Review: Psychic Abilities At A Horrifying Cost In ‘Phantom On The Scan’ #1

by Brendan M. Allen

Matthew is haunted by the burden of psychic gifts that suddenly appeared 20 years ago, on the night a comet fell to Earth. He’s also properly haunted, by the spirit of a mangled little kid who sort of serves as a familiar. Every time he uses his psychic gifts, he draws closer to death, and a bunch of other psychics who gained their powers the same night he did are dropping dead. 

In Phantom On The Scan #1, Matthew calls a meeting to try to solve the mystery of their powers before it’s too late for all of them.

The opening scenes are really heavy. Matthew wakes up after having a nightmare, and starts talking to someone out of frame. It’s not immediately clear who’s on the other end of that conversation. The way Mark Torres frames the shot, the natural assumption is that it’s going to be a girlfriend or a wife. It is not. It’s the first dark reveal of the series, and it’s only a few pages in, effectively setting the mood for the rest of the book.

Cullen Bunn is setting up… something. By the end of this one, I’m not really sure what’s going on here. There’s some back matter included that does shed some light on the situation, but this entire first chapter is centered on the meeting of these five tortured individuals, without much of the whys or whats. It’s a whole twisted ball of dark, moody, and bloody. That’s about where it leaves off.

Phantom On The Scan #1 is dark, man. There’s an oppressive ambiance from the first pages that does not let up. It is a hard one to nail down, but the pieces are really interesting and horrifying.

Phantom on the Scan #1, AfterShock Comics, 14 April 2021. Written by Cullen Bunn, art by Mark Torres, letters by Dave Sharpe, variant cover by Juan Doe.

Summary

This book is dark, man. Cullen Bunn and Mark Torres team up to kick you good and hard, right in the gut. It’s a whole twisted ball of heavy, ominous, and bloody. That’s about where it leaves off.

Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10
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