Action Comics Weekly #639 (Phantom Lady)
“Belle of the Ball”
Writer – Len Strazewski
Pencils – Chuck Austen
Inks – Gary Martin
Letters – John Costanza
Colors – Glenn Whitmore
Editor – Mark Waid
It’s Phantom Lady day… and, there’s not a whole lot to say.
We open with Phantom Lady having a bit of breakfast and checking out the news headline of her saving the Vice President and Speaker of the House. Worth noting, she’s still in costume… complete with domino mask… sitting in her own damn kitchen. Her roommate, Sarah walks in, and we learn that… as luck would have it, that rotten Guerrehart is having a costume ball that very evening. Now, since Phantom Lady is the hottest thing in town, Dee is certain there’ll be plenty of locals dressed as her… making it that much easier for her to slip in undetected.
Late, a limousine arrives to pick Dee up and sweep her away to the soiree. Her “date” for the evening is ramblin’ Roger… and he looks to be dressed like… I dunno, maybe Speedy? They plan to find out what G-hart’s got on her daddy.
Inside the gala, sure ’nuff there are a bunch of Phantom Ladies… including Dee’s old friend, Marie… who recognizes her immediately! Gotta say, that doesn’t say much for the efficacy of this costume, now does it? Mr. Guerrehart and his “heavy” note that there are a lot of Phantom Ladies present this evening…
After a brief and ambiguous conversation, Guerrehart breaks away and retires to his study. Dee discreetly follows, leaving Marie in Roger’s… uh, capable (?) hands. Upon arrival at the study, Dee spies her daddy, dressed like Humpty Dumpty… with a gun! He squeezes a round off into Guerrehart’s chest… only to learn the suit of armor the dude’s wearing isn’t just for show. G-hart’s heavy clobbers Dee’s Daddy with his club.
Dee causes a ruckus outside the office, and uses her hologram button-thingie to “shape shift” into a little girl, who’s just looking for the turlet. The bodyguard… get this… just leaves the office. What we see is Guerrehart flipping through his files while Dee’s Daddy is laid out on the floor. Door’s wide open, by the way. I thought this dude was supposed to be this criminal mastermind? Oh well, Phantom Lady takes this opportunity to strike, and zaps the baddie in the neck with her… zappy thing.
Dee carries her Daddy out of the soiree… and along the way runs into the bodyguard. Lucky for her, Marie is in position to… shoot the heavy through the hand? That’s a bit extreme, innit? Oh well. We wrap up with Dee and Roger tossing Daddy into the limo, and taking off.
Wow, this one just keeps getting better and better, now doesn’t it?
Okay, no… notsomuch.
I’ve been sitting here for the last 10 minutes trying to think of anything to say about this chapter… and, I’m sorry… I’m just at a loss. It’s not like it was aggressively bad or anything… just pretty un-noteworthy.
My main takeaway here is… Guerrehart is a really dumb villain. For a criminal mastermind with his fingers wrapped around the throat of the beltway… he’s really quite a dunderhead. You’d figure he’d not leave the door to his study wide open… or, actually… forget that… you’d assume he wouldn’t make it so any of his guests could get within 100 feet of his study to begin with! What an idiot.
Marie was pretty cool… though, I don’t think it’s in her best interests to start firing off shots at a Washington, D.C. mansion featuring a who’s who of government officials. I think we have to assume she was promptly arrested and held on charges of terrorism… if not sniped outright. Just dumb.
The art… is still weird. The faces seem to get cartoonier each week… and yet, such loving care and attention is paid to… well, a certain other part of the anatomy. I mean, look at that panel where Dee and Marie hug… all pressed together… so much care put into such a sliver of a panel. Oh well… you know what they say about Action Comics Weekly: There’s something for everyone!
Tomorrow: After the Fire