Featured Columns

June 12, 2016

Character Spotlight: Phantom Lady

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Now you see her and now you don’t! Phantom Lady’s been fighting crime since World War 2 and there’s been more than one person donning that yellow getup and title. So who are these women and what did they do to get the name Phantom Lady? Let’s find out!

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Sandra Knight
Sandra Knight was the well to do debutante daughter of a U.S. senator and the cousin to fellow superhero Ted Knight, the Starman. When her father is nearly attacked by two men, Sandra fights them off with just a rolled up newspaper. Imagine that one fight in the Jason Bourne series but a woman in 1940s fashion doing it. This, plus her cousin’s career choice, got Sandra into the idea of becoming her own hero.

 

Donning a revealing outfit to distract her enemies, Sandra would become Phantom Lady and start fighting crime. She’d eventually find a scientist who need sanctuary from war torn Europe and she gave him a place to call home. As thanks, she was given access to “black light technology” which was a form of light that could temporarily blind people. Outfitting herself with a gun to blind her opponents and the headlights of her car to change over to, she’d now becoming more of a phantom than ever before.

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She’d go on to join teams like the All-Star Squadron and the Freedom Fighters. She’d start dating a fellow teammate and they two would have a child they’d put up for adoption. This would eventually lead to a grandchild who would go on to become the hero Manhunter. She’d end up marrying this teammate,  Iron Munro, and the two would have a child who would be kidnapped by villains. Sadly, they’d never locate this baby.

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Inspired to start a school, Sandra would found the University of Our Lady of the Shadows, a spy school for women. The school was unsuccessful for helping her ever find her missing child but she would find her first child’s daughter years later after Sandra had retired, this being the Manhunter, Kate Spencer. Meeting her granddaughter and great grandson would help Sandra when her other search remained missing.

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Dee Tyler
Delilah “Dee” Tyler would be trained by Sandra Knight at her University to become a new Phantom Lady, one of many she was training. Joining the new Freedom Fighters of the modern era, Dee would fight along the new generation of heroes like Jack Knight, Starman and Wally West, the Flash. Along with two other members of the Freedom Fighters, Dee would be killed during the Infinite Crisis by Deathstroke and Cheetah. She would come back as a Black Lantern during the Blackest Night.

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Stormy Knight
Though they share the same last name, Stormy Knight is not related to Sandra Knight. Her father is also a U.S. senator and she works with Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. Having a degree in quantum phsyics, she plays the part of a vapid socialite to not have to deal with most people. Unlike the Phantom Ladies before her, she is publicly known to the world as Phantom Lady.

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When it’s revealed her father is attempting to use his position to help take over the world, it is the Freedom Fighter’s task to stop him and he is killed in the process. Shaken, Stormy takes to drugs and alcohol which leads to her accidentally killing a criminal, made worse by the fact it was caught on camera. She attempts suicide and is taken care of by several team members and realizes that the superhero life isn’t for her and decides to get into acting, turning down joining the Birds of Prey as her last act as a hero.

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Jennifer Knight
In the New 52, Jennifer Knight would watch her parents get killed on Christmas Eve due to her father’s crime reporting for the Daily Planet. Vowing vengeance on the crime boss, Robert Bender and his family, she’d enlist the help of her friend, Dane Maxwell. The two use Dane’s technological skills to gain superpowers, she invisibility and shadow manipulation and for himself to shrink. The two would begin to fight crime after stopping the Bender crime family.

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There you have it! Phantom Lady has been around a long time and was the original inspiration for the Watchmen character, Silk Spectre. Having a legacy of her own, the character has survived to the modern era. Will she appear in Rebirth? Who knows! See you next time!

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Suggested Reading
Police Comics #1
Action Comics Weekly #636
Phantom Lady
Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven
Phantom Lady and Dollman

Dr. Bustos
drbustos@comicattack.net

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