01 December, 2008

The Phantom 4: Now I think I know what bravery is.

It's all very exciting when movie stars Rita and Cary arrive in town with their film crew, but they are not the only newcomers. Escaped convicts Slim and Shorty are hiding out till they can catch a ship to freedom, but, watching the fanfare surrounding Rita and Cary, they start to get bright ideas.

The film is to be shot on location in the jungle, and the director unwittingly hires the two desperadoes as guides. His more immediate problem is Hollywood super-star Cary, who, despite a he-man image, is a lily-livered fop.

Cary plays the strong and mysterious Jungle Man to Rita's shy Native Girl, but their big scene fighting off the bad guys goes awry when Slim and Shorty reveal their true colours, kidnapping Jungle Man and Native Girl for real.

Before taking Cary and Rita on horseback into deep jungle, Slim and Shorty demand a million dollars for each of them for their safe return. Two of Hollywood's top stars disappear into the jungle, leaving the director and film crew to find their way back to their vehicles and return to the town.

Slim and Shorty want to hide out for a week till the money is delivered, but they are unknowingly heading into cannibal and head-hunter country. Needless to say, news of these blundering travellers reaches The Phantom and he decides to enter the Badlands himself to help them.

The kidnappers find a place to hide out and set up camp by a lake. Shorty tries to force himself on Rita, and Cary tries to intervene but fails. As Cary backs off, Rita strikes Shorty, knocking him backwards into the water. Shorty is angry, but Slim tells him to leave her alone.

A band of cannibals has spotted the campfire smoke and prepares to attack the camp. At the same time, Cary has decided to wake up Rita and give the kidnappers the slip. Slim and Shorty are woken up as the cannibals make their move, but they are so busy shooting at the marauders, Cary and Rita get away.

The Phantom arrives in time to save Slim and Shorty. They lie to him about why they are there, but he is suspicious. He rides off for the cannibal village to make them understand that there is plenty of food in the jungle without having to eat people.

While all this has been happening, Rita and Cary have wandered around, trying to feed themselves. A lone cannibal has picked up their trail and figures on an easy meal for himself. A terrified Cary forces himself to stand up to the lone warrior, and Rita saves him by hitting the attacker with a rock. The cannibal retreats and brings back the rest of the scouting party. They capture Rita and Cary and march them back to the village to be eaten.

Luckily for them, The Ghost Who Walks is arriving in the village to warn the natives off cannibalism. As The Phantom escorts Rita and Cary safely back through the Badlands, they tell him the truth about Slim and Shorty and the kidnapping.

They stop to rest, and while Rita bathes, Cary confides in The Phantom. The three of them are being watched by a small party of head-hunters. The head-hunters have recognised The Ghost Who Walks but they make the decision to attack regardless.

A lone head-hunter has broken away from the party and discovered Rita. She tries to fight him off and screams for help. The Phantom commands Cary to go to her aid.

The Phantom, with help from a terrified Cary, defeats the head-hunters then ties them up with vines. The Phantom marches the bound warriors back to their village to boldly confront their king. Rita and Cary choose to accompany him and are amazed at his boldness and courage.

The Phantom, after one or two scuffles, lays down the law -- and the king, an old friend of The Ghost Who Walks, agrees to punish the group of troublemakers for their head-hunting ways.

Slim and Shorty are finally collared by the Bandar, but, before they can be carted out of the jungle by the authorities, they insult Cary and ridicule him. Cary demands satisfaction, and, in the presence of Rita and The Phantom, thrashes both of them.

WRITER: Lee Falk

ARTIST: Wilson McCoy

1 comment:

  1. Ah the Phantom.
    Slim, Shorty, Good boy Cary, I'll never pick another fight, only in the Phantom.