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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

The Spectre
Tales of the Unexpected


Author: David Lapham
Artists: Eric Battle and Tom Mandrake
Titan Books
RRP: £9.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 668 9
ISBN-10: 1 84576 668 7
Available 22 February 2008

In a tenement slum in Gotham, an unspeakable murder has occurred, and every soul living in the building is a suspect. The Spectre must use Crispus Allen's detective instincts to solve the murder and punish the wicked. But Gotham City has no shortage of wicked people who need punishment, and Crispus Allen soon finds himself in danger of losing his humanity to the inhuman task he has been presented with. And when the grisly evidence of the Spectre's supernatural killing spree starts piling up, Allen finds himself under investigation by his old colleagues in the GCPD... not to mention Gotham's other protector - the Batman...

Tales of the Unexpected is the new The Spectre graphic novel from DC Comics. The Spectre is one of the most powerful beings in the universe - the living spirit of the divine wraith - who must be bound to a human host to deliver his dark justice.

The Spectre has once again joined with a human - murdered cop Crispus Allen, formerly of the Gotham City Police Department. Allen desperately tries to focus the vast anger of the Spectre in an attempt to turn it into a force for redemption. But, when faced with a murder mystery in a tenement where everyone has a guilty secret, will Allen himself be consumed by the Spectre's rage?

David Lapham (Stray Bullets, Murder Me Dead, Silverfish) does an admirable job with this collection. Getting Allen's balance just right is not an easy task to pull off. Make him too soft and there's no way that people would believe that he could even begin to try and control the Spectre - make him too hard and he becomes too much of a caricature of male macho stereotypes.

Equally, Eric Battle and Tom Mandrake's illustrations provide just the right level of darkness for this graphic novel. Packed to bursting with action and suspense, Tales of the Unexpected is a hit.


Nick Smithson

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