This is the climax to what’s been a fascinating run on the character by J.M. DeMatteis. He’s never been allowed to come right out and say it, but the Phantom Stranger, in the New 52, is Judas. And his job, again and again, has been to be a traitor, to trick people to what seems to be a terrible fate and to leave them to their suffering.
It’s weighed on the Stranger, as he’s tried to figure out why this is how he must redeem himself and argues with an adorable Scottish Terrier — who may or may not be God — about theodicy and a greater plan. If that sounds like heavy stuff for the New 52, well, this book has always had greater ambitions than just superheroics.
Of course, you can’t spend centuries stabbing people in the back without it biting you eventually, and as the Stranger is about to find out, in this book on the stands next week, karma stinks.