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Phantom #17

Posted: Saturday, July 21, 2007
By: Ray Tate



"Invisible Children"

Writer: Mike Bullock
Artists: Silvestre Szilagyi, Bob Pedroza(c)
Publisher: Moonstone

Mike Bullock continues to inform The Phantom reading public about a very real monstrosity occurring in Africa. The Lord's Resistance Army abducts, tortures and rapes children. They force them to kill in their name, and the ranks of this cult continue to grow.

Bullock uses super-hero fiction exactly in the way that it's supposed to be used. He alerts the reader to a real atrocity. He inserts the factual crime into the fiction of the hero, and then he employs the hero to eliminate that affront to humanity. To do any less would betray the optimism inherent in super-hero literature and as well the resonance of the Phantom.

Silvestre Szilagyi and Bob Pedroza superbly illustrate an awesome twenty-two suspenseful pages of the Lord's Resistance Army being terrified out of their wits and eradicated one by one by the Ghost Who Walks. It's a rewarding merger of fiction meeting reality.

Bullock by plotting the demise of the Lord's Resistance Army--at least this unit--also characterizes the Phantom's anger. The Phantom, depicted in this story as very cold and calculating toward his enemy, uses the psychology of his foes against them. He draws upon their own fears to enhance his supernatural mien. As a result, we relish scenes of scared-brickless terrorists being terrorized and children petrified with fear regaining hope.

Bullock surprises the reader who would have simply been pleased by watching the Lord's Resistance Army being shattered ala Phantom. He ends the story on a cliffhanger that blends continuity into the already impressive fusion of fiction and fact.



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