ACW #637 – Phantom Lady

Action Comics Weekly #637 (Phantom Lady)
“Luck be a Lady”
Writer – Len Strazewski
Pencils – Chuck Austen
Inks – Gary Martin
Letters – John Costanza
Colors – Glenn Whitmore
Editor – Mark Waid

Today marks the end of my travels… so, good God willin’, by the time you’re all reading this, I’m on a plane headed back to the desert.

Let’s Phantom Lady!

We open with a trench-coated Dee Tyler flashing a bouncer in order to gain entry into a night club.  Dude is bamboozled and gobsmacked by the sight, and gives her the “thumbs up”.  Inside the joint, we get probably the second cringiest “ta-da” costume reveal that we’ve seen in the pages of Action Comics Weekly (just a peg below Dinah’s new-look Canary costume early on in her run).  The fellas inside can’t help but fawn over her in any case.

She chats up the bartender, looking for information on a man named Farid.  The barkeep plays dumb, until she offers him a little bit of “Vitamin C”… as in, a C-Note.  His memory miraculously returns… and he starts spillin’ the beans.  He also, for whatever reason, gives her a vial of a strange liquid.  She proceeds to pour it into her drink… and, again, for whatever reason, slides the thing across the bar… smashing into some other guys’ drinks.  I… feel like I’m missing something here.  Was this supposed to come across as “bad ass” or something?  Because, it didn’t.

We follow Dee into Farid’s office, where we learn that this specimen has something to do with the arms deal we heard a little bit about last week.  He isn’t completely forthcoming with information.  In fact, when she mentions Guerrehart, Farid plays dumb.

Dee is able to use her feminine wiles to get him to come around.  She learns that there will be some Senators doing something at the Capitol.  Not sure exactly what they’re going to be doing… but, I’m sure it’ll be important for the story!  Farid goes to wrap his arms around our Phantom Lady… only to discover that she’s a hologram, maaaaaaan.  Looks like Dee’s roommate, Sarah is a holographic genius, or something.

Farid responds by… pulling a gun!  Yikes.  Dee narrowly escapes the night club, beating down goons all along the way.  We wrap up with her hopping into a cab, and telling the hack to floor it to the Capitol.

This… really isn’t all’at great, is it?

At first blush, this feels like just a series of cool/”bad ass” moments, strung together by a pretty weak narrative.  Like, we’re supposed to come away from this thinking that Dee is just the coolest character around… but at the same time, it’s so over-the-top that it comes across as more dorky than anything.

That over-the-top-ness leads to a severe lack in subtlety… everyone here feels like a cartoon character.  Chuck Austen’s art here doesn’t help matters much either.  I mean, look at this murderer’s row of dorkiness we meet here!  From the bouncer to the barkeep to Farid himself… eesh.  Dooooooooorks.

On that note… the big costume reveal.  Yikes.  Reminiscent of Dinah’s post-burning ta-da from back in the day.  I will say, at least this reveal didn’t make coffee shoot out of my nose like that one did.  If you need a refresher/reminder… here ya go:

Yeah, still can’t help but to hear that RuPaul song!  Yikes.

Tomorrow: Life as a Lookout

0 thoughts on “ACW #637 – Phantom Lady

  • Chris U

    At least Dee's costume was fairly accurate to the golden age Phantom Lady's. Dinah's was just (insert sound of vomiting here).
    On the plus side the hologram "power" really gives an updated and literal meaning to the name "Phantom" Lady.


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