In Review: The Phantom – Scarlet Sapphire

Regular readers of downthetubes will recall we reported back in March that Dublin-based independent comics publisher Lightning Strike Comics was to release a new Phantom comic, Scarlet Sapphire.

Well, this stunning-looking comic gets its public launch tomorrow (Saturday 3rd June) at the Filmbase Temple Bar in Dublin – with a small Gallery Exhibition of some of the artwork behind the book on display.

The comic features a new and original story of Lee Falk’s classic hero written by New York Times Best Seller and Half Past Danger creator Stephen Mooney, with art by Millarworld Talent Search winner Robert Carey and colours by the critically acclaimed Tríona Farrell and lettering by Robin Jones.

Lightning Strike Comics have previously released a special 60th anniversary Phantom tribute last year, working in partnership with the character’s US owners, King Features, but Scarlet Sapphire cranks up that relationship in style.

Not only are we offered a multi-layered plot that centres on The Phantom’s investigation of a mysterious and possibly deadly mine, its shadowy owner’s modus operandi in question. The story also raises many contemporary issues facing African nations as they modernise, challenging in part the relevance of The Phantom in the 21st Century; and while The Ghost Who Walks proves as adept as ever in dealing with a problem, you can’t help but think the victory may yet be hollow, the hero and the villain both part of a wider problem for a continent that is still exploited by largely outside agents.

The comic isn’t preachy in any way, but it does have a level of sophistication that may sometimes seem to be lacking in the character’s syndicated newspaper strip, for example.

Robert Carey’s art is perfectly suited to the tale, handling both the action scenes and the Scarlet Sapphire’s quieter scenes with equal aplomb. Beautifully coloured, too, this is an independent title well worth tracking down and a worthy addition to the Phantom legend.

Full details of the book launch on Saturday 3rd June here

• For more information on the project  follow Lightning Strike on Facebook or on Twitter @LSComics

• Follow Stephen Mooney on Twitter @stephen_mooney

• Robert Carey is on Tumblr at | Follow him on Twitter @Mansloth

• Tríona Farrell’s official site is at | Follow her on Twitter @Treestumped

• Rob Jones’ official site is at | Follow Rob Jones on Twitter @RobJonesWrites

The Phantom © King Features

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