Phantom Stranger 13
J. M. DeMatteis, Fernando Blanco
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This is one of those titles that, much to my excitement, has been slowly but surely growing in both popularity and picking up steam. Making the decision to bring on writer J. M. DeMatteis for such a complex character was the first of a series of well-executed steps by DC. The second was tying the title of a somewhat obscure and arguably nearly impossible to market character into major events (first Trinity War and now Forever Evil). And the third was finding a great artist in Fernando Blanco, who really seems to work well with this series and sticking with him. All three of these things, plus the whole “I never thought I’d say this” factor, combine to make this a solid and enjoyable read each and every month. I am not ashamed to admit that it is one of my favorite books from DC Comics.
The story continues right where we left off, with the Sin-Eater destroying the Phantom Stranger’s home. We also find out, after the angel Zauriel (who is becoming a lot more complex than I thought he would) returns, that the Sin-Eater is a man of many mysteries. As it turns out, he actually buried the Stranger’s family, because he thought killing them was “saving them.” Strange, but adds a much-needed twist to his character, making him something more than just “pure evil” bad guy material. Then we get the fight we’ve been waiting for: The Question VS the Phantom Stranger. And, after they beat on each other a bit (and Zauriel breaks it up and reclaims the Spear of Destiny for himself), and we find out that the reason the Question killed the Phantom Stranger is simple: He’s mad that he can’t remember his past. But the Stranger points out a flaw in his logic (in his opinion): he’s lucky. The Stranger remembers his past life as Judas and the betrayal of Jesus and has spent eternity trying to atone for his past life. The Question needs to just man up and move on before he goes even more insane. And then, right at the peak of their fight, both men disappear, only to find themselves shackled yet again at the now abandoned Rock of Eternity, alongside fellow Trinity of Sin member, Pandora, being forced into yet another fight. This time, joining alongside Constantine, Nightmare Nurse, and Swamp Thing.
This is leading directly into the Blight series-within-a-series crossover event-within-an-event. That’s right, Forever Evil has far-reaching limbs and will extend to not just the superheroes and super-villains of the DC Universe, but also the holy and the unholy. The magical and the supernatural. And I, for one, cannot wait to see where this goes next. I’ve loved the magic characters for a long time and I feel that they were vastly improved upon after DC’s reboot. Putting them back into the DC Universe proper and actually being forced to not only use them, but make them work rationally, was a stroke of genius. I can’t wait to see what DeMatteis and the others come up with next as this new unofficial team or unholy alliance or whatever you want to call it are forced to work together and destroy all things evil. Count me in.
My Rating: 4/5