If you want to see one of the best working comics writers saddled with way too much expositional busywork, TRINITY OF SIN: THE PHANTOM STRANGER: FUTURE’S END #1 by J.M. DeMatteis and Phil Winslade is one to check out.
DeMatteis finds some strong moments in these pages, God as a fluffy little dog that strikes Old Testament fear into the hearts of those who see Him is some classic stuff, and the moment when he turns the Stranger away so that He can dish out some punishment that would turn the Stranger’s hair even whiter is one of the best scenes I’ve read all month.
This month, as every month, THE PHANTOM STRANGER isn’t a bad comic. It has tremendous talent backing it up, it opens doors for J.M. DeMatteis to explore some interesting corners of DC’s supernatural underworld, and I like the idea of DC comics versions of Biblical characters. I just can’t warm up to a PHANTOM STRANGER series dedicated to rubbing out every last trace of mystery to the character.
And if we’re being honest, themes of redemption are played to death in superhero stories, and it gets especially tiring when you’re dealing with a more philosophical character like the Stranger, necessitating constant introspective monologues about the subject of redemption. I swear the Stranger says “redemption” more in any given issue than I have in the review of that issue.
DeMatteis makes this the best over-explained Phantom Stranger possible, but it’s still an over-explained Phantom Stranger. On JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK DeMatteis is a marathon Parkour runner, navigating tricky obstacles with ease and never stopping to catch his breath. On PHANTOM STRANGER, it feels as if he’s being asked to do the same with his shoelaces tied together.
J.M. DeMatteis is never boring. He always finds some great ideas even in the tedium of all-exposition assignments.
The New 52 Phantom Stranger has had a lot of problems right from the start, and they’re only compounded by the exposition dump that is Future’s End.
I could read J.M. DeMatteis writing the phonebook, but I’d rather read him writing characters not bound by such predictable themes.