The Spectre: Tales of the Unexpected

the spectre tales of the unexpected cover trade paperback tpb
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Art: 8/10

Spectre is interesting

Poor collection that doesn't tell whole story

Comic Info

Comic Name: Tales of the Unexpected (Limited Series)

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: David Lapham

Artist: Eric Battle/Prentis Rollins/Tom Mandrake

# of Issues: 5

Release Date: 2007

tales of the unexpected #5 cover spectre

Tales of the Unexpected (Limited Series) #5

Reprints Tales of the Unexpected (Limited Series) #4-8 (March 2007-July 2007).  Crispus Allen finds himself tortured as the host for the Spectre and unable to help the people he used to protect as an officer.  Murderers and criminals are allowed to continue to run rampant as Allen is only able to enact justice after the crime.  As Driver investigates the murder of slumlord Leonard Krieger, the Spectre is conducting his own investigation…and the guilty will be punished!

Written by David Lapham, The Spectre:  Tales of the Unexpected is a DC Comics comic book collection.  Featuring art by Eric Battle, Prentis Rollins, and Tom Mandrake, the series collects part of the Tales of the Unexpected limited series, but it does not collect the Doctor Thirteen portions of the issues.

I liked Stray Bullets and find David Lapham to be a solid writer.  I really enjoyed Gotham Central and this series seemed like a natural progression.  The problem I have with the volume is that it is a really strange, unnecessarily unbalanced collection.

tales of the unexpected #6 cover spectre phantom stranger

Tales of the Unexpected (Limited Series) #6

The series was intentionally collecting Lapham’s run which started with Tales of the Unexpected #4.  Unfortunately, much of the story happened in the first part of the volume.  The collection is so small and it feels like it should have just collected the other three issues despite the author change.  It has a small summery, but it largely leaves the reader in the lurch as to what is happening and who the players are…it is a disservice to the reader.

The story is largely Crispus Allen’s battle with the Spectre for control (a battle he is losing).  This would have been a fine subject for the story, but the larger and dominant thread running through the collection is the mystery surrounding the death of a tenement landlord.  Since this is the main plot, it is even worse that you don’t see the events leading up to the collection.

The Spectre is a potentially interesting character.  He is overly powerful and difficult to write because he is a supernatural being.  I hated the Hal Jordan period of the character, and Crispus Allen seems to at least be a better direction.  The series could have been fun and might be fun…if we had gotten to see all of it collected.  With only eight issues total, I don’t see why that wasn’t possible.  The Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang Doctor Thirteen portion of the series were collected as Doctor 13:  Architecture and Mortality.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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