The Phantom #16
WRITER: Mike Bullock
ARTIST: Silvestre Szilagyi
COLORIST: Bob Pedroza
COVER ART: Bret Blevins & Terry Austin
LETTERER: Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Joe Gentile
A woman descended from a hunter who aided the Phantom in 1856 has come to the jungle because she’s against the family’s legacy of hunting after a traumatic experience from her childhood. Now she wants to help the children of Africa but not trusting charity groups came in person. One night a woman brings in her son, who escaped a warlord who calls himself “Him” and claims to be a descendant of Jesus reclaiming the people one child at a time. In actuality he is turning children into his new army. She seeks help but finds Him’s men, looking for a white woman for some reason, but when his men discover she bears the Good Mark, they panic and kill their agent while the woman runs. Eventually she comes across the Phantom, who gets her to safety and promises to take Him down.
Look, the story is good and so is the art, but this is a really important issue in the Moonstone run. It’s the debut of the warlord “Him”, who would be a recurring villain throughout Mike Bullock’s run on the character. This is some of that “based on real events” stuff I mentioned in a previous review. Around this time (and for all I know it’s still going on) in Africa there were warlords kidnapping children and forcing or brainwashing boys into being his soldiers. I don’t remember what happened to the girls or if they were also being kidnapped and I’m not sure I want to know. “Him” runs his group like a cult, and he will be a constant thorn in the Phantom’s side during this series from here out.
And that’s why I recommend picking up this issue if you’re interested in the Moonstone version of the Phantom. It’s rather important to upcoming events. There’s also this issues “Behind The Mask”, discussing the brief history of the Good Mark, which is important to this issue. Plus it’s a good story.