So after sixty years of history, today I learned that The Phantom Stranger’s superpower is to be a treacherous douchebag. Plus, he’s wearing Jesus’s pants.
Look, while I don’t agree with the recent DC editorial decision to make The Phantom Stranger’s identity as Judas Iscariot unambiguous – particularly since after the last big DC reboot, they went out of their way to make sure that the Stranger’s origin was as mysterious as possible – I have to admit that, as origin stories go, it certainly is one.
The Phantom Stranger #0, written by Dan DiDio with art by Brent Anderson, doubles down on the Judas-as-Stranger story, showing us the Stranger’s origin right from the moment after Judas took a long walk off a short length of rope. And while it accomplishes a great deal in 20 pages, from showing us exactly who the Stranger is to where he got that funky cloak to how he ties into early DC continuity, it does it by mashing up disparate pieces of Judeo-Christian and Shazam-Marvellian mythologies, adds to both of them in ways never before intimated that we just have to take on faith, and with some ham-fisted writing (not story, actual writing) to boot.
Plus, it includes the exciting origin of Jesus’s pants.