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Fantomah #1

by Jason Laframboise on July 26, 2017

Written by Ray Fawkes
Art by Soo Lee
Published by Chapterhouse Comics

Okay so when I saw that Chapterhouse was doing a comic featuring a golden age character Fantomah I have to say that I was extremely excited! This bizarre character created by the equally bizarre Fletcher Hanks is a guilty pleasure of mine. And with all that excitement in my mind I was hoping that it would live up to my personal hype, now after reading this first issue I have to say that it exceeded  my expectations! I honestly couldn't have imagined a better issue to start this series. It was everything I love in a thriller comic, moody and atmospheric, with just enough character development to make feel for the characters without giving up too much of the mystery. The title character is basically in one panel and that was all we needed. I'm not going to go in depth on the character's history or the creator who is genuinely  one of the most fascinating people in comics history right here, but I will talk about that at some point in the near future. 

We are introduced to our protagonist Paz Gallegos who is a 24 year old woman, the primary caregiver to her two young twin sisters. Their mother is deceased as far as I can tell and their father is pretty much gone 24/7. Paz seems to have had some sort of relationship with a local gang member but is now on the straight and narrow. She is having dreams of our title character and while awake is having head aches. Her sisters are kidnapped from school and Paz or should I say Fantomah is now out for revenge.

Ray Fawkes constructed a tight well paced story that was an absolute page turner. That was the big key for the first issue was the way it was paced. It works perfectly as a short horror or thriller story. Perhaps the best part is we will get more in the next issue. The main character prior to changing into Fantomah is very easy to relate to, struggling to make life work with being a surrogate mother. I look forward to the explanation to her transformation. 

The art by Soo Lee sets the dark atmospheric setting very well. Paz's dream sequences are very well done with the suffocating foreshadowing that we get. The first time we see Fantomah fully is in a brilliant one page spread that I just love. Lee's art is definitely the right style for this story. I love the cover, which was one of the first things I saw come out as a preview and that image made me want to read this book. Great stuff with the art in this one.

I'm impressed with this one overall. I wasn't sure what to expect with this revival but I loved it and that makes me really happy. The worst thing is when a golden age character is revived and we get a crappy effort that is only trying to live off a name, but that is not the case here. It's an updating that brings the character into the 21st century and is actually a fun and engaging read. Very well done, and highly recommended.

Our Score:


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