I believe The Phantom Stranger is what happens when somebody sits on their missing hand and gives themselves the Stranger. Or maybe you just give yourself the Stranger while wearing a sheet with eyes cut into it like a ghost.
The Phantom Stranger #15-16
Writer: J.M. Dematteis
Artists: Fernando Blanco, Miguel Sepulveda (3pgs #15)
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letter: Travis Lanham
The Phantom Stranger, or as it says on the cover Forever Evil, Trinity Of Sin: The Phantom Stranger…Or on page 2, Forever Evil: Blight, Seize The Fire, Trinity Of Sin: The Phantom Stranger. That’s more titles than Steve Miller (The Space Cowboy, The Gangster Of Love, Maurice). The last issue I picked up was #10, which despite the gruesome cover, I thought was beautifully written, and #15 is still carrying on from there. The young man Christopher, the Stranger brought back from the afterlife in that issue is here now as a demonic villain Blight, and the living embodiment of Glen Danzig’s belt buckle. Something that has been going on for awhile apparently. He returns to torment his human family, and remove the last of his ties to humanity. The Stranger arrives with Dr Thirteen and the Divine Presence (God) in the form of a small dog. The Stranger wants to stop Blight, the Presence tells him he will do no such thing as there is a “greater good hidden within the apparent evil.” This, the Stranger finds unacceptable, though he does end up surrendering to Blight, only to turn on him almost immediately after. There is a couple pages with Swamp Thing and John Constantine regarding the Forever Evil events that have been going on for months. And then back to inside the Stranger with Blight telling him basically that there is no hope, no savior, which brings a tear from the Stranger. A tear that burns, with love, and things like this are what I love about DeMatteis. Even in very dark stories, there is always that undercurrent of hope, love, and faith. It is a beautiful message, despite the darkness, the grimness, the DeMatteis doesn’t fall prey to the cynicism, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he is a BEAUTIFUL writer. A couple more pages of Forever Evil stuff, and back to the Stranger, helping Christopher to his feet, Blight seemingly driven out. Except he wasn’t an unwilling host, he let Blight in. Be back in a bit for part 2 where I’ll look at issue 16.