It feels like it’s been a long wait between Phantom issues. The first issue was only okay. Once it slotted into the entire Pulpy-verse I liked it a lot better but that was just due to the high tide raising all the ships. But the first issue had about 3 really good pages in it and the rest was dull. From what I remember the characters were a little hit or miss and the plot left a lot to be desired. The second issue picked things up a bit and we kind of found some character voices and moved the plot forward. I didn’t do a review of issue #2 but it had a lot more personality and was an improvement in every way. Issue #3 already brings us a new Phantom. When this whole thing started my prediction was that they would either find an unlikely Phantom or the person acting as interim Phantom would end up being the new Phantom because he would end up being ‘worthy’ all along. Our new Phantom is Jen, the reporter lady we met at the start of all this. She suddenly knows kung-fu and gets an updated Phantom costume in the form of black tights and a purple hoodie. She kind of looks like the bastard child of new Batgirl and Spider-Gwen. I guess hoodies are ‘in’ now as far as superhero haute-couture. That’s a fancy French word for high fashion. That Word-A-Day Calendar is really paying off!
The issue does get a cameo from the Pulpy-verse Dr. Strange: Mandrake the Magician who was much better used in issue #2. Here he mostly just shows up to tell Jen that she is, indeed, The Phantom. All in all the story isn’t really unique or compelling. They have found some good voices in the characters, which was much-needed, because they now at least have those tent poles to hold up an otherwise boring premise. The characters have decent chemistry and there are some funny bits but the story itself needs something. The other annoying thing is the very fluid concept of time which gets confusing. There is a heavy use of flashback, cut aways and flash forwards. On occasion it will flashback 48 hours just to flash forward 24 hours and then do a cut away to a different time or place. In this issue we have something happen in real-time, then we flash forward and then we cut back to the incident that was taking place in real-time. It's very fluid and non-linear which works great if you’re a Tarantino movie less so if you’re a mediocre comic. I get what they’re going for though. It’s paced like a TV show, almost like Leverage meets Family guy. There might come a time when they fine tune it but for now it’s still a little rough. There’s enough here to hold me until next month but that’s pretty much the highest compliment I can pay it.