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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Spectre 9 - the Spectre gets a book,warns of Abraca-Doom, and grabs the guy

Nick Cardy does the cover for Spectre 9 (March/April 1969) which sees a big change for the book.

The lead story is by Mike Friedrich and Grandenetti, and sees the Spectre chained to the book pictured on the cover, the Journal of Judgement. The story then goes backwards to explain how this came about. It's not completely unlike the story in the previous issue, although heightened even further. This time, as the Spectre aids Jim Corrigan, he actively kills a would-be killer. This is basically completely in line with how the character operated in the 1940s, but is treated here as if he has crossed a line.

Jim is furious with the Spectre, and refuses to allow the spirit back into his body. The Spectre forces his way in, which leaves Jim comatose.

So once again the Spectre is pulled against his will before the Voice. There is no reference to the events of the previous issue, or the weakness concept. Instead, the Spectre is demoted in power, and forced to carry the Journal of Judgement, and only act on what the book contains.

So that is what happens. The next story in the issue, by Denny O'Neil and Bernie Wrightson, is narrated by the Spectre, in House of Mystery style.

It's an enjoyable romp about a magician who makes a deal with the devil for a mystic device, the Abraca-Doom, which provides him limitless power as long as he does not come within 6 feet of a second device. Which, of course, happens at the climax of the tale. The Spectre's role in the story is small, and pretty much patterned on the way the Phantom Stranger is often used, popping up to warn the magician about the deal, give him advice that he refuses to take, and oversee the bitter finale.

The last story in the issue, by Mark Hanerfeld and Jack Sparling, is a bit different. It follows a thief trying to evade the police. At first he stays in the shadows, but starts to get paranoid, so then tries to stay in the light.

Doesn't really matter, as he winds up literally in the Spectre's hands at the end of the brief tale.

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