Spooks, Spectres, Science, and Snakes


The Brave and the Bold #26

Another team-up between an established DC character and one of the characters from Milestone Media — this time, it’s the Spectre joining up with Xombi, a man named David Kim who’s been injected with nanites that make him immortal, but with the danger that anyone touching him when he gets injured may get scavenged by the nanites for biological material to rebuild David. The original Milestone “Xombi” series was marked by an almost Grant-Morrisonesque level of weirdness, including a couple of Catholic superheroes called Catholic Girl and Nun of the Above, villains called the Sheer Shears that had scissors in place of their heads and couldn’t be harmed by anything that was derived from written knowledge, and evil homunculi formed from the carcasses of insects that had died trapped between windows.

We actually start out with that level of weirdness — the Spectre tracks down a sadistic serial killer named Ray Walker and kills him, but Walker becomes a ghost who specializes in killing other ghosts. Heaven won’t allow the Spectre to take care of Walker’s ghost, because he’s only allowed to punish the guilty if they’re still alive. David Kim is alerted to the problem by a psychic investigator and takes part in a seance where the medium’s ectoplasmic spirit guide is eaten by Walker, killing her and several other attendees of the ritual. David and the investigator escape and summon the Spectre to ask for his help — when he refuses, David appeals to the Spectre’s human host, Crispus Allen, hoping that as a former cop, Allen won’t be willing to let a perp get away. But if the Spectre still refuses, can the Xombi take down the murderous ghost by himself?

Verdict: Thumbs down. It starts with a great hook, with the serial killing ghost who preys on other ghosts, but it never develops into anything more interesting. David Kim is portrayed well, but the Spectre is, as usual, wasted. And the art is just plain spectacularly awful.


JSA vs. Kobra #3

Kobra has been three steps in front of the Justice Society the entire time — every time the heroes go to stop one crisis, they end up failing to prevent a bigger tragedy, or being misdirected away from the Kobra cult’s true target. After their latest failure to prevent a massacre, they return home to find that Kobra has hacked into their computers. The team finds evidence that suggests that the cultists are going to attack Opal City, former home of several different the Golden Age Starman, Ted Knight, and his son, Jack, a more modern version. While the rest of the Justice Society is occupied with a pointless battle against Kobra’s expendable cultists, Mr. Terrific realizes that Kobra’s new leader is going to raid the Starman Museum — and he still gets outmaneuvered, as Kobra ends up with Ted Knight’s scientific notes and his advanced technological inventions.

Verdict: I think I’ll give this one a thumbs down, too. For the most part, this series has been focusing solely on Mr. Terrific and Power Girl — the rest of the Justice Society are there as backup players. Heck, most of them don’t even have lines. They may as well be scenery. The Justice Society has some of the DC Universe’s most interesting characters — I don’t know why no one seems to want to use more of them.

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  1. Maxo Said,

    August 21, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

    Strangely enough, your review of Brave and the Bold makes me want to find old issues of Xombi — that sounds like some pretty cool concepts.

    And it’s probably stupid, but I just can’t get used to Spectre with a goatee.

  2. Scott Slemmons Said,

    August 21, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

    I’ve always been a bit surprised that DC hasn’t put out some of the Milestone books in trade paperback — especially now that they’ve been re-introducing them. Putting out some quick TPBs would be a great way to introduce the characters to new readers, as well as checking to see if any of them are popular enough for ongoing series of their own.

    And yeah, I like Crispus Allen as a character, but he’s not working as the Spectre. The Spectre’s been bad messed up for years, and only I know how to fix him, as I think I’ve said before…