The Phantom: The Singh Web
WRITER: Ben Raab
ARTIST: Fernando Blanco
COLORISTS: Ken Wolak & Dawn Groszewski
COVER ART: Joel Naprstek
LETTERER: Terri Boyle
EDITORS: Garrett Anderson & Joe Gentile
The year is 1936. A team of archaeologists enter the Deep Woods searching for artifacts and find a mysterious cask crafted by Shaolin monks. Then they are attacked by the Singh Brotherhood, who is stopped by the Phantom. While he can find drawings of the cask in the Chronicles he doesn’t know what it is, so he travels back to New York with them, meeting his old friend Herman J. King, who funded the expedition. While Hassan Singh is after the cask, so is a Shaolin monk, for the box contains the spirit of Kabai Singh. If opened by a pure-blooded member of Kabai’s bloodline the spirit shall be unleashed and Kabai Singh will take back control of the Brotherhood. Although the Phantom and one of the archaeologists, Veronica Roberts fails to stop Hassan from opening the box, it’s at the cost of his life, which might mean he isn’t of true Singh blood after all. Not that it matters because his spirit is either in the afterlife or joining his ancestor in the cask, which is chained up in the monastery.
What they got right: We get the origin told again, which is good since this isn’t the ongoing series yet. (Actually, while trying to find out which generation Phantom this is I found out this was going to be the first one, but The Ghost Killer was finished first so they went with that. This is a better “for those who came in late” and that might be why.) The art was good, the characters were good, and the action was good.
What they got wrong: The fact that I had to try to find out which Phantom this was (and didn’t). The problem with the sliding timeline in a comic strip about the latest generation of a legacy hero comes into play here and while I’m sure this can’t be the current incarnation I can only guess which one he is. The story takes place in 1936, the year the comic strip began, but he can’t possibly be that old in a 2002 story.
Recommendation: An enjoyable tale of the Ghost Who Walks. Give it a read.