Phantom Volume 4: The Hunt
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Press:Diamond Comic Distributors Moonstone (March 30, 2003)
Author Name:Raab, Ben/ Mana, Lou (ILT)/ Naprstek, Joel (ILT)
Phantom: The Hunt: The Phantom follows the trail of jewel-thieving pirates into a most dangerous adventure.
An old foe comes forth to put EVERY skill The Phantom has to the test.
Trapped on a Madman's island, the chance of his survival looks as slim as Satan's smile! He must fight sharks with his hands and feet- he must gain the trust of a beautiful woman- and he must prevail through all of this to an EXPLOSIVE conclusion that will leave you breathless!
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- Lee Falk (Leon Harrison Gross: 1911–99) created "The Phantom" in 1936 and Falk’s character was a direct influence in the creation of "The Batman", which appeared in print 1939. In the eighty years since, the character has been featured in comic strips, comic books, movies, radio programs, etc. The tradition continues with the Moonstone series of graphic novels. My dad was a fan of the Phantom and I got these novellas for him, and now that he's gone, I’m reading, off and on, a lot of the stuff that he’s left behind. And so we’re back, back with the fourth installment of Moonstone's version of the Phantom, and with "The Hunt" Moonstone's original Phantom scribe is also back, and was he worth waiting for? Well, we’ll see . . . But first, the Phantom is back in the thick of things as he interrupts a ring of jewel/treasure smugglers on the tramp ship El Cordobes, and a brutal fight breaks out, with the end result of the Phantom being shot and going overboard during a raging storm. The bad guys go on their way, and after fighting some sharks, mostly off stage, the Phantom ends up drifting ashore on the private island of Sir Damon Danforth the third, who is accompanied everywhere by his huge thuggish manservant Boris. First of all, the Phantom's bullet wound is bandaged and he is taken care of by the beautiful Dr. Paige Alexander. As he meets his host and is shown about the estate he learns that he, and Paige, are prisoners, and that Danforth is a jaded big game hunter who now specializes in the ultimate hunt, man. And the Phantom's given no choice, and to save her life, he has to take off into the jungle surrounding Danforth's mansion with the Doctor as they are now the hunted. Meanwhile, help is on the way as the Coast Guard of Bangalla which has received some coordinates to help save the Phantom, and they have gotten these while finding the wreckage of El Cordobes, which has mysteriously been destroyed. For all intents and purposes then the story will go by the same formula as the story "The Most Dangerous Game", as story which is actually referenced in the story. So, there’s really no reason to go on, as I'm sure you’ll guess how the story will end. The Phantom was always at his best when he was in a jungle, and so he is pretty good here in Danforth's jungle estate as he has to fight for his life against two madmen, save Paige, and still resolve not to kill. And at this Raab's story does very well, but what fails is that the "The Most Dangerous Game"'s story is just so unoriginal, and which has been used hundreds of times in stories, novels, movies, comics, etc., with Raab not really doing anything new with the idea. In fact, as the story ends we are left with a couple of plot holes worth mentioning. Why did Danforth destroy the El Cordobes? What happened to the other captives in Danforth’s home? And how did the Phantom get away from the sharks? And the ending is more James Bond than Phantom, exciting yes, but unbelievable in context. On-the-other-hand I liked Lou Manna’s artwork. Yes, it's rather cartoony and amateurish, but you can see him trying, and his figures are a lot more naturistic than Fernando Blanco's from the first couple of comics as Blanco's character's always seemed to be posing. These Phantom graphic novels always seemed to imitating those great Dell/Gold Key comics from the sixties, and Manna's art seems to catch the spirit of those comics as well. His rendition of the Phantom and Paige are standouts. I have had nothing but praise for Joel Naprstek's covers in the past. True, they weren’t always exactly representative of the comic's contents, but they were true to spirit of the books that they graced. Unfortunately, the cover for "The Hunt" just doesn't do it for me. The Phantom's right arm looks totally deformed, and, jeez, what a honker he has this time. He looks more like Mike Mazurki (look him up) than the Phantom. So, this comic gets three stars because of the art, the coloring, which is bright and well done, and for the character of Paige Alexander. The rest? Eh! This review is dedicated to my father George Louis Baumgart, Jr., who would have been much more forgiving than I am of this comic's faults. For this site I have read and reviewed these other comics:All Select Comics #1 70th Anniversary Specialedited by Alejandro Arbona.Catwoman #25: October 1995: The Crooked Houseby Chuck Dixon.The Lone Wolf : The Dogs have Put on Weightby Dan Jolley.Phantom #2: Singh Webby Ben Raab & Fernando Blanco.Phantom #1: Ghost Killerby Ben Raab & Fernando Blanco.Phantom #3: Treasures Of Bangallaby Ron Goulart.Phantom #4: The Huntby Ben Raab & Lou Manna.Ragman Suit Of Souls #1by Christos N. Gage & Stephen Segovia.Tomb of Terror #1edited by Jody Leheup.
- Before Moonstone Books started this terrific series of trade paperbacks (that lead to an increasingly impressive series of comics), Phantom fans had to buy books from Australia and India. This is part four of the beginning of one of the best comic book runs featuring Lee Falk's "The Ghost Who Walks." Essentially out of print, these collector's items should be bought by "phans" whenever they show up on Amazon. Good writing by Ben Raab and action-packed art by Lou Manna. This is one of two stories not included in Moonstone's "The Ghost Who Walks" collection.
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