I got a bunch of comics off of e-bay a few months ago and slipped into the middle of the stack was a copy of The Spectre #21. I am completely unfamiliar with the title. There is something really fun about going into a title blind. If you don’t really know what is going on you get to be introduced to something new and special.
That is exactly what I got reading issue #21 of The Spectre. The Spectre is James Corrigan, Private Investigator, but he is so much more. Inside of him dwells a creature that is sworn to vengeance. He hunts and finds people that have done evil and dispatches them. In this particular issue he is finding who murdered Jenny Dean.
Her husband has come to Corrigan to find out who the killer is, even though all the evidence points to him murdering his girlfriend. Once Corrigan has exhausted all of the corporeal investigation techniques that he can, The Spectre takes over to find the spirit of Jenny Dean. Find her he does, tied to a tree and tortured in Hell, and she is more than willing to tell The Specter who her murder is. Because she misses him, her boyfriend is the killer, and all she wants is for him to join her in Hell, because she is lonely, and understands that the PCP that her boyfriend took turned him into something that wasn’t the man she loved.
The Spectre returns and informs Corrigan that the killer must be killed. That revenge must be acted upon, something that Corrigan doesn’t agree with, but has no ability to stop.
The spirit of The Spectre in a lot of ways reminds me of The Ghost Rider, driven by vengeance with no mercy, and it is a testament to the writing ability of Doug Moench that the internal argument between Corrigan and The Spectre isn’t cheesy at all. It really fells like two sides of one man. The writing is bolstered by Vince Giarrano and Mark Badger who provide art that is dark and sinister. It plays a lot with the imagery of film noir (which is fitting as Corrigan is a private detective), and the scenes that take place in Hell have a dirty and unnerving feel. While The Spectre is in a lot of ways a super hero book, it is dark and brooding in a way that I love my supernatural superheroes to be. This is a great surprise for me, and I can’t wait to pick up more issues.