|The Spectre: Crimes and Punishments. Written by John Ostrander. Illustrated by Tom Mandrake. New York: DC Comics, 1993. 1v. (unpaged). price not found. ISBN 1-56389-127-1|
NOTE: This comic collects issues 1-4 of The Spectre (the revisionist version of 1992).
Intrigued by the mysterious man, Amy sets off in search of him, but finds only an empty office with a ghost in it. She runs from it into Madame Xanadu's office, and the mystic promises to let the Spectre know Amy's looking for him--and Amy has to promise to do the same for her.
Next, the Spectre witnesses what he thinks is a murder but turns out to be a ghost replaying her murder over and over. As both Jim Corrigan and the Spectre, he seeks out the various people supposedly involved in the murder, including her ex-husband, Mike Landau, who is in jail, awaiting execution. Although the Spectre determines Landau to be innocent, the man is pushed over the edge and commits suicide. Eventually, the Spectre finds the culprit and executes her. However, the ghost is still not put to rest, and Corrigan ponders his mistakes, both with Landau and the ghost.
Soon Amy and Corrigan hook up. Amy is at first terrified of him, but she is more curious than scared and returns to hear his tales. He takes her on a mental journey into his life, death, and rebirth as the Spectre. Appalled and angry, Amy makes it clear to the Spectre that he is unable to distinguish between genuine evil and mere guilt. She prompts him to examine a life that he's left untouched until now: his own.
The book also contains a lengthy introduction by Ostrander about how he and Mandrake updated the Spectre and made him a viable character rather than someone able to challenge God.
There's one bit of egregious silliness. When the Spectre enters the mind of the murdered woman's lover, he calls out, "This is YOUR soul, so you have the upper hand here...." Nothing like announcing one's weakness to one's opponent!
Mandrake's art is really slick, with lots of horrific images. He outdoes himself in depicting the Spectre's ingenious torments of his victims and of the various cosmic happenstances that make up the Spectre's memories.
An enjoyable book by one of my favorite comics writers. Recommended.
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