranger rescues the girl, but the story ends on a bitter note as the drilling continues.

Skeates and DeZuniga turn in the Dr. Thirteen story in this issue, in which he and his wife are called to a house to help a man being haunted by the ghostly voice of his dead father, insisting that the son murdered him. All indications are that the father died from natural causes, and the son seems completely innocent anyway.

Dr. Thirteen discovers that he, too, can hear the mysterious voice. He follows it to a radio, and then tries to find the source of the transmission. Terry gets knocked out, but Marie hears the voice as well, and finds that it was the sister and the butler, who just really hate the brother, and have been doing this to torment him. Oddly, Dr. Thirteen is content to just leave the three to continue to make each other miserable, rather than bringing the police into it.

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