I can’t really argue with those who say “never judge a book by it’s cover”. However, if you read the description on the back, and you know it’s not to your taste, there’s no sense in buying it, especially if your on a tight budget. Sometimes, however, the cover tells you just what you want to know. At least if the cover is doing it’s job. Most novels don’t do that with the cover art, and sadly, comics are following suit.
But if this is the cover…
…and your me, you already know to run from this comic. And this is the re-imagined Phantom fans have waited a year for.
Suddenly the SyFy offering coming out the 20th of this month doesn’t look so bad. No, actually, it still does.
Dynamite Entertainment had actually gotten the Phantom license in 2008, but due to some communication errors Moonstone also received their renewal. Dynamite stepped aside and let Moonstone put out some great Phantom comics. I’ve been enjoying their run. Now Dynamite is ready to break out their Ghost Who Walks. A dude soaking in blood.
Actually, in an article in Comic Shop News, that’s supposed to be berry juice. Yeah, berry juice. This is a re-imagining (this won’t end well), much like the SyFy version coming out this month. Alex Ross and Scott Beatty have been developing this for while, perhaps as long as dual licensing mishap in 2008. Ross is famous for Kingdom Come, a much beloved DC storyline that is or isn’t canon depending on someone’s mood that week. He also was the art director and driving force for Top Cow’s version of Battle of the Planets which outside of the lack of Zark was rather faithful to the Sandy Frank version with a few elements of the original anime sneaking in. Scott Beatty, who I’ve been praising for his version of Buck Rogers for Dynamite despite the dystopian future, is on writing chores. So these are some good credentials.
Then how are they screwing this up? Let’s take a look. From the CSN article:
The Phantom may be dismissed too often because of the garishness of his immediate image, despite how many of us love the classic look. I had always thought about the practicality of wearing such a hot, cumbersome costume. The simple graphic of him instead drenched in a berry juice of some sort, matching much of his classic look, would then also affect the context of how he chose to do that.
Funny how there seems to be such a big push to remake the Phantom’s classic look. SyFy has a foam rubber hoodie and Ross had berry juice. And yet, I must really be out of the loop, because I’ve yet to hear that big a deal made out of the purple jumpsuit. Why would he even need to cover himself in juice? What does it offer? And who’s to say that the costume doesn’t have some kind of ventilation to it? I don’t think this is going to make these supposed critics of the classic outfit do anything more than laugh. This is, of course, considering they don’t agree with me that it looks like blood, face paint, and a loincloth that Tarzan wouldn’t be caught dead in.
Moonstone kept the classic outfit. The theatrical movie and serial kept the classic outfit. Both of his animated appearances (Defenders of the Earth and Phantom: 2040) updated the outfit while keeping it traditional–and not stupid looking. Why can’t Ross and SyFy keep that tradition?
Speaking of both SyFy and 2040, wait until you read the plot of this series. This comes from Newsarama, so you can read the full article there.
As we begin the series, there is no Phantom. The historic line stops at Kit Walker the 21st, who has forsaken the mantle of The Ghost Who Walks and is enjoying a life with a growing family, while handling the day-to-day affairs of the Walkabout Foundation, a philanthropy created by one of the previous Walkers/Phantoms to help support charities benefiting Bengala, and the surrounding nations of continental Africa. The Walkabout Foundation was funded initially by pirate treasure from the very first Phantom’s origins. The organization is symbolic of every young Walker’s world-spanning journey from the Skull Cave to the “outside world,” becoming educated and awaiting his destiny to one day take up the costume and crusade of the Phantom. Except that this Kit refused to take up the domino mask, rings, and Colt .45s of his father upon Kit Sr.’s death.
Does every writer now have to write this story? In Phantom: 2040, Heloise kept her nephew from learning about the Phantom legacy after loosing her brother, but Guran insisted on introducing Kit to his father’s world to take the fight to Maximum, Inc. (Your typical evil corporation run by a madwoman.) In the upcoming SyFy movie, the next Kit is kept out of the line to protect him, and is also never told about his history or taught the Phantom’s ways. Here we have the next generation going into the real world, but deciding not to return when his father dies. It’s just variations of the same theme, and only 2040, the first ones to do it, knows what they’re doing (or did, as the case may be).
I’ve been asking for a proper update, with the next generation finally taking up the mantle, and creating a new cast for him to work with, despite the fact that the ultimate legacy character was original created to remain around forever. (Scroll down past the review to the mini-commentary at the end.) Now I wish they’d do a good one. I’m really going to miss the Moonstone run, but I don’t see me getting Dynamite’s so long as they go with this re-imagining.