Monday, 4 February 2013
Each Monday this year I'll be taking a look back at a random comic, prestige format issue, graphic novel or collection of reprints from amongst my 3,000 or so comics that date from 1962 to 2003 - I figured anything in the last ten years would be too recent to hark back to.
The comics are chosen completely at random and apart from a four week lead-in period, even I don't know what I'll be looking at in the weeks to come!
THE SPECTRE #8 - July 1993
John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake's take on The Spectre was to prove a defining one as the series went on; Ostrander's rationalising and deepening of Jim Corrigan's mission beyond the simplistic confronting of evil, coupled with Mandrake's consistently fantastic artwork would bring the character to the front of the DCU for the first time in years.
All that, however, was in the future. Here we're two thirds through the first twelve issue story arc, one that dealt with two themes: the return of Corrigan to police work and the string of killings by a serial killer called the Reaver. Corrigan had become close to Amy Beitermann, a social worker who had contracted HIV. She in turn had a friend in the police force, Nate Kane, who became determined to work out who Corrigan was while at the same time trying to track down the Reaver.
The police discover a connection between the Reaver's victims - each of the women was HIV positive - but Nate is forbidden to reveal this information to Amy in case she tells the media. At the same time, Nate discovers that Corrigan is the returned spirit of a dead cop. At Amy's home, he attempts to confront her about Corrigan but, as he's already there, it ends up with a battle between the two in Nate's mind where the Spectre's surprised to find some resistance.
Corrigan finally discovers Nate's fear of disease which underlies and hinders his relationship with Amy, and also reveals to her the fact of the HIV link in the Reaver's victims, leading to an angry Amy determined to spill the story.
It's a great first story arc, the supernatural elements being balanced by the all too human story of both Amy and Nate with Corrigan and the Spectre firmly in the middle. To my knowledge, only the first four issues have been collected which is a crying shame - at the very least, the entire series could fit into one or two Showcase Presents collections and it deserves to be brought to a wider audience. If you haven't read it, track it down.