The Phantom #21
“Checkmate” part 1
WRITER: Mike Bullock
ARTIST: Silvestre Szilagyi
COVER ART: Bret Blevins & Terry Austin
COLORIST: Bob Pedroza
LETTERER: Nate Pride
EDITOR: Joe Gentile
Ali Gutaale is paroled thanks to a lawyer that is part of (or working for) the Singh Brotherhood.) Their plan is to get Him also released from prison and bring down Luaga’s administration. It starts when the UN plane Diana is on is blown up by Gutaale’s supporters, working with Him’s ex-lover Anna Bacia. As the Phantom and his children morn, Gutaale appears on TV demanding Him’s release and spreading lies about Luaga and Diana. This is not going to be pretty.
What they got right: The idea of the Phantom’s enemies joining forces is one that’s a long time coming, unless it’s happened in the comic strips. The Singh plus enemies the Phantom has made during the Moonstone run will be the greatest threat the Phantom has ever dealt with.
What they got wrong: A fake-out Diana death again? Didn’t we do that already the first time Gutaale showed up?
Other notes: This is the last story arc I have to review before I’m finally caught up on Phantom comics. From issue #26 on I’ve already reviewed the Moonstone run as part of This Week’s Reviews, when I did comic reviews weekly, as well as the daily version of Today’s Comics. There are some prose stories I can tap for Scanning My Collection but this will complete my Phantom comics so I can move on to the next comic as I continue to sort out my oversized comic collection. It’s actually a good story to go out on.
Recommendation: It’s also a good story to start in on. There’s just enough continuity that you’ll want to check through the previous comics, which I highly recommend anyway, but thus far not so much that you can’t follow events. Hopefully that continues through the series. They just need to explain who Him is to get new readers up to speed.