The Phantom: Valley Of The Golden Men
Moonstone Books (2004)
WRITER: Tom DeFalco
PENCILER: Lou Manna
INKERS: Art Nichols & Terry Pallot
COLORIST: Mike Kowalczyk
COVER ART: Joel Naprstek
LETTERER: Erik Enervold
EDITORS: Joe Gentile & Dave Ulanski
Diana’s plane, carrying small pox vaccine, crashes into the Valley Of The Golden Men, named for the golden-skinned inhabitants who once met the 11th Phantom. The modern Phantom enters the valley but so do thieves hoping to find gold and steal the vaccine. The Phantom must prove himself in a ritual fight, even after being wounded by one of the thieves. He still manages to win and convince the King and his witch doctor to help recover the vaccine.
What they got right: A woman witch doctor? The Golden Men are surprisingly progressive (the good kind). The art is good and the fight well done.
What they got wrong: Why is the villain named Singh? He’s not a member of the Singh Brotherhood that I can tell. For that matter why even have the human villains? They don’t really add anything to the story, which could have just been about the Phantom rescuing his wife and their pilot friend from the Golden Men, the witch doctor wanting confirmation that he is the Phantom. Also the Golden Men are only golden colored on occasion, and look Caucasian with a heavy tan the rest of the time, especially the lady witch doctor.
Recommendation: A decent Phantom story that is worth seeing but not a must-read. This is also the last of the Phantom graphic novels. Next week we begin getting caught up with the ongoing before continuing where I left off.