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Western Animation / DC Showcase: The Phantom Stranger

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DC Showcase: The Phantom Stranger is a DC Comics short movie packaged with Superman: Red Son, centering around the Phantom Stranger.

In the 1970's, a young woman named Marcie (Natalie Lander) travels across the country in search of adventure and a purpose in life, wanting to be free of her "establishment" parents. Taken in by a band of hippies to meet their guru, the attractive Seth (Michael Rosenbaum), Marcie must find her own truth before it's too late... with the help of the Phantom Stranger (Peter Serafinowicz).

Tropes in this movie include:

  • Actor Allusion: Peter Serafinowicz, the voice of Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, is the voice of the Phantom Stranger here.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Seth begs for his life when Phantom Stranger has him cornered.
  • An Aesop: Looks may be deceiving. Trust your better judgment before trusting strangers.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Upon finding the corpses of the hippies, Marcie backs away and is asked by Seth what she thinks about the truth. It seems Marcie is about to freak out, but instead sycophantically answers to trick him into getting her close enough to his MacGuffin to destroy it.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Phantom Stranger shows up just before Seth can absorb the life force of an unsuspecting Marcie.
  • Big "NO!": Seth when Marcie destroys his MacGuffin, causing him to age rapidly into dust.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Seth attracts hippies Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life so he can suck the life out of them to elongate his own.
  • Casting Gag: The female members of the Corrupted Character Copy of the Scooby gang are voiced by Grey Griffin, who's been the voice of Daphne since the passing of Mary Kay Bergman.
  • Cool Mask: Played with regarding the Phantom Stranger. That blackened out area around his eyes is actually supposed to be a cool power effect and not a mask, but the artstyle in this short has it shaped like one, so this trope may be played straight here.
  • Cool Old Guy: Phantom Stranger is a gentlemanly old dude who wants to help Marcie. Marcie, being a hippie that wants to fight authority, initially doesn't trust him because of his age and being strange, but she comes around.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: The hippies are this to Mystery Incorporated.
  • Exact Words: Before fighting the Phantom Stranger, Seth says that only a true innocent can defeat him (Seth). Marcie is the one who does him in.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Marcie has blond hair, and while a bit rebellious and prone to peer pressure, she's nonetheless a good person.
  • Heel Realization: Marcie realizes that Seth is really as evil as Phantom Stranger claims he is when she stumbles across the corpses of her hippie friends, whose life forces were absorbed by Seth.
  • Large Ham: Phantom Stranger's lines and gestures make him feel old-timey compared to the rest of the youthful cast.
  • Life Drinker: Seth maintains his youth by draining the lives of others. When he captures Phantom Stranger he plans to feed off of the Stranger's vast reservoir of life force.
  • MacGuffin: Seth's Ring of Ouroboros lets him absorb life from others, restoring his youth as long as he wears it and it is intact.
  • Meaningful Name: Seth's name rhymes with "death".
  • Mysterious Past: Seth taunts the Phantom Stranger about how "[he's] far from innocent", and while begging him to spare him, Seth offers to end his wandering. Given Stranger's Multiple-Choice Past in the comics, these statements could belong to any one of them.
  • Mythology Gag: Seth's mansion originally belonged to actor Jonathan Lord, but no one knows what happened to him.
  • Ouroboros: The Ring of Ouroboros is a ring shaped like a snake eating its own tail, befitting how it grants the holder eternal life.
  • Rapid Aging: After his MacGuffin is destroyed, Seth ages rapidly into a walking corpse before becoming a pile of dust.
  • Secret Test of Character: Phantom Stranger is incapacitated by Seth, disoriented from Marcie smashing a vase on him from behind. However, it's implied that he was holding back so Marcie could learn about Seth herself, as he effortlessly frees himself after she defeats him and congratulates her on a job well done.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Marcie smokes a cig outside the mansion and meets the Phantom Stranger this way.
  • Smug Snake: Seth is all suave charm when he thinks he has the upper hand, but that goes away quickly when he bites off more than he can chew with the Phantom Stranger.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Phantom Stranger suddenly appears and disappears when he and Marcie first meet, and he disappears at the end after one last talk with her.
  • Stealth Mentor: Phantom Stranger implicitly held back against Seth so that Marcie could realize Seth's true character.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Seth is a charismatic dark-haired open-shirted hippie with a mullet.
  • The Worf Effect: Marcie smashes a vase on Phantom Stranger from behind, which incapacitates him long enough for Seth to magically bind him. Stranger is apparently too weak to break free and all he can do is tell Marcie to run for her life, but it's heavily implied afterwards it was just a Secret Test of Character.