Sunday, September 2, 2012

Phantom Lady and Doll Man #1

The reintroduction of a Golden Age character and a cover that resembled something published by Image Comics rather than the grittier version of DC's current New 52 piqued my interest enough to pick this one up. It's not exactly what I expected.

Based on the cover and title I was hoping for a somewhat goofy adventure/super-hero comic. What writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti deliver instead is organized crime comic centered around a completely brand new character who steals most of the backstory of the second (and now shelved) version of the Huntress - Helena Bertinelli. Seriously, it's almost the exact same origin including the young girl watching her father die gangster style from the shadows and growing up seeking vigilante justice.

Phantom Lady was originally introduced way back in the Golden Age by Quality Comics in 1941. Over the years there have been several versions of the character including three different characters using the name in the DCU after DC Comics acquired the rights to the character in 1956.

Despite taking time to explicitly tell us what Phantom Lady's powers are (basically she has technology that makes her a lightweight version of Obsidian) the comic still doesn't do a very good job showcasing them. Of course it doesn't help that the majority of the story is focused on the super-heroine out of costume, pushed around, and acting like a slut to get dirt on Metropolis' leading crime family who murdered her parents. Yah, another "terrific" New 52 female role model.

Although there are interesting ideas here to explore, including the pairing of Phantom Lady and Doll Man (another character with a long history but who comes off here as a dimmer, less interesting version of Ray Palmer) the story doesn't quite work. The art of Cat Staggs is fine, but is completely overshadowed by the cover art by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts. The comic might improve over the next few months, but until it does there's simply not enough here for me to stick around. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

No comments: