What’s Phantom Kid? In order to answer, we should know the publisher behind this -almost- super-heroic comic. The Reality Comics is a small American project that has a long-mid range in mind. The web does not give us many information about it. There’s a Facebook page, a youtube with many videos, a webpage and some news on Comixology. From what I saw, the project was bold enough to catch my attention.
Scrolling through their pages, we find Deathwitch: the fairy tale of Trinity Cross, a story that seems to be a mashup between Joss Whedon and Dante’s Inferno‘s styles; Team InDysTructible, a group of dysfunctional superheroes, affected by mental disturbs such as depression, trichophagy.
Then we move again on supernatural themes as in Weredevil: the professor from the dark lagoon, horror old-style character with two personalities, as in Jekyll and Hyde, but without any good side.
We eventually end with Phantom Kid, protagonist of this review.
Phantom kid’s name is Reggie Reynolds, a normal boy, if it was not for the costume he wears during his vigilante nights. Another fundamental point is that he is not really keen on being a superhero.
Reynolds is sent to Railway city – the metropolis where all The Reality Comic’s histories happen- by the entire population of his small town. Yes, they all know about his real identity. Keith Planit (author) and Joe Koziarski (artist) introduce us to their character in the most classical way; an aggression of a group of girls operated by a bad guys gang in the middle of the night.
In this situation, Phantom Kid shows to have some kind of attitude for his role. He’ll show to have some aim issues; not to be really good at avoiding knocks, but in a great shape and with extraordinary acrobatic abilities.
Common sense and inconsideration alternate, making the character really unpredictable. The flashback, useful to build Phantom Kid’s history and psyche, is essential enough not to invest the reader with worthless and mood-killing infodumps.
In the third macro-sequence, respecting the most classical superhero model, the training is described. Phantom Kid seems to be in need for a lot of exercise in order to become a superhero!
Another important element is the teacher: someone who knows the field in which a superhero operates, and who could gift the protagonist knowledge, helping him to discover himself. Super hero Maximum man’s widow will be the figure the main character will turn to for this role.
Phantom Kid’s Art Style
Concerning style, techniques and drawings, we can notice a massive use of captions containing Reggie’s thoughts, in first person. A particular shade of black is used for those, and it surely stands out in a bright b/w comic.
The use of two consecutive cuts containing an out of field balloon is unusual as well. The use of onomatopoeias and movement lines also adds to the idea we are reading an old-style comic, even if we can find modern elements such as lexic and technology. There’s no limiting cage, instead more than once splash pages are used as a background for small panels. The dithered style also adds to the 60/70s vibe.
At a first glance, we might think to be reading something similar to Mark Millar’s and John Romita Jr’s Kick Ass.
Though, Planit does not seem to be interested in representing extreme forms of violence and trash, nor to critique the figure of a pure and idealist superhero. Instead he tries to nobilitate him, and to propose his canons in a brand new universe -or intra-verse-.
This is not a bad copy of Stan Lee’s works, but his indications are followed for a personal project, even if it’s not a completely original one.
Article written in Italian by Vincenzo Purpura and translated into English by Elisa Napolitano