The Phantom #4
DC Comics (June, 1989)
“Hate” part 1
WRITER: Mark Verheiden
ARTIST: Luke McDonnell
COLORIST: Anthony Tollin
LETTERER: Bob Pinaha
EDITOR: Robert Greenberger
Of all the monsters the Phantom has ever faced, racism is the one he doesn’t understand. And yet, Diana returns home to Clarksville to visit Kit’s family and her old friend Bobby, a black man who runs the local paper and has been writing hit pieces on a new group that has slowly taken over the town, a bunch of KKK wanna-bes calling themselves The Order. Diana calls for help after they set fire to the newspaper office, because Kit Walker grew up there too. They’ve also attacked his aunt and uncle, who still live there, and the local sheriff is a member. And when the Phantom confronts The Order they use Diana and Bobby as hostages.
What they got right: Who doesn’t want to see the Phantom attack a bunch of racist scumbags? Besides racist scumbags of course but who cares what they want? And there’s no slamming of political opposition, trying to claim one side is racist. They’re simply racists. There is no other agenda than making racists looks like racists with no mischaracterization of, say, Conservatives as racist. I’m a Conservative and I’m not racist. I say this because that’s what a modern writer would do, make someone whose politics they don’t like as evil as possible rather than let the evil people be the evil people with no political agenda.
What they got wrong: The mask is still being drawn to small. How can he see out of that?
Recommendation: I wish I had the next issue but this is the last of the DC issues I own. I would love to see the conclusion but I do recommend this run. Next time we’ll actually be looking at a UK comic before returning to the US for the Marvel run and unless I missed some Moonstone books the end of the Phantom comics.