The Spectre may not be one of DC’s most iconic superhero characters, but he’s certainly one of their oldest, having been around for 76 years. Over those decades he’s gone through some changes and revamps, but in this week’s Gotham By Midnight, Jim Corrigan has been overhauled in a major, legacy-defining manner.
Spoilers, of course, for this week’s Gotham by Midnight #9
For those unfamiliar with The Spectre, Corrigan’s origins have always had a spiritual connection: Corrigan, a police detective, is possessed by a spirit—sometimes even depicted as an Angel—of divine judgement that can take over his body to become The Spectre, on a mission from God to eliminate evil and injustice from the world (usually in a spectacularly violent manner). That’s essentially been what The Spectre has been about for his entire comics history, a Divine hero acting out God’s will—something that continued in his most recent appearance in Gotham By Midnight, where Corrigan heads up a Gotham PD taskforce investigating supernatural crime in the city.
That is, until now.
Gotham By Midnight #9 sees Corrigan’s dual life bonded with The Spectre come under scrutiny from his fellow detectives, as they begin to piece together that Corrigan’s cases never end in arrests, but with bodies in his wake. Corrigan is interrogated, but he denies that The Spectre follows his will—that it merely follows the will of God. But the intensity of the interrogation rattles Corrigan and he loses control of The Spectre, who possesses him and proceeded to brutally murder the two Detectives in the room, before delivering a shocking revelation:
The Spectre never followed a divine will: Just Corrigan’s. Corrigan was never a tool of justice, but a supernatural murderer. And now he’s just killed two of his colleagues in cold blood. It pushes The Spectre from a divine hero to essentially a murderous villain.
It’s an interesting twist, and not all too dissimilar to what Alan Moore once did to Swamp Thing in the iconic story The Saga of Swamp Thing (where it was revealed that the creature was never actually the transformed Alec Holland, but simply had Holland’s memories) in 1984—but hopefully it’s something writers will actually get to pick up on with The Spectre. Considering that Gotham By Midnight was recently announced as one of the DC You titles coming to an end this December, the series might not have the time left to really deliver on a twist like this.
If the game has been changed forever for Jim Corrigan, we better get to see the ramifications sometime soon.
[Images via IGN]