ACW #633 – Phantom Stranger

Action Comics Weekly #633 (Phantom Stranger)
“Cat and Mouse, Chapter III”
Writer – Paul Kupperberg
Art – Fred Carrillo
Letters – Dan McKinnon
Colors – Petra Scotese
Editor – Renee Witterstaetter

I can always tell when fall is in the air at the Palatial Christate because as the days grow shorter, I no longer have adequate natural morning light to write these pieces by… and so, I’m writing this morning at the ol’ kitchen island.

Now, if only the temperatures outside would realize the fact that Summer’s over!

We pick up where we left off, for better or worse.  The Phantom Stranger is tangling with Tannarak’s Cat-Beast at the Bronx Zoo.  Cassandra Craft and Terry Thirteen are outside the gates.  After a bit of posturing… there’s a lot of posturing in this arc… ‘Rak and the Stranger look like they’re about to trade blows.  At this point, however, Cassie Craft has hopped the fence.  At this point, the Stranger looks a bit catatonic… not sure why, maybe he’s been exposed to this horrendously dull story too!

Next, we’re at the top of the Empire State Building (or thereabouts), where Tannarak looks to summon forth the Power of *yawn* Chaos.

Suddenly, the Stranger realizes the artist and writer took the time to create this story focused around him, and so… he actually does something!  He punches the Cat-Beast, and wrestles around the roof with him… until they both fall off.  The Cat comes crashing down onto the streets below.  Cassie and Tannarak exchange an oddly “knowing” glance.

Tannarak heads down to get between the Beast and the Stranger, while pointing toward the skies.  It looks like Cassandra has been caught between Chaos and New York City… crazy, but true.

Now, instead of helping his lady-love… err, lady-like… I dunno.  I’ve never seen this woman before.  Anyhoo, instead of helping her, the Stranger has a think on it… then proceeds to blast her with his Phantomy energies.

Ya see, the Phantom Stranger’s “sanity” has returned… and he now realizes that this woman is not in fact Cassandra Craft, but instead Tala Whatsherface!

Hoo boy, but this is boring.

This almost had to be some sort of long-lost inventory story, right?  Like, it was probably supposed to run as an Action-Plus backup feature back in 1978, but got lost in a drawer or something?  Because this is just not up to the standards Kupperberg set with the Stranger in his earlier ACW appearances… those were interesting, this… is not.

Thankfully, this… like most of ACW’s offerings… is a, say it with me, penultimate chapter.  The Stranger will join us on the other side of The Crash of ’88!, but it won’t be this story… and that, my friends, is a good thing.

Tomorrow: Penultimate Blackhawking!

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