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This issue presents four reprinted stories which originally appeared in four different issues of Adventure Comics.

The first story in this issue originally appeared in Adventure Comics issues 437 (“The Human Bombs and the Spectre”  1975).

The story opens with New York City Police Detective Lieutenant Jim Corrigan dropping by a Manhattan television show room. While pondering the purchase of a new TV, Corrigan hears a report that Gwen Sterling was kidnapped. He returns to the police station asks his captain for permission to leave the homicide division temporarily so that he can hunt for Gwen. The captain grants Corrigan's request.

At an abandoned bauxite mill in upstate New York, the kidnappers deliver Gwen to a mad scientist. The kidnappers ask for their money for kidnapping Gwen, the last person on the scientist's list; instead, the mad scientist directs their attention to a stroboscopic hyno-wheel. He hypnotizes them and orders them to jump into a water tank where barricuda feed on the henchmen.

The mad scientist then hypnotizes the seven people he kidnapped and orders them to carry bombs to banks and jewelry stores for robberies. The first kidnapping victim, Mr. Vanderhaven, is unable to take money away from the bank, so he pushes the bomb’s button and destroys himself and the people who tried to stop him. After the first demonstration of the bomb’s effectiveness, the six other kidnapped and hypnotized victims are able to obtain money and jewelry without resistance from the employees.

After a few days, a hypnotized Gwen arrives at Tiffany’s Jewelry Store and demands jewels. The police have established a telephone hotline by this time whenever a human bomb attempts to rob a business, so Corrigan is able to drive quickly to the robbery scene before Gwen leaves. He realizes Gwen is in a trance, so he lets her take his car.  Then, as the Spectre, he follows her to the mad scientist’s hideout.

Inside the abandoned mine, the Spectre emerges from the stroboscopic hyno-wheel and confronts the mad scientist.  The mad scientist orders the remaining six kidnapping victims to surround the Spectre and bomb him. But before they are able to explode the bombs, the Spectre transforms the bombs into melting wax, then is able to stare down each one, breaks them from their hypnotic trance, and causes them to forget their roles in their robberies.

The mad scientist tries to shock the Spectre with 200,000 volts of electricity, but the Spectre plays with the electricity between his gauntlets as if there was not danger at all.

The mad scientist flees to another spot in the mine.  After luring the Spectre to a trap door over a pit of alligators, the mad scientist releases a lever, hoping the Spectre will fall to his death. The Spectre, however, floats over the open pit. The Spectre hypnotizes the mad scientist who walks directly to the pit and jumps to his death among the alligators.

The second story originally appeared in Adventure Comics issue 438 (“The Spectre Haunts the Museum of Fear” April, 1975). The story opens outside New York’s Museum of Natural History. Two workers help an insane museum curator move a drugged victim inside the museum for a murder and taxidermy work so the victim will become part of a lifelike display in the museum.

The next morning In Sayville, Herman Miller, a postal worker, makes his rounds delivering the mail. Two men jump from a truck and put chloroform to his mouth. Herman falls unconscious. The insane museum professor warns the henchmen to be careful with this perfect specimen for his exhibit. Inside the museum Herman unexpectedly awakens. He grabs a taxidermist’s knife and tries to escape. The henchmen realize that Herman is too difficult to subdue, so they shoot and kill him. The professor only moans that the henchman has ruined this specimen for the exhibit.

The next morning the mailman’s body is found on a dock with the knife still in his hand.  New York Police Detective Lieutenant Jim Corrigan begins the murder investigation.

Later that day, a businessman is subdued for the professor’s American Businessman exhibit. But the professor has run out of his taxidermy materials.

A police car radio warns about a taxidermy store being robbed and Corrigan responds. At the taxidermy store, Corrigan turns into the Spectre, and with his eyes of death, he kills one of the store robbers. The Spectre then transforms into an exact replica of the dead man and goes with the other man back to the museum. Inside the museum, he changes again into the Spectre and then animates gorillas from a museum display to kill the professor and the remaining henchman.

The third story originally appeared in Adventure Comics issue 439 (“The Voice that Doomed the Spectre” 1975). Gwen Sterling is at a bank making a deposit when bank robbers enter the bank. One of the robbers uses a machine gun to kill the bank manager. The robbers take Gwen hostage and flee with the bank money. The bank's silent alarm warned Jim Corrigan of the bank heist. Corrigan arrives and recognizes Gwen is being taken as a hostage.  Corrigan transforms into the Spectre so that he can follow the robbers to their hideout.

At their hideout, Gwen lies on the floor with her wrists and ankles tied while one of the robbers attempts to open the valise to count the money. The Spectre emerges from the bag. Two of the bankrobbers aim a pistol or a machine gun at the Spectre. The bullets pass through him without damage. The Spectre summons three giant snakes and claims that the robbers will enjoy eternal rest after the snakes constrict and kill them. After the snakes disappear, Jim releases Gwen.

During the drive to her home, Gwen again announces that she is in love with Jim and wants to marry Jim. Jim again rebuffs her hopes with the claim that he is nothing more than a ghost.

Gwen sobs as she watches Jim drive away. She thinks she’ll never forget Jim.

That night at his apartment, Corrigan thinks about Gwen and wishes for a life as a normal man. He asks for a release from his role as the Spectre. A voice from the stars, unheard by Corrigan, agrees to restore Corrigan to a normal body.

The next day, Corrigan gets a phone call. Captain Stanley informed Jim that a hitman named Nick Shawn is trapped in a nearby apartment building. After Jim arrives and sizes up the situation, he decides to climb the fire escape, thinking that he’ll explain he had a bullet proof vest if shots are fired at him.  Corrigan is suprised to discover that bullets lodge in his body.  Wounded and bleeding, Jim realizes he is no longer invulnerable to bullets and falls off the fire escape. He is taken to a hospital.

After a week of recuperation, Corrigan is discharged. Wearing a sling on his right arm, Corrigan drives to Gwen Sterling’s estate. He surprises her, telling her that he is a normal person again.  He proposes marriage to Gwen, and she immediately accepts with a passionate kiss.

At the close of the story, Corrigan’s wedding plans are announced in the newspaper. Underworld figures, who have a beef with Corrigan, ponder how they might prevent the wedding.

The fourth story originally appeared in Adventure Comics, issue 440 (“The Second Death of the Spectre” 1975). New York Police Detective Lieutenant Jim Corrigan gets a tip that “Ducky” McLaren and his gang want to give up their life of crime, but will surrender only to Corrigan.

When Corrigan arrives alone at the designated location for the McLaren gang's surrender, he worries that he is no longer invulnerable. He finds out too late that he has been set up by the tipster and Ducky McLaren. Corrigan is riddled with bullets and dies. McLaren's thugs turn their guns on the tipster and kill him also.  Then, Corrigan's body is left at Gwen Sterling’s door.

A memorial service is held for Corrigan at the cemetery. Jim's spirit is called by the celestial voice back to service as the Spectre. Corrigan transforms into the Spectre and immediately moves to avenge his own death.  The Spectre passes through a wall of the McLaren hideout and breaks up a card game. The Spectre transforms McLaren’s rubber duck into a giant animated killer. Some of the McLaren gang try to flee in a car, but the Spectre enlarges his size, picks up the car like a toy, and hurls it into space.

At the close of the story, at Gwen Sterling’s home, she lies on her bed, staring at Jim’s picture. She is still devastated at Jim’s death. Jim appears as a ghost and tells her that he is once again the spectral shadow and he is again fulfilling his destiny to be evil’s executioner. Even knowing that Jim is again active as the Spectre, Gwen feels as if she has lost the love of her life.

 

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