Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Phantom Stranger #42

“Deadman Walking”

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Penciller: Ardian Syaf

Inker: Vicente Cifuentes

Editor: Adam Schlagman


The Phantom Stranger and Blue Devil battle the Black Lantern Spectre, only to learn that their efforts are required elsewhere. They travel to Nanda Parbat, where they aid Deadman against a horde of Black Lanterns that wish to destroy the hidden city, and must rescue Boston Brand’s undead corpse so that it may fulfill its secret destiny…


Page 1: The Phantom Stranger (second series) ran from issue #1 in 1969 until issue #41 in 1976.

The events of this issue take place immediately after the events of Blackest Night #2 pages 14-15.

The Phantom Stranger, real name unrevealed. First appeared in The Phantom Stranger (first series) #1. Last appeared in Blackest Night #2. Possesses vast supernatural abilities, most of which have yet to be catalogued.

The “Elysian Fields” are the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and virtuous in Greek mythology.

“Pandemonium” is the capital of Hell as depicted in John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost.

Page 2: The Spectre III, real name Crispus Allen. Allen first appeared in Detective Comics #742. He was killed by Jim Corrigan in Gotham Central #38, and revived to serve as the host of the Spectre in Infinite Crisis #4. Last appeared in Blackest Night #2. A Spirit of Vengeance able to project fear, cast illusions, see the future, teleport, turn invisible, cast magic…he’s pretty darn powerful, okay?

In Blackest Night #2, Black Hand used a Black Lantern power ring to raise Crispus Allen and transform him into a Black Lantern thereby trapping the Spectre inside its host. Hence the large, rampaging Black Lantern Spectre.

Blue Devil, real name Dan Cassidy. First appeared in The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #24. Was killed in Starman (second series) #38. Returned to life in Day of Judgment #4. Last appeared in Blackest Night #2. A demon with superhuman strength, durability and senses armed with the Trident of Lucifer, which can banish demons back to Hell.

Page 3: “Seems Ragman, Shadowpact and the other Sentinels of Magic are taking their sweet-ass time getting here!” There are all other mystical heroes in the DC Universe who are, presumably, busy dealing with other Black Lanterns.

“Your idea of sending Zatanna off to get the JLA isn’t looking too good right about now, Stranger!” After the events in Blackest Night #2, Zatanna teleported to the Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island to recruit the fragments of the JLA, as seen in Justice League of America (second series) #38. In Justice League of America (second series) #39-40, Zatanna and the League went to the Hall of Justice, where they battled Black Lanterns Steel, Vibe, Doctor Light and Zatara.

Page 5: “How about a little fire, Scarecrow?!” A line from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, spoken by the Wicked Witch of the West to the Scarecrow as she tries to set him on fire.

Page 6: That’s the real Spectre, trying to break free from the Black Lantern Spectre’s confines.

Page 7: Well, the Spectre tried, you have to give him points for that…

Page 9: “Ah, there you are. I see you.” Black Lantern Spectre has a real mad-on to attack Hal Jordan. Judging by the emerald gleam in his eye, he seems to have found him.

Page 10: “Hal Jordan must face judgment!” Well, that can’t end well…

Hal Jordan’s battle against the Black Lantern Spectre is depicted in Green Lantern (fourth series) #50-51

Blue Devil: Yeah…we’re still alive.

Phantom Stranger: Speak for yourself, Devil.

Is the Phantom Stranger giving some insight as to his true origins here? Or just cracking jokes? Because he’s not known for doing either of those two things.

Page 11: In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, that grave belonged to Boston Brand, the former circus aerialist-turned-ghost known as Deadman. His corpse rose as a Black Lantern in Blackest Night #2 and Blackest Night: Batman #1.

Left behind in Brand’s coffin are his “touchstones” or “totems”: an old circus poster, a trapeze bar and his “Deadman” mask.

Page 12: “My definition of ‘interfering’ is quite subjective, as is my choice of being proactive during the course of my, shall we say, travels.” The Phantom Stranger usually acts as an impartial observer of events, but he quite often becomes an active participant in saving the world, especially during times of great crisis.

Pages 14-15: Deadman, real name Boston Brand. First appeared in Strange Adventures #205. Last appeared in Blackest Night: Batman #3. He’s an invisible and intangible ghost who can instantly possess the body of any sentient being.

Deadman’s appearance in this story takes place before he finds Ray Palmer and Mera in a Black Lantern power ring as seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #49.

As seen in Teen Titans (third series) #78, Black Lanterns can destroy one another, which is why Deadman, occupying the body of a Black Lantern, can kill another Black Lantern.

Nanda Parbat is a hidden city nestled high in the mountains of Tibet. Watched over by the goddess Rama Kushna and her monks, it is said to be a place of enlightenment and healing. Rama Kushna is best known for transforming Boston Brand into Deadman.

Page 17: As Deadman enters the Phantom Stranger, he sees past events of the Stranger’s life, and what could be his possible origins. Seen here, from left to right, are the Stranger as the Wandering Jew, as a citizen condemned by an angel to walk the world forever, and as a fallen angel who didn’t side with either Heaven or Hell in the rebellion. These conflicting origin stories were told in Secret Origins #10.

Page 18: “You have seen everything and you have seen nothing!” Way to be vague and obtuse, Stranger.

Page 19: Black Lantern Deadman last appeared in Blackest Night: Batman #1.

Page 20: “Awaiting the moment it is destined for.” Apparently, Boston Brand’s corpse has a greater destiny in Nanda Parbat; presumably, this has something to do with defeating the threat of the Black Lanterns.

Page 21: The Black Lantern power ring can’t penetrate the invisible barrier that surrounds Nanda Parbat.

Page 22: In Nanda Parbat, Deadman regains his physical form and can interact with the living.

Taj-Ze is the sword-wielding guardian of Nanda Parbat.

Page 23: “The body of Boston Brand is of singular importance, gatekeeper.” After all this build-up, in Brand’s body isn’t important to the conclusion of Blackest Night, I’m going to cry fowl…

“Chunky Monkey” and “Cherry Garcia” are two flavors of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

“Yeah, that something to do with the white light ain’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of stopping Nekron.” As we saw in Blackest Night #5. Thanks for letting us know that now, Deadman…