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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Spectre 7 - haunted money, and an Hourman story

Hourman gets a back-up story, his first solo tale since the 1940s, in Spectre 7 (Nov/Dec 68).

Fox, Grandenetti and Anderson open the issue with a Spectre tale. Most of Fox's Spectre stories seem pretty harmless, a but less than I expect from the bloodthirsty hero. But at least Grandenetti and Anderson have good art on this one again, if not quite as mind blowing as the previous issue.

The story centres on a bank robber who gets shot and killed during his crime, dying while in contact with his stolen money. He is so obsessed with holding onto the money, even though he is dead, that his ghost maintains an ability to control it. Jim Corrigan is on the case, but only the Spectre can stop the haunting.

Ultimately, the Spectre does this by bringing to life elements of the money, the eye on the pyramid, the bald eagle, and even the numbers themselves, to attack and torment the ghost. Once he no longer wants his connection to the cash, his spirit is able to pass on.

Interestingly, Hourman's story, by Fox, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene, also involves a death, that of the hero. I wonder if, considering that this was being printed in the Spectre, that had been a conscious decision.

Hourman has the misfortune to be at Tyler Chemical when it is being robbed, and gets shot by the thief before he has time to do anything to prevent it. The man uses a Metalizer device. The Miraclo in the hero's system keeps Hourman from actually dying. The story uses the countdown timer, and it has never been more effectively used. 

Hourman has to capture the thief and analyze the Metalizer in order to find an antidote, and save his own life, before the Miraclo runs out.

I also really appreciate that Hourman does this with just over two minutes to spare, rather than having the clock run down to the very last second.

Hourman has last appeared a couple of months earlier in the annual Justice League/Justice Society crossover, and is next seen in another one, two years down the road.

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