The Phantom Stranger is one of the most enigmatic beings in the universe, claiming to serve the cause of Order to keep Chaos in check. Whenever someone is troubled by spiritual or moral dilemma the Stranger will sometimes appear to offer counsel. He is strictly bound by an oath of non-interference that can only be loosened, by employing other people as his "agents".
The history of the Stranger is largely unknown, however, there are at least five hypothesises on how he came to be;
- One proposes the Stranger was originally a private citizen during biblical times and was spared God's wrath. An angel was sent to deliver him from divine wrath. After questioning God's actions, he commits suicide. The angel forbids his spirit from entering the afterlife, reanimates his body and condemns him to walk the world forever to be a part of humanity but also forever separated from it. He then discovered his divine charge, to turn humanity away from evil, one soul at a time. Some versions of this story imply that the angel to do this was not just a random angel but the incarnation of The Spectre of that time period.
- Another says that he was a man named Isaac with a wife and a son during the time of Jesus' childhood. When King Herod heard that there was born a child who would be king of the Jews, he ordered the deaths of all baby boys in order to kill the Christ child. Among the people killed were Isaac's wife and son. Blind with anger, he spent the next 30 years in a rage against Jesus. Later, after being tried in part by Herod's son, Jesus was subjected to torture. On learning this, Isaac bribed a guard to assume his role in the flagellation of Christ. Upon this Jesus sentenced him into exile from his home and to wander until Doomsday. After the crucifixion, Isaac recognized his mistake and let go of his anger. He has since spent the rest of his life helping society, even declining an offer from God, father of Jesus himself, to release him from his sentence.
- A third was a proposal that the stranger is a remnant of the previous universe. At the end of the universe the Phantom Stranger approaches a group of scientists studying the event, warning them not to interfere in the natural conclusion of the universe. The story concludes with the Phantom Stranger passing a portion of himself to a scientist, the universe is reborn, and the scientist from the previous universe is the Phantom Stranger in the new universe. (This tale is somewhat similar to the origin story of Galactus in Marvel Comics.)
- The final tale postulated that the Stranger was a fallen angel who sided with neither Heaven nor Hell during Satan's rebellion and thus condemned to walk the Earth alone for all time.
- Yet another adventure has him as the Father of Magic; the first human ever to wield arcane forces through his medallion, which was stolen from extra-dimensionnal Lovecraftian-type deities.
The Stranger often appears as a force guiding the actions of heroes while maintaining a somewhat elusive nature and was a servant of the Lords of Order during the Ninth Age of Magic.
- The Stranger is an R&D vendor for magic users in the Watchtower Magic Wing.
- When someone begins using Tala's powers to wreck havoc in Gotham City during the Halloween Seasonal Event, the Phantom Stranger recruits various heroes to locate the individual responsible and stop them.
- He is a quest master in the process of making the Runes of the Norsemen costume pieces, enchanting the raw costumes pieces made by the player to their final state.
- The Phantom Stranger first appeared in Phantom Stranger #1 (August-September 1952)
- The Stranger has been known to break the fourth wall and address the reader directly.
- On his initial appearance in the JLA Watchtower, the Phantom Stranger had no cape. His cape was later added following an update.
- The talisman Stranger wears is used to tame his supernatural energies.
- Phantom Stranger Wikipedia