The last time we looked at an issue of John Ostrander's Spectre run, it was a fill-in artist issue about a scientist that created life but didn't respect it. This time, we've got that good Tom Mandrake stuff goin'.
Jim Corrigan, and by extension the Spectre, aren't doing too well. A good friend of his died a few issues earlier while the Spectre was tangled up fighting a demon. Jim, being a man from the 1920s and 1930s, deals with his grief like you'd expect: He lashes out. Problem being, he's attached to God's Spirit of Vengeance, so the blast radius is pretty wide.
The issue begins with the Spectre in the Sinai, debating whether to just destroy the planet since humanity is such a bunch of assholes. I identify with that mood. The Phantom Stranger pops up to tell him that wouldn't be allowed. Spectre's not even sure if he'll do it, but if he does, who's gonna stop him?
I said Etrigan was cheerful, not that he was intelligent.
That's as far as that plotline gets this month. The rest of the issue follows the Spectre, who ventures on to Cairo. A major Palestinian leader is there as part of peace talks, and the Israeli super-powered security group Ostrander and Yale introduced in Suicide Squad, the Hayoth, are there too. But not to kill him. While Saad had committed attacks against Israel, including some that took the lives of their leader Colonel Hacohen's family, he's pushing for peace now, enough extremists on both sides hate him. Better to protect him, and spare more innocent blood.
Well, a certain chalk-white spook in a green cloak has other plans for someone with innocent blood on his hands. The mage Ramban senses his approach, but the Golem's attempt to smash the Spectre gets him scattered over the landscape. Ramban's a little tougher, because his magic draws on the same power that fuels the Spectre. He tries reasoning with the Spectre, that killing Saad will result in more death, but the Spectre brushes that off. He'll just kill those murderers, and anyone else who kills in response to their murders. Brilliant. DC's Spirit of Vengeance may have needed to pass a literacy test, but clearly wasn't imbued with common sense. God must have created that on the 9th Day.
Considering he killed every single person in the civil war-torn country of Vlatava, minus the rival leaders, literally two issues earlier, because he deemed everyone a murderer? Seems like a risky gamble, especially if you're a person who was part of a covert government strike force. Really doubt Ramban's hands are clean, you know? But the Spectre leaves, though his opinion of humanity hasn't improved. And now Eclipso's got plans to take advantage of his unbalanced state. . .
There's a couple more issues to go in this story, and then there's some understandable fallout. Suffice to say, the Phantom Stranger's plan to attack the Spectre is a bust, but a different group has a little more success reaching Corrigan.
[10th longbox, 15th comic. The Spectre (vol. 3) #15, by John Ostrander (writer), Tom Mandrake (artist), Carla Feeny and Digital Chameleon (colorists), Todd Klein (letterer)]