The Phantom Stranger climbs the stairs to Heaven in order to try and save his family, whom were killed by the Sin Eater. The Stranger must make a difficult choice.
I love this book. It's so weird and different, when you compare it to everything else that DC has out. This isn't a super-hero book. It's a book about a man atoning for his sins, over the course of centuries. He just happens to have super-human powers. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but as a comic book fan, and a DC fan moreso, it's very refreshing.
This issue, in particular, focuses on Stranger trying to find his family in Heaven. Well, technically, it's the Sin Eater's family, but the Stranger killed him and took over his life. You're really rooting for this guy here. He's spent so much time alone, and now that he finally has people in his life, they've been taken away. His life is a repeating tragedy.
The Stranger is allowed to bring one soul back with him from Heaven. Obviously, he's looking for his wife and two children, so the question arises, "who will he choose?" The scenes with his family are incredibly touching and moving. Since J.M. Dematteis completely took over this book as the writer, he's turned this fun dark book into something truly fantastic.
I love this version of The Question. He's villainous. He has his own motives. We only see him for a quick moment, but he's very intimidating.
If this is your first issue of PHANTOM STRANGER, you're probably going to hate it. The past few issues have been building up to everything that happens in here, and if you've never read this book before, you're going to be completely lost and probably incredibly bored with what's going on. This particular issue speaks best to those who have been following the series.
While it's really not a new reader friendly book, regular readers of THE PHANTOM STRANGER should love this issue. It's an emotionally heavy issue for the Stranger. He has to make a tough decision by the end of the issue which may or may not change the character in the future drastically. Artist Fernando Blanco and writer J.M. Dematteis are doing a phenomenal job on this series. I, for one, can't wait for the Trinity War and to see where Phantom Stranger goes next.
Overall, I highly recommend this issue.