(October 2005)


Chapter Five: "The Particle Theory of Darkness"

Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Justiniano
Inker: Walden Wong
Colorist: Chris Chuckry
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Associate Editor: Michael Wright
Editor: Joey Cavalieri


Everybody is licking their wounds after last issue's slobberknocker. Eclipso and the Spectre have retreated to cold, distant outerspace, while the [Shadowpact], plus Captain Marvel and [Black Alice], have stepped back inside the Oblivion Bar, where [Detective Chimp] explains his plan over breakfast.

Black Alice

See, Black Alice has no magical powers of her own, but at any given moment can usurp (she calls it "borrowing", but we won't split hairs) the magical powers of another for a limited amount of time. The idea is to have her depower the Spectre long enough for the rest of the team to kill it.

To that end, they lay a trap by spreading a rumor out along the mystic grapevine meant to lure the Spectre and Eclipso to an out-of-the-way island in the Indonesian archipeligo. The trap is sprung and the Spectre is powerless, but what remains is merely an empty spirit, meaning that Black Alice can't press her advantage. Unable to lay a finger upon the Spectre, the rest of the team concentrates upon Eclipso.

Meanwhile, up at the Rock of Eternity, Captain Marvel has returned to the Wizard, who has had enough time to make his preparations for a battle against the Spectre. He hasn't got much faith in the Shadowpact, which he claims is a reoccuring name selected by mystical groups over the ages who are "notorious for championing lost causes."



Waiting to un-mousify

Cute issue. Narration is handled by Nightshade, and so I'm not disposed to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the previous two issues (as narrated by Blue Devil then Detective Chimp), since Nightshade is, for me, the least interesting of the group. That said, it's a fine installment.

The bulk of it is given over to the characters all regrouping or laying in wait, so it doesn't have the urgency that maybe you need in the fifth of six issues, but I don't didn't bother me. Read altogether as a collected mini-series, the pacing holds up fine, though I question how this issue might have played when it ran as a monthly.

Probably just fine, actually, given that it has been a while since I first read this, and at the moment, I'm fairly champing at the bit to see how this is going to wrap up.

To its credit, I loved the sequence towards the end in which Black Alice takes the Spectre's powers and attempts to make it answer for its crimes, only to discover that nothing is left but its ghostly, unpunishable presence.

Also, I love Justiniano's work. It's just stylized enough to be sort of charming without being distractingly cartoony. It's good, solid work from him.

One final word: Walt Simonson's cover to this one is bitchin'. "Can anything stop the Spectre?" Classic.

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