Action Comics Weekly #634 (Phantom Stranger)
“Cat and Mouse, Chapter Four”
Writer – Paul Kupperberg
Art – Fred Carrillo
Letters – Dan McKinnon
Colors – Petra Scotese
Editor – Renee Witterstaettter
Let’s wrap this one up…
Picking up where we left off last time, the Phantom Stranger is stood before Tannarak, Tala, and the Cat-Beast. They exchange some pleasantries, before the Stranger accuses them of being slaves to the “Lords of Order”… I thought they were all about the Lords of Chaos? Are they the same thing? Maybe they are… I certainly don’t have any interest in researching further. We learn that Cassandra Craft has been deposited in some Nether-Dimension, which is good enough for me. Elsewhere, Doctor Thirteen hails down a police car and points them toward the weird lightning storm atop the Empire State Building.
There, our baddies have the Phantom Stranger in a sort of stasis, preparing a ritual to summon the Lords of Chaos (I knew it was supposed to be Chaos!). So far, it looks like it’s actually starting to work!
On the ground, Thirteen is stopped at the door. The police won’t let him inside, and so… he socks an officer in the face. Yeah, right.
Back up top, it looks as though they’re conducting some sort of psychic bloodletting or something. The Cat-Beast slashes at the Stranger’s chest… and appears to be absorbing all of his magickal energies… or something.
After watching this go down for a few moments, Doctor Thirteen decides it’s time to intervene… and he does so with, get this, a broom! He rushes into the scene… swinging a friggin’ broom! What’s more, it actually gets the job done! The Cat-Beast is knocked off the top of the building! I’m not sure if this is a statement on the innate power of mundane things (and people), but… this is pretty lousy.
The Stranger comes to his senses and judo-tosses Tannarak off the building, where he (and the still-hovering? Cat-Beast)… explodes? Wha-? Okay, so long as it ends the story, I ain’t gonna complain. We wrap up with a portal opening, Cassie Craft rushing out, and we’re happily ever after!
I tell ya what… in the nearly four-years that I’ve been blogging every single day, there’s only been one time I stopped reading something part way through out of absolute boredom. That was the The L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons) mini-series from 1999. It was painfully dull, and I only made it halfway through. I sometimes feel bad about that, but… ya know what, I probably shouldn’t.
While trying to get into this arc, I was feeling those same “L.A.W.” pangs… I really just wanted to not talk about this story. I feel like I’ve built up enough goodwill that I might’ve been able to take a “Mulligan” on this one… and actually began writing a post to that effect. Basically, just a parody post of what I usually do here… just to keep myself entertained, because the story here… just wasn’t doing the job.
I ultimately decided to play it straight… for better or worse. What we have here is… still wildly dull. For the amount of actual “story” we get, this could’ve easily been a done-in-one… two chapters, tops. Again though, ACW editorial was pretty weird around this time, what with all the changes in the air. For all I know, Paul Kupperberg had this written as a tight two-parter, and was told at the last minute that it had to fill four. Or, this was just a relic from a different “age” of comics that somebody found while cleaning out a filing cabinet in a storage room that hadn’t been used in over a decade. Either way… this is perhaps the most skippable thing I’ve read as part of the Action Comics Daily project… and that covers a heckuva lot of ground.
Tomorrow: The Final Canary-ing