Fantomah Vol. 1
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Artist: Soo Lee
Colorist: Meaghan Carter
Letterer: Andrew Thomas
Review by Josh Rose
Canada has a rich history of comics that seems to have been forgotten. In comes Chapterhouse who reboots Captain Canuck, shortly followed by Northguard. Then they take World War II comic hero Freelance and give him a modern look. Fantomah, however, is not Canadian, but she is the world’s first female superhero–predating Wonder Woman. Fantomah Vol. 1: Up From the Deep sees Chapterhouse’s modernization of that forgotten character.
Paz is a 24-year-old woman who has been holding her family together for years, taking care of her younger sisters while their absentee father works–until one day they disappear. She dives into the gang world to try to find her sisters, all while struggling with the sudden changes of becoming Fantomah.
Fantomah Vol. 1 is Chapterhouse’s first horror series, and its written by Ray Fawkes–one of comic’s best horror writers in my opinion. What makes this really scary isn’t that there’s a phantom haunting everyone; it’s that Paz is the phantom and her sisters have been kidnapped. The fear of losing her family and not understanding what’s happening to her is way scarier than any Hollywood monster. Fawkes has planted this in reality and twisted it just enough to be something we’ve never seen before while still being recognizable.
The art in Fantomah Vol. 1 is beautiful and haunting, like the character herself. My favorite pages are the full-page splashes. They’re dramatic and command your attention. Soo Lee does a great job showing characters’ expressions, and uses a simple and easy to follow panel layout. Meaghan Carter’s colours are fantastic. The use of purples and blues successfully sets up a dark and brooding atmosphere, and they make Fantomah look absolutely haunting!
Buy it. Do you want a strong female character? How about a great horror series with gangs, ghosts, and conspiracies? Then you need to read Fantomah Vol. 1. I can’t wait to read the next volume.
Fantomah Vol. 1 will be available in stores Wednesday, January 31, 2018.