The Phantom #22
“Checkmate” part 2
WRITER: Mike Bullock
PENCILER: Silvestre Szilagyi
INKER: Tomas Coggiola
SELECTED COVER ART: Eric J. & Bob Pedroza
COLORIST: Bob Pedroza
LETTERER: Nate Pride
EDITOR: Joe Gentile
As more of the Phantom’s enemies come into the plot, the Phantom searches for Ali. Things are getting worse as the Bangalla government has to decide whether or not to track down Him’s remaining followers in Uganda. Ali meets with those same followers and forges an alliance with Anna Bacia and her new lover, Manuel Ortega, now sporting the skull mask we last saw him wearing when talking to Temur Singh in an earlier issue. Meanwhile the Phantom finds Ali’s hideout and move in…and finds a surprise inside.
The “Behind The Mask” feature discusses the rare occasions when we’ve seen the Phantom’s face. Oddly it doesn’t mention Phantom 2040, where that Kit Walker maintained a more traditional secret identity and often had his mask down in his civilian identity.
What they got right: Things are really getting interesting. The kids reaction makes sense. Even though this is a jumping on point, it seems more inclined to convince new readers to find the old issues (including captions referring to those issues) but still tells enough to enjoy this story. That’s how you handle a long continuity while drawing a new crowd in.
What they got wrong: But then there’s Anna. While there is an attempt to tie her to previous stories via prophecy thus far she hasn’t done much in this story and is debuting here as Him’s former lover, now involved with Ortega, the guy who was hunting tigers. Was she really needed for this story?
Recommendation: This is still a really good story. You should really check it out.