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Thursday, 18 July 2019

The Spectre Annual 1 - Deadman possesses the Spectre, and Kim Liang and the gumball creature

There are two stories in The Spectre Annual 1, both written by Moench. The lead story teams up the Spectre with Deadman, while Kim Liang is given the "Private Lives" back up tale. Arthur Adams provides the cover, which is, unfortunately, the best thing about the issue.

Jim Baikie provides the art on the first story, which begins in the depths of Hell. Demons have constructed a sort of womb out of the bones of the worst people in history, from which an evil child is born.

This entity can adopt any form, and chooses Hitler to begin with, but then switches to a more androgynous Nordic look. It comes to Earth to destroy the Chosen, once they start evolving, a reference to the events of Millennium.

The entity wants to increase the level of evil on the planet that it can draw from, so it turns a man into a werewolf. Deadman, and later the Spectre, get involved when the werewolf starts attacking people.

This pisses the demon off, so it moves on to a new goal, to attack Deadman and the Spectre, by going after their friends. Since Deadman has no friends who are taking part in this story, it just goes after the Spectre's supporting cast. What happened to the Chosen? They've been forgotten already.

There are some moments I really do like. The entity attacks both the Spectre and Jim Corrigan, leaving Corrigan bleeding to death and the Spectre trapped far from him, so that they will not be able to merge and will eventually die. Deadman provides what light moments there are in the story, as he can be seen by Madame Xanadu but not Kim Liang. When Deadman takes over Xanadu's body, her bizarre change of behaviour is actually funny. She even starts shooting a big gun. But forcing her out of her home and into such action is actually quite detrimental to her.

They find Jim Corrigan, and while the women bring him to the Spectre, Deadman inhabits the ghost's body, keeping him alive until the merger can be completed.

The two then head down to Hell, defeating the demon by inhabiting and destroying the bones it was made from. Lots of sound and fury, but not much of a story. I wish it had played more off the fact that, at this time, the Spectre could only inhabit unliving things, and Deadman could only inhabit living things.

Gordon Purcell and Doug Hazelwood handle Kim Liang's back-up story, which begins with her cleaning the office, and finding a lost gumball. She briefly puts it into her mouth, which incubates it, and the gumball gives birth to one of those creatures from the very first story arc.

The tale is played largely for comedy. Kim unwittingly carries the little monster home in her purse, and it causes disasters along the way which she simply doesn't notice.

We meet Kim's roommate, Cynner, who will return in later issues. By this point, the creatures are multiplying, but it's still Cynner who actually notices them first. They leap onto Kim's rock garden, using the carefully placed stones as weapons. Eventually the Spectre shows up to save them.

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