Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Phantom of Pago Island!

Sometimes, the planets align, fate intervenes, and everything just falls into place. I kind of feel like that with this post. Our first Ted Kord post after a month of covering the Ghost Who Walks has the word "Phantom" in its title! Coincidence? I think not. So with the Teen Titans and the Hybrid behind us (mostly) we move into a new story...let's see what Len Wein, Paris Cullins and Dell Barras have for us this month in issue #14, and a story called "The Phantom of Pago Island!"

Remember a sentence or two back, when I said the Titans/Hybrid were mostly behind us? Well the issue opens with the Titans helping Blue Beetle repair the damage the BUG took during the battle with the Hybrid...and a 3 page recap of those events. Once back in Chicago he takes off the costume and prepares to get back to work as Ted Kord. Ted thinks about how being Blue Beetle has affected him, but he made a promise to Dan Garrett and easy or not he intends to keep it!

Out on the Atlantic ocean, on a ship heading southeast, Capt. Sledge gives Lt. Fisher a last chance to turn back. Pago Island is haunted, and while Sledge is a man of his word, the crew is a bit skittish and might just throw the man overboard. Before they can though, the island comes into view. As they lower Fisher to small boat, something underwater tosses the larger vessel onto the beach of Pago Island forcing Sledge and his crew to join Fisher. 

As one of the sailors tries to radio for help he's attacked by a mysterious figure...with a shadow that looks suspiciously like the armor we last saw Conrad Carapax being sucked in to! Against the better judgement of several of the crew they split into smaller teams and begin exploring the island, looking for answers...and a few find more than they bargained for!

At Kord Omniversal Ted finds out just how bad it things have gotten. Paperwork piled up, people asking about Curt Calhoun, and Melody (his girlfriend) on the warpath! She can't understand how Ted, CEO of this company, could have let things come to this. As she storms out of his office, tossing paperwork in the air, she tells him he needs to do his job or find someone else who will!

In Nice, France, we meet the men (led by Dr. Klaus Cornelius) who were trying to shake down Jeremiah several issues back. It seems Jeremiah has a compound they want. And since their last attempt didn't work, they're bringing in the big guns...Catalyst, the Living Pharmacopoeia!

Then we head back to Chicago just in time to see Murray Takamoto resign from his position at S.T.A.R. Labs, and decline an offer to come to work for Ted. In the wake of the promethium incident that claimed Curt Calhoun, Murray feels its time he stepped away and learned to stand on his own again. Frustrated at not being able to help his friend with the job offer, Ted turns his attention to helping Melody, by way of helping the girl that was hit by a truck (unaware she's already been turned into a member of the Hybrid!). Ted figures he'll head down to the police station and push for Lt. Fisher to get on the case. Once he realizes Fisher has already left for Pago Island though, we finally get to see Ted in action as Blue Beetle...and with only 6 pages left in the issue, yay. 

Hopping aboard the BUG, Ted recounts his origin and the significance of Pago Island (i.e. where his crazy uncle built robots to rule the world, where Dan Garrett died stopping him, and where Ted swore to keep the legacy of Blue Beetle going). When he arrives, the place seems deserted...until he starts looking around. Then he sees the chaos, destruction...and bodies! The wrecked ship...and one lone survivor, wounded and delirious. Ted tries to help him, takes him back to the BUG to care for him, but he dies...screaming about a big, brutal beast! 

Blue Beetle, desperate for answers, heads back out to continue searching the island and stumbles into another survivor lurking in the shadows. Uncle Jarvis? No...Lt. Fisher! Neither likes the other very much, but it looks like they'll need to work together anyway. No sooner do the meet then the phantom of the island bursts through a nearby cave wall...Carapax, the Indestructible Man!

Well...considering there wasn't a lot of costumed action for Blue Beetle in this issue, they sure managed to pack in a lot of action and story didn't they? Two new villains, Carapax and Catalyst, got introduced. We finally, hopefully, got past the Titans/Hybrid stuff. They'll be mentioned again I imagine, but based on a search on I can safely say they won't be seen! Something that struck me about this issue, not sure if anyone else picked up on it, was the art. Is it me or does it look...different? Not bad, but different. It's the same team of Paris Cullins and Dell Barras but it doesn't look quite the same as last issue does it? I have a theory! When I got to interview Paris way back in the first year of the blog, he mentioned being a big horror fan, and getting his start with some horror comics. I think, whether consciously or not Paris tweaked his style to fit the tone of this story. That stuff on the island is creepy and that art is effective! If we'd gotten the usual, more cartoonish look I don't think it would have worked as well as this does. Just something to think about. 

1 comment:

  1. Great cover, Did Paris Cullins do all the covers for this series' run?