The Phantom vol. 2 #30
Charlton Comics (February, 1969)
There are four stories in this comic, only two of which features the Ghost Who Walks, and none of which have credits. So let’s go right into the reviews.
The Phantom: “The Secret Of The Golden Ransom”
We begin with a tale from the 19th Phantom (we’re forever stuck on the 21st despite the history of the Phantom line…I’ve complained about this before), which of course means we’ll actually be looking at the Phantom’s sister, Julie, who would substitute for her brother in certain situations. The Witch Of The Dark Cliffs claims to have the Phantom and wants a gold ransom. As she goes to rescue him in her own Phantom garb, she comes across Pirana, a pirate the Phantom is chasing. After learning Julie isn’t the real Phantom and becoming smitten with her, he decides against stealing the gold she’s carrying but wants a different kind of “gold”, a lock of her hair. (Yeah, that’s not creepy.) He also saves her from a trap, which the real Phantom ends up repaying after Pete is in his own spot of trouble. I don’t think Julie gets a good showing here. She’s easily overcome and unmasked by Pete, but he turns out to be a decent guy (or just has the hots for Julie and gratitude to the Phantom) and leaves Bengali. It’s not a bad story otherwise.
“Vengeance Of The Great Clock”
It’s odd that a comic about a jungle superhero features horror stories of the Twilight Zone variety, but here’s the first of two. A rich collector of antiques sees an old clock and wants it, but the owner refuses as it’s been in his family for generations. So he steals it (but does leave money behind…still stealing), and learns that the clock can predict when people are going to die. Then one day it predicts his death, and it comes true. I don’t think the story had to include our collector being descended from a great Northern general of the Civil War, or the clock having belonged to a general from the South, but they got a decent creepy story. I don’t really care for those, and we have another coming up, but it’s a good story.
The Phantom’s Journal: “The Mighty Elephant”
This is less a prose story and more the uncredited writer using the Phantom as an excuse to give facts about elephants. During the night the Phantom sees a group of elephants traveling to their next resting spot for the day, and the rest is the Phantom writing down information about the lifestyle and other facts about elephants. If it’s all accurate it’s a good piece. I’m guessing this was to appease parent groups or something but there’s nothing wrong with educating the kiddies in a way that they will find interesting.
“The Siren’s Secret”
Captain Manny named his fishing boat the Odyssey, so when a Siren appears to be luring his ship and his men to their death he’s sure the name has cursed them, but she may have actually been leading them to safe harbor ahead of an oncoming thunderstorm. I like this one. It takes what you think would happen given the names involved and goes in the opposite direction. I guess not all Sirens are evil after all.
The Phantom: “The Living Legend”
In our final story a boy who left the Wambesi village to see the outside world comes home having grown up, raised by the steamer captain who found him stowing away and sending him to college, returns. He wants to teach his people much, but he doesn’t think they can learn if they hold on to the superstition of the Ghost Who Walks. His beliefs are put to the test when the Phantom must stop a rogue elephant, a nice connection to the educational bit earlier. It’s okay. Not great, but the goal was to show that college can’t teach you everything when you deal with the Man Who Cannot Die.
Overall this was a decent comic. The last story was at least entertaining and the second story was good if not to my tastes. The first Phantom story could have been a better showing for Julie, like other stories I’ve read about her, but it also entertained. However, unless you’re just a big Phantom fan (and I am) it’s not really worth tracking down.