First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.35: The Spectre #24

What happens after Invasion? Siskoid and Bass uncover the secrets of the meta-gene in The Spectre #24! And since they recorded on Free Comic Book Day, they went out to the comic book store to take the podcast to the people! Do they remember the Invasion?

Listen to Episode 35 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings may apply), or subscribe to First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: First Strike ep.35 Supplemental

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23 responses to “First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.35: The Spectre #24

  1. A “pulp horror” character who reekes of the 40’s in a “cyber punk” setting that reeks of the 80’s, this story ages weirdly. I think I like it, but it could be my love of the weird showing again.

  2. I loved the comic shop stuff! I have thought about trying to do something like that and Free Comic Book Day is the perfect time. Unfortunately we had a sick kid so we missed out this year. :-(

    The Spectre always worked for me best as the big cosmic entity that shows up and lays the smack down, as in Crisis, and the origin of the JSA, where he just decimates a German U-boat fleet single-handedly. I had the Fox/Anderson Showcase run reprinted in the Adventure Comics digest. The battle with the demon throwing planets around was pretty out-there for DC of the time, and I loved it.

    And then there’s that awesome animated short where the Fleisher/Aparo run is funneled through a gritty 70s mystery/crime drama.

    Fun show fellas! I’m going to hate to see this show wrap up, but I just know you guys will come up with a worthy replacement project!

    1. Perhaps more a matter of not being the best fit for the Spectre, I dunno. He has the unlucky distinction of having worked on the Impact version of The Web (my least favorite Impact book) and a (not his fault) She-Hulk run that disappointed me.

      And I think you put it correctly, I was underwhelmed. It’s just a lack of enthusiasm, I’m not at all saying he lacked talent or style.

      1. As a fan of Gerber & Artis (and Keown and Maguire covers), I always put those She-Hulk issues back whenever I’m bin diving. Something must’ve not been clicking there, as I find them oddly repellant. And I’m with ya on the Web.

        F&W Network dwellers will certainly be familiar with the Justice Society of America mini from the early 90s; the 2 Tom Artis-drawn issues are super elegant, Paul Smith-level. Pretty stuff.

  3. I have a problem with the cosmic/mystic-level characters like Dr Fate and The Spectre. Their power set makes for quick story wrap-ups, so they always have to be taken out of things with some ridiculous reason that doesn’t hold up upon the slightest of scrutiny.

    I should probably check out that Ostrander/Mandrake run.
    And I should probably pick up more comics starring that Melbourne character. Really looking forward to seeing how satisfying is character arc can be.

  4. I had every issue of this Spectre run but got rid of them all when the Ostrander/Mandrake run came along. That was the Spectre I was looking for.

    I know you’re in the downhill run, but wondered if an unmarked tie in was on your radar. There’s a Swamp Thing issue that shows the effect on hell caused by the sudden influx of dead aliens. I’ll see if I can look up the issue number.

    Favourite alien: The Thing.

      1. Also, Swamp Thing 84 includes John Constantine explaining to Abby why the Dominators targeted Alec. Apparently their technology was plant-based meaning he was a player they had to take off the board.

  5. Congrats on completing your mission guys. Loved the FCBD stuff as well, a nice touch.

    I don’t know if I agree that the Spectre only works as a side character, but making him not quite so powerful undoubtedly helps–when Fleischer and Aparo did their run on the character, he was less about picking up planets than buzz-sawing small-time crooks.

  6. Thank you for the interesting discussion. I’m only familiar with the Spectre’s appearances in big crossover events, where he can be used more effectively (even if that’s not always the case). Thinking about what you said, I agree that it would be difficult to use such a character in an ongoing monthly series.

    There were a lot of parallels drawn between the Spectre and Ghost Rider, another character with whom I’m not terribly familiar. I was curious if Ghost Rider has had similar problems sustaining an ongoing title? If not, it would be interesting to look at the reason why. From what little I know of Ghost Rider, though he has a similar mandate, he doesn’t operate at the same power level as the Spectre. Perhaps, that makes him easier to write.

    Also, my favorite alien species is probably the Mon Calamari from the Star Wars movies.

  7. I’ve gotta be honest, fellas. I couldn’t follow this story at all. I mean this as no reflection on you! I’ve been listening to you analyze and re-cap ancillary Invasion stories for months! I’ve read many of Siskoid’s summaries on the Legion of Super-Bloggers site. But, this one…zzzzzzz.
    Perhaps it’s partly my negative reaction to changing a character. Jim Corrigan is a ghost who can assume his human guise. Jim Corrigan has a ghost in his body. The ghost used to be Jim Corrigan, now he isn’t. etc. And based on the story samples you included, I’m not intrigued. Part of the reason for many Spectre stories, long ago, was the creative and original ways the character would mete out justice. On the page you shared, the evil-doer has killed a cat, using a knife. The Spectre explodes a brick and becomes a sort of wind down his throat. What more appropriate ways could the Spectre have responded? One by one, bricks burst out of the wall, each one becoming a cat who attack the bad guy. The hand holding the knife becomes a cat’s paw and starts to stab the other parts of the body. The hand with the knife stays the same, but the rest of the guy turns into a cat, resulting in more self-stabbing. The dead cat’s other eight lives manifest themselves for revenge. Any other ideas?

    1. I love it. That’s my kind of Spectre vengeance. It’s just not what Moench was doing in that series, probably part of why it’s rarely praised.

  8. I guess we’re in the denoument of the podcast now. (yes, I left in the misspelling. Gotta own it.) I only picked up an issue or two of this Spectre, and it sounds like I didn’t miss much. Ostrander/Mandrake hooked me from its first issue, especially coming off their Firestorm run. Great stuff.

    Wow. Praxis introduced here. That fascinates my JLI-brain. I almost have to look up this storyline just to see if his powers are the same by the time of JLQ.

    Speaking of JLI, did somebody say “Justice League Europe”? Oh yes!!!

    1. Oh wait! About the metagene! Let’s not discount puns in people’s names. The interaction between names and powers is too frequent to be a coincidence. Perhaps rather than a “metahuman gene”, it’s a “metaphysical gene”. It interacts with the subconscious of not just the person, but those associated with him, and the resulting powers are driven by the collective impression of the metagene holder.

      The phrase “that’s so meta” is commonplace today, but didn’t even exist then. Could it be a “meta gene?” Hmmm!

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