I really enjoyed this issue. I liked it quite a bit more than the zero issue we saw last month. This is something I never thought I'd say, but I very happy that Phantom Stranger has his own on-going book and that it has this creative team behind it. PHANTOM STRANGER mixes contemporary storytelling and page layouts with classic characters and art. It's a bit weird to adjust to, at first, but by the end of the issue, I felt very satisfied with how this turned out.
We get a day in the life of the Phantom Stranger here, as the Stranger searches for a young girl. We also get the New 52 introduction to two DC characters: Trigon and Raven. These characters were handled very well and I like how they were integrated into this book. They seemed to fit right in. Trigon has a great redesign here. There's been a lot of different variations on the character, but I really liked what artist Brent Anderson did here. The character looks tough, and he should look tough.
Brent Anderson does a great job at taking his style of art, along with Phillip Tan, and combining it with modern page layouts. It's a very interesting affect, especially when we see his style mixed on a splash page or these overlapping panels, with no border, all with interesting shots and angles to them. When I say this, I mean this in the nicest way possible, Anderson's art is dated, and it works on this book extremely well. Sure, it may take a moment to get used to because we're so used to a more animated or cartoony look, but it works extremely well.
I've always been interested in this character, but because of years of continuity, I've never really had a chance to enjoy him. Writer Dan Didio does a great job with this issue (as well as zero) at keeping this book fun and new reader friendly. This is a great jump-on point for new readers, even if you missed the zero issue. Although, I still highly recommend reading that for the Phantom Stranger's origin.
The cross-hatching and the inking are a bit rough. It's not something contemporary comic fans are used to. Many younger readers may have a problem with Brent Anderson's style because it does look a tad dated. Personally, it's something I really enjoy about the book.
My biggest complaint is that I'm not sure where we're headed here. We're introduced to a lot of stuff as we walk in the shoes of Phantom Stranger, but what should I be following? I know that seems a of a bit dumb complaint. I also am not too down with Phantom Stranger having a family. The jerk in me wants him to be forever alone.
PHANTOM STRANGER 1 was a ton of fun. I like the mixture of classic and modern comic book style here. This was one of the new wave books I was unsure about, especially since the zero issue was a bit down the middle for me, but I really think this series has legs. Dan Didio does a great job at keeping this issue new reader friendly because although this is Phantom Stranger's first appearance in the new 52 (I'm not counting zero issue for some reason), he's been around for decades. This book does what New 52 books should do, bring in new readers and introduce them to some great comics and characters.
On the downside, the mixture of art styles and storytelling can take some time to get used to. I felt the cross-hatching was a bit much right in the beginning. However, it's something I was fine with by the end of the issue, and lastly, I don't like seeing Phantom Stranger have a family. Yes, that's mean of me.
Overall, I highly recommend Phantom Stranger 1.