The Phantom: The Hunt
WRITER: Ben Raab
ARTIST: Lou Manna
COLORIST: Matt Webb
COVER ART: Joel Naprstek
LETTERER: Terri Boyle
EDITOR: Joe Gentile
While hunting a group of thieves, the Phantom is injured, washing up on an island while the Jungle Patrol and Coast Guard find the ship destroyed. The Phantom wakes up to a doctor’s care, but the man behind his rescue is the grandson of an old enemy of the Phantom who seeks revenge. He also has been capturing ships crews, like the thieves, and using them as part of a human hunt. The doctor has been forced to help him, and the Phantom gets her to help, only for her to be dragged into the hunt. While she is killed radioing for help the Phantom confronts the hunter just as the Coast Guard arrives and the Phantom has to save them from the torpedo, sending it back at the hunter’s lair and blowing it, and possibly him, right up.
What they got right: There are so many takes on the short story by Richard Connell, The Most Dangerous Game, that it’s hard to have a fresh one, so you have to settle for a good one and do as much of your own take as you can. This story does this, so points to Raab. The art team also does a good job making the fights and atmosphere look good.
What they got wrong: Too many of these stories take time to outright admit they’re using The Most Dangerous Game as their own plot (interestingly not the stories for kids, and yes kids superhero shows have done the same thing), basically admitting they’re ripping off a famous tale. Sadly this story is one of them. I read the story in high school, and so have a lot of other people. We get the reference without you pointing out, or if you do at least do so subtly, like having the book on the shelves, or the phrase slipping without actually referencing the story. Otherwise you’re shouting “we’re ripping off this famous tale” and that’s terrible foreshadowing.
Recommendation: This is a good take on the story using the Phantom (although I’m betting not the only time a writer has told this tale with the Ghost Who Walks) and worth checking out if you come across it.