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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Phantom Stranger 30 - the children's cult, and Spawn of Frankenstein ends

The best thing about Phantom Stranger 30 (April/May 1974) is that the Spawn of Frankenstein series ends in it.

The Phantom Stranger story, by Drake and Talaoc, is fairly weak. It deals with a cult leader and his army of runaway children, who argues with the city officials that any attempt to stop them impinges on their freedom. Somehow, despite all the legal talk, the fact that children are minors and do not have the same freedom and rights as adults is never raised.

The leader of the cult worships Baal, in painting form, and uses a blind girl to communicate through visions with his god.

The man leads a huge recruitment drive of kids, but the Phantom Stranger shows up to prove to the children that Baal is not as powerful as he is. He drives out the demon controlling the cult leader, who winds up behaving as though he were a child. Apparently he had been under demonic possession since infancy.

Skeates and Baily finish up the Spawn of Frankenstein series as he battles the snake cult leader. The woman he rescued last issue, who is now wearing completely different clothing, despite not having time to change, escapes and brings the police.

Before the cops get there, the Spawn of Frankenstein is tossed into a snake pit and bitten numerous times. He gets hallucinations as a result, but manages to climb out.

The girl thinks the Spawn of Frankenstein was part of the cult, so the police go after him. He throws some snakes at them and runs away "never to return." And indeed, he never did. Bye bye.

The bottom panel on the page announces the Black Orchid, whose series in Adventure Comics had ended a few months earlier, will be the new back-up series. Yay!

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