The Green Lantern Corps Podcast

The Wraith of the Spectre

Posted in Profiles by mrread7 on May 17, 2008

Finally, I come to the Spectre, one of the most feared characters in the DC Universe and one that has been tied to Hal Jordan for the last ten years. The Spectre is the Spirit of Vengeance or better known as God’s wraith given form. For years the Spectre has had several hosts to seek a more darker form of Justice. One version even served with the Justice Society for a number of years. Now, like in the two Crisis before, the Spectre is taking a central stand in Final Crisis. Here is the story of the current Spectre:

Originally from Metropolis, Detective Crispus Allen was a fortysomething police veteran transferred to Gotham City where he was partnered with detective Renee Montoya on the Gotham City Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit. Allen had a loving wife and two teenaged sons, whom he put above his job and the safety of others when Gotham was in crisis. Allen saw Batman as a necessary evil, not wanting to deal with him but tolerating his presence. Their occasional interactions illustrated his views on Batman, notably during Brian Azzarello’s Broken City storyline. Allen was an agnostic who doubted the existence of God in spite of his family’s strong faith. One night Allen and his partner, Renee Montoya, spotted gang members apparently preparing for some sort of violent action. Allen requested backup, but the two opted not to wait for the backup to arrive. Following the gang into a deserted building, the detectives found several murdered men as well as two large gang members. Allen tailed the suspects while Montoya scouted the rest of the building. The Black Spider suddenly appeared at the crime scene, firing upon Montoya. The first few shots hit Montoya, but she was protected by her bulletproof vest. Black Spider then aimed at her head, but Allen shot and killed the villain before he could pull the trigger.
The Internal Affairs department later took the story from Allen, as well as his gun, and put him on temporary leave until his story could be corroborated. The course of the investigation should have been straightforward. Complications arose, however, when a new crime scene technician named Jim Corrigan stole important evidence — the bullet that killed Black Spider — from the scene.
The Internal Affairs investigator in charge of Allen’s case told Montoya about the missing bullet and suggested Corrigan’s connection to its disappearance. Montoya found Corrigan and forced him to reveal the location of the bullet. After it was recovered, Allen was allowed to return to active duty. However, Montoya’s actions destroyed an ongoing Internal Affairs investigation into Corrigan’s misconduct. This left Allen angry and disappointed in her because he had secretly started his own investigation of Corrigan, which Montoya’s actions also compromised. Allen continued his investigation (which took place during the events of Infinite Crisis), but Corrigan was tipped off. Corrigan found Allen’s informant and beat him to death. Corrigan let Allen find the informant’s body before shooting Allen in the back and killing him (in Gotham Central #38). By tampering with the evidence at the crime scene, Corrigan managed to “get off clean”. Allen’s unavenged death pushed Montoya to an emotional breakdown, and she subsequently decided to quit the force in disgust at the system.

In Infinite Crisis #4, while Allen’s body is in the morgue, the Presence forces the Spectre to accept Allen as his new host. Later, the magic users of Earth assemble at Stonehenge to call forth the Spectre and usher in the new age of magic. Allen appears in a ghostly version of his own form before making his first official transformation into the Spectre. The Spectre then kills Star Sapphire for her past crimes before vanishing, leaving the assembled magic users confused and fearful.
In the first issue of Infinite Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre, “Dead Again Part One”, the Spectre confronts Crispus Allen. He has come to realize that he needs a host to humanize him in order to know what his mission really means. Allen refuses his request, wanting no further involvement in the Spectre’s vigilante work.
The Spectre then leaves Allen for a year (presumably about the same as the year depicted in 52). During that time, Allen sees that he cannot help or communicate with his family, still shattered because Jim Corrigan will not be called to account for Allen’s murder. In addition, while the former detective can solve crimes — and even learns Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne — he cannot bring the culprits to justice. This includes Corrigan, his own killer.
After a year of being unseen and powerless, Allen receives another visit from the Spectre. This time he finally takes the offer, and becomes the Spectre’s human host. Their first mission together is to bring ghoulishly appropriate justice to a child molester. While troubled, Allen is satisfied by the knowledge that, “He [the Spectre] needs me more than I need him.”
Using Crispus’ own son, Mal, whom he says must be killed for his homicide of Corrigan, as an example, the Spectre proceeds to explain the point set during Hal Jordan’s tenure as the Spectre. Crispus accepts the task. This final notion leads Crispus to embrace fully the role of moral anchor of the Spectre. In Countdown To Mystery, Crispus and the Spectre, accompanied by the spirit of a criminal they killed, set out to foil Eclipso’s plans to corrupt superheroes. Barry Allen recently stated that Allen is not using the full potential of the Spectre even if he is delivering justice in an “effective matter”.

Since they just released previews that the Spectre is going to truly use his power during Final Crisis, it’s a safe bet Crispus Allen is going to show what it means to be the Spectre.


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