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Thursday, 18 July 2019

The Spectre 13 - the Egyptian amulet

Charles Vess provides the cover for The Spectre 13 (April 1988), as Moench and Morrow continue with the Major Arcana storyline.

Continuing from the previous issue, Jim Corrigan and the Spectre set out to find the other two mystical objects that had escaped from Madame Xanadu's parlour. Kim Liang is left behind to guard the statue and crystal ball, while Xanadu herself keeps floating around in a sarcophagus. The Cult of the Blood Red Moon are behind this attack, and they go after Xanadu again, though the effect of their latest attack is not revealed until the end of the issue.

Jimmy, a teenage boy who is picked on at school, and treated shabbily by his parents, is the one to find the Egyptian amulet, which has a scarab attached to it. Wearing it, Jimmy discovers that he can control anyone just by touching them, and turns the school bullies into his slaves. At first Jimmy's actions are for self-protection, and later to humiliate those who have humiliated him. But as the story goes on, the boy becomes more vengeful and power mad.

He orders his school slaves to attack and kill his parents during the night, figuring they will then get arrested by the police, and all his tormentors will be gone. By that point, though, both the Spectre and Corrigan are on his case. Corrigan doesn't want the Spectre to kill the kid, understanding where his anger comes from, and that the amulet has exploited the situation.

They retrieve the amulet from Jimmy, and the Spectre refrains from killing the boy. But after they leave, we see that the amulet has had a permanent affect on the boy, who is now more callous and manipulative.

When they return to Madame Xanadu's they find that her mouth has been magically removed, and Kim Liang is now inside the crystal ball, a prisoner of Fingers.

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