Adventure Comics #439 (1975)
Though not well known outside of the comic book community, The Spectre is one of the most revered creations of DC Comics‘ Golden Age. But, forget him for a second, we need to talk about Batman. That Twinkies ad with Batman and Robin fighting a mummy from The Unexpected is back. Boy does it still rule.
The Spectre. The wrath of God. The ghost who walks…wait, that’s someone else. Anyway, undead detective Jim Corrigan finds himself transforming into The Spectre once again in “The Voice that Doomed The Spectre“. The title is actually pretty cool, as one could speculate which voice it was that actually doomed him. Let me explain.
Michael Fleisher crafts a tale wherein The Spectre pursues a group of domestic terrorists who have kidnapped his girlfriend Gwendolyn Sterling. While horribly torturing and killing the terrorists, that’s what The Spectre does, he contemplates how he’s had a normal life stripped away from him. The impetus? One of the terrorists antagonizing him while he fires a machine gun at him. This was also the cover, which leads me to believe that his voice may have brought the doom.
Jim Aparo provides art for the interior and the cover and, well, it’s Aparo, so it’s great. Corrigan soon finds himself in a little fight with Gwen over their future. He’s soon asking the nondescript higher power for a return to his normal life and is granted it. Now Jim and Gwen can finally live happily ever after.
Or can they?
Not if Ducky has anything to say about it. Yes, Ducky, a gangster who holds a rubber duck that he kind of talks through. Surely an arch-nemesis if I’ve ever seen one, had he not died in the next issue. It’s The Spectre, his villains don’t last long. Believe it or not, at the time, this was a big point of controversy. Though never gory, the book just barely met the newly loosened comics code. The Spectre is cruel, and they make it quite clear. If you love comic history, check out this run.
The Spectre is backed up by Earth 2’s Green Arrow and Speedy in “Father Time’s Inn”. This is the third part of a longer Seven Soldiers of Victory tale, one that was apparently an unused script from the golden age of comics. Joe Samachson writes, so it is entirely plausible. He is appropriately joined on art by Lee Elias and it truly has that golden age feel. We find our heroes in mid-adventure, but part of me is thankful for having no clue of what happened earlier. Ollie and Roy have found themselves at an Inn run by Father Time. That’s literal by the way, and the sun, a few moons and a few planets are arguing about their assignments. Of course, the slightly less popular dynamic duo get caught up in the fracas, end up fighting Mars and Mercury, almost end up signs of the zodiac and escape. Yeah, comic books rule.
Prices for Adventure Comics #439 vary greatly, but are generally under $10. Certainly worth the money if you’re completing your Fleisher/Aparo run.