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Monday, 22 July 2019

The Spectre 31 - the series ends

Pat Broderick and Bruce Patterson provide a beautiful cover for The Spectre 31 (Nov 89), the final issue of the run. Moench and Mayo wind up the two part possession story in this issue, but otherwise the series just sort of ends, as opposed to coming to a conclusion.

Still, it's a good story to go out on, one of the better ones from the run. Betty Bumphus is able to wrest control of her body back from the demon, and calls down the Spectre for not being able to do the same. She is right on that count, though the Spectre tries to justify the situation by pointing out that, since his demotion, he is now a tool in other people's hands. Hmmm. Perhaps there is a bit more to the truth behind that statement than has been apparent in the series.

Anyway, the husband and wife finally turn on each other as well. The resentment both of them have felt for decades about the murder of the brother has helped to create the evil atmosphere in the house.

Gina gets a few pages of running around being freaked out by everything that she sees, but it works well. Much in the same fashion as Shelley Duvall at the end of The Shining. The possessed daughter murders her father, and Gina sees the Spectre turn into Jim Corrigan, revealing his secret.

But Betty Bumphus is still the only one able to act in any sort of effective and rational way. She has one of the bones of the dead brother, and tries to use against the possessed girl, but the ground springs up from below, impaling and killing her. The girl's skin splits open, and the demon emerges from her, but the Spectre is once again in control of himself, and drives the demon back to hell.

The end of the story has the family mourning both the father and the dead brother, and Gina mourning Betty, but the page before it has the final conflict between the Spectre and Jim Corrigan, with Jim furious that the Spectre did nothing to save Betty, and won't go to hell to rescue her now. The Spectre seems far less concerned about Betty's death, or even Jim's concerns, than he has been previously. Or perhaps I am just reading that into the scene, knowing what Ostrander will do when he brings the character back a couple of years down the road.

Not a terrible series, but not the best Spectre incarnation either.

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