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August 23, 2010

One-Shot At Greatness #21 Daring Mystery Comics

Filed under: One-Shot At Greatness — Doorman @ 9:23 am

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Daring Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 2009
Cover Price: $3.99
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Jason Armstrong
Cover Artist: Clint Langley

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

In 2009, Marvel Comics published 70th anniversary specials for ongoing titles they had released way back in 1939 when they were known as Timely Comics.

In an interview in the present time, the Phantom Reporter recalled his origin from 1939. Dick Jones had the best of luck! His wealthy parents encouraged him to follow his dream of being a reporter. His colleagues and boss allowed him to quickly work his way up the ranks and an important story quickly changed his life. He began to uncover a murder investigation that led to some very corrupt dealings by a wealthy and powerful businessman named Oswald Chancellor. Chancellor owned a pharmaceutical company and when a scientist discovered the secret to eternal life, he had the man killed and the formula stolen. He used the formula on himself, giving him five times the strength and density of a normal man. Jones, delving deeper and deeper into the investigation, donned a mask to protect his identity. Although, as powerful as Chancellor was, it was easy for him to uncover the Phantom Reporter’s true identity. Ultimately, the formula led to Chancellor’s death (in a roundabout way) but the event taught Jones about the important balance between his job as an ace reporter and his life as a vigilante.

David Liss‘ first comic story is a wonderful pulpish crime thriller. He adds plenty of depth to a one-dimensional golden-age character who hasn’t seen much limelight in the past 70 years. Liss also delves into the character’s origin and creates a story that makes it seem plausible how this man would go from a reporter to a masked vigilante. In contrast to the well-crafted story is Armstrong’s sketchy, unfinished style. I suppose some may feel that it goes well with the pulp story but, when I compare it to the excellent cover provided by Clint Langley, the interior artwork comes up short.

To round out this great comic book experience, they’ve included a pin-up, artist sketches and an afterward by Liss. There’s also a full-color reprint of the Phantom Reporter’s first appearance from Daring Mystery Comics #3, which was originally published in April 1940.

On Ebay: Phantom Reporter | David Liss | Jason Armstrong | 70th Anniversary Special


  1. this was a neat idea for celebrating their 70th anniversary.

    though, I don’t understand one point – if the formula was supposedly for ‘eternal life’, why did it only enhance his strength and density and ultimately cause his death (in a roundabout way)?

    Comment by Donny B — August 23, 2010 @ 10:03 am

  2. i suppose the formula enhanced humans so that they could theoretically live forever. doesn’t mean they can’t be killed … it’s just that they now have the potential to exist infinitely.

    kind of the same way that the Asgardians and Olympians are immortal even though they can be killed. but, given natural circumstances, they’ll never die.

    Comment by Doorman — August 25, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

  3. Yeah, that’s how I’ve understood a lot of concepts in that vein… but what threw me off was how you said that “Ultimately, the formula led to Chancellor’s death (in a roundabout way)”

    That gives me the impression that what would have given him immortality ended up not doing what it promised, but instead had the opposite result… sort of like Iron Man 2’s subplot with the palladium fueling what kept Tony’s heart going, but also slowly poisoned him

    Comment by Donny B — August 25, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

  4. ahhhh! I gotcha. His death is indirectly related to the formula … not even close to the Iron Man 2 premise. I was just trying not to spoil the entire plot for any potential readers.

    Comment by Doorman — August 25, 2010 @ 6:32 pm

  5. Indeed – I’m more and more intrigued by this comic the more I think about it. Your consideration to avoid spoilers is appreciated 😉

    Comment by Donny B — August 25, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

  6. ha! great picture

    Comment by Doorman — August 26, 2010 @ 8:35 am

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