Today I’m doing something a little different, but for important reasons! I need to talk about today’s Phantom, but I need to go back to earlier Phantoms from this week to fully explain what I need to talk about and why I neglected to prepare you for today’s amazing strip. Let’s start on Monday!
The Phantom, 12/14/20
The only background you need is that the Phantom and a friend are infiltrating a compound in Rhodia using lucha libre fighting techniques; no further explanation or context is necessary and none will be supplied. On Monday, they breached the compound’s walls and began their assault. Notice the rhino head at top right in the first panel. I don’t remember this registering with me at all; if I noticed it at the time, I probably assumed it was just a decorative statue of some sort, since it appears to be in the middle of a planter in a courtyard.
The Phantom, 12/15/20
On Tuesday, the rhino’s head is looming behind our heroes. I missed it on that day as well, presumably because I was so taken by the villains hanging around a the bar, watching Scarface and eating Mary Worth-style oblong ecru appetizers. And it’s just a head! It could still theoretically be part of the decor, I guess?
The Phantom, 12/16/20
This is clearly the Phantom reassuringly patting a living, full-sized rhino, who’s just hanging out next to him. I have no excuse on this one, none at all. But like … nobody’s mentioned the rhino, in strip dialogue? It’s just kind of … there? These strips are not usually subtle! That’s the only excuse I have.
The Phantom, 12/17/20
Today, finally, I cannot ignore this magnificent rhino as it bursts through the glass, joining our hero in his bid to free his friend and defeat the sinister Rhodian warlord. I assume said warlord keeps this rhino captive in his compound as an ostentatious display of wealth, and the Phantom won the beast’s massive heart by displaying simple human kindness and decency. Now the behornèd behemoth will help dispatch the villains, and — we hope — will be freed once the adventure is concluded.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/17/20
Oh man, video chatting is a great platform for Rex to really superciliously glower at one of his pathetic patients. “Buck, have you gone and developed the diabeetus? I’m disappointed, but not even slightly surprised.”
Gil Thorp, 12/17/20
HELL YEAH, DOUG GUTHRIE HAS A BITCHIN’ CAR
THERE IS LITERALLY NO REASON HE NEEDS TO PAY ATTENTION TO HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL, HE ALREADY RULES