the_mighty_monarch's The Phantom Stranger #9 - Burning Bright review

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Hell Is Other Hells

My god, DC really knows how to push my buttons on this series, don't they? As much as I want to dismiss it, I always get weirdly excited whenever Jae Lee draws the covers, he does such a mind blowing job each time and I KNOW I'm not super excited about what's inside, but I can't wait to get the issue because DAMN is it gorgeous on the outside.

Fernando Blanco's fill-in work for the last few issues of I, Vampire was a bit of a disappointment, but then it was competing with Andrea Sorrentino, and that's just a competition nobody's going to win. Here his style is much more fitting, and it seems he's brining his A-Game compared to I, Vampire. His I, Vampire work always felt a bit loose and rushed, but here things seem much more solid with a great flow.

As for the story, I can't really muster up enough enthusiasm to get too in depth into it. A lot of hell kinda stuff happened, and that's the problem; I can summarize it like that. This whole issue was basically just a slew of generic 'Journey Through Hell' plot devices and cliches. The rhyming demon Etrigan, the empty dead souls, his family there in hell, accepting torture in exchange for their freedom, and ultimately accepting the true hell of losing his connection with them to save them. The dialogue's been a lot smoother since Dematteis took over, but as the issue rolled on I felt like he was just marking off a checklist and writing the dialogue to connect the set pieces.

In Conclusion: 3/5

I dunno, it wasn't really 'bad', it just wasn't too engaging. It played the whole 'hell journey' plot card very safe, never really straying from the path to bring any kind of unique spark or clever twists. But at least the flow of the dialogue kept the reading experience very functional.

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