THE PHANTOM STRANGER may be one of my favorite DC books that I refuse to admit is my favorite. Confused? I wouldn't call it a "guilty pleasure" because this isn't a bad book by any means, so I don't feel guilty about enjoying it. We finally get to see some Spectre in this issue, and he and Stranger go head to head and then end up meeting the creator of everything or God (whatever you want to call it) and this creator has a fondness for Scottish Terriers.
Spectre gets a big of a redesign here. Not too much is changed, but now he has black pants and some metal abdomen protector thingy. I don't know what it's for, maybe people are trying to shank him, but it looks pretty darn cool. I like how the character was handled here as well. Sure, he comes off as a bit of a whiny brat, but it's completely fitting for the situation he's in. He's been confronted with the man who made Corrigan into the Spectre, so of course, he's going to be quite emotional. This issue gives new readers a glimpse into just how powerful The Spectre is. He's on another level. He's not just some guy in a cape. He can bend reality.
This issue also has quite a bit of The Question in it. As I've said in the past, these characters are all a tad foreign to me (Not so much The Spectre), so I have a bit of the new reader mentality when I see these characters. I don't really know what The Question was like prior to this book except when Renee Montoya was working under that guise, but I really enjoy what I read with this character here. Yes, it is a tad cheesy that The Question only speaks in questions, but that's also one of the charms about the character, much like how Etrigan rhymes all the time. We're seeing more players in the upcoming Trinity War, and frankly, I'm getting excited.
By the end of the issue when we meet the creator of all, god, whatever, it says what we're all thinking, "quit acting like a bunch of spoiled brats with awesome powers." Up until that point, I was getting a tad annoyed with some of this fighting, simply because it felt childish. This puppy put everything into perspective for the characters. It's a really cool moment, and I love the fact this god has an awesome sense of humor. Dan Didio and J.M. Demateis have put together a great story here with a sense of fun.
I've said it in the past few (in fact, every month I say this) issues, but I really enjoy the clash of classic and contemporary with this art team. Brent Anderson, Philip Tan, and Rob Hunter work together incredibly well to create this unique, yet comforting and classic, art style.
I know it's in the back of EVERY DC book this week, but I really like the Channel 52 news, mainly because Ambush Bug and Calendar Man are finally apart of the New 52.
My main complaint, which has been a consistent complaint about this series is that, at times, the dialogue can get pretty cheesy. There's a scene where Spectre eats Phantom Stranger and moments later, it's revealed that the Stranger is still alive. Spectre, shocked, says "What...? Impossible! I devoured you! Erased you from existence!" The dialogue between the two is heavy while they're fighting, which is one of my least favorite things about comics during the 90s, but at least they're not explaining their powers while they're fighting.
I love this book. Sadly, I keep forgetting to put it on my Top of the Pile list every month, but it's one of my favorite reads. It's a book I get excited about because I know it's an aspect of the DCU I've never known too much about and I feel like I'm on the same page with the rest of the DC fanbase.
This was probably one of my favorite issues from this series, thus far. I love the Spectre, and even though he's not the Spectre I am used to, I still really like the character. I love the story and art, and I always like talking dogs... Well, almost always. Overall, I'm a big fan of this book, and I recommend it.