Phantom Stranger

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The Phantom Stranger

A mysterious and extremely powerful individual, always clad in a dark blue suit with matching cape and hat, and wearing a gold medallion on a chain around his neck (first appearance: The Phantom Stranger No. 1, Aug/Sep 1952: "The Haunters from Beyond"). His origin is shrouded in mystery and the source of his powers and his motivation are unknown. He has assisted Superman, the Justice League of America, and other heroes on numerous occasions.

In February 1980, the Phantom Stranger mysteriously intervenes in Superman's battle with Dracula and causes both Dracula and his servant the Frankenstein Monster to be whisked away to a place he describes only as "nightmare" (S No. 344: "The Monsters Among Us!").

In September of that year, the Phantom Stranger again meets Superman when Superman is experiencing painful attacks brought on by the magic of Madame Benita who is working on behalf of Pete Ross, Superman's childhood friend. Ross, who has long-known and protected Superman's secret identity, had turned against the Man of Steel for not rescuing his son Jonathan Ross from the planet Nyrvn. Superman had refused to rescue Jon because the Legion of Super-Heroes had told him that Jon was destined to one day lead an alien starfleet and save the earth, and that returning Jon to Earth would spoil this destiny. (see Jonathan Ross)

When the Phantom Stranger confronts Madame Benita, he becomes locked in a spiritual battle with the demonic Tala, who has been using Benita, Pete, and another man who had stolen tokens from the Superman Museum for Benita's plan to trap Superman's soul. Tala believes that she already has the souls of Benita and the thief and that soon she will have those of Pete Ross and Superman (who is vulnerable to magic because of his guilt over failing Jon and Pete).

But while the Phantom Stranger and Tala engage in a primal battle, Superman has a change of heart and goes to Nyrvn to retrieve Jon, saying to him, "maybe you'll come back to Nyrvn someday, to become that great hero the Legionnaires say you're destined to be." Once Jon is reunited with his father, Tala's "hold on Superman is broken -- and with it her hold over" the others as well.

Tala then vanishes, leaving the Phantom Stranger with the parting threat, "it is your doom to place yourself between me and these poor, pitiable mortal fools, and one day they shall disappoint you and on that day you are mine!" The Phantom Stranger calmly responds, "no, Queen of Darkness that day shall never dawn" (DCCP No. 25: "Judgment Night").

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