"Drowning in a Dry Sea": <div style="width:150px;float:right;clear:none;margin-right:10px;margin-left:10px;margin-top:5px;margin-bottom:5px;border:1px solid
- Power, Madame Xanadu... is seductive... It nearly kept me... lulling me... luring me onto new explorations of it... And so, power is also... destructive. It lied to me, showing me glimpses... feeding me tastes of my former omnipotence... all the while... actually killing me. Out there... like that, like a mist... linked to a thousand minds and a million thoughts... aware of it all... I seemed to take strength from the very pavement... from every brick in every wall, every rat in every gutter... every mortal caught in the miasma of my consciousness... and they were mine. I had power over all of it, everything I touched... I almost... stayed out there... until it would've been too late... thinking it would have been merely forever. The ecstasy in my new power... it was only the bliss of surrender... and release.
- -- Spectre
Appearing in "Drowning in a Dry Sea"
- Ellen (Single appearance)
- Joseph Sindone (Single appearance)
- Frankie (Single appearance)
- Madame Xanadu's Parlor
- Amato's Restaurant
- Hotel Vickar
Synopsis for "Drowning in a Dry Sea"
At night in Jim Corrigan's office, the Private Detective explains to his assistant Kim Liang, what the Spectre had explained to him that consciousness is of quantal nature, meaning it is omnipresent on a subatomical level. On regards to the term "higher consciousness", Spectre told Corrigan that it simply means each individual's consciousness that has become aware of itself and that of others in the very air around them.
Kim inquires as to why is Corrigan telling her about it all and he explains that Spectre had left his body earlier in the day and departed seeking to stop killers before they could commit the crimes, giving Corrigan that overtly complex explanation. Kim rightfully deduces that Spectre is a "higher consciousness" himself and this is precisely what has Corrigan worried. As this discussion takes place, a dense fog covers the streets of Greenwich Village and Madame Xanadu is alone in the private chambers of her parlor, laying naked in bed, with the windows wide open and experiencing a sexual delight with the mist breaking into the room and shrouding her shapely frame.
Throughout the night in the Village, Spectre haunts the streets disguised as the mist, seeking those consciousness that have already made a fatal decision. Spectre's first victim is a thug, who intended to kill an honest store owner in order to steal his money. Using his awesome powers, Spectre stops the would-be killer right before he could strike and surrounds him in fog before causing him a heart attack and destroying his firearm to pieces. As Spectre was dealing with the criminal, the fog disappears for a brief moment and Corrigan notices this, but the fog returns shortly afterwards and Madame X pleads for it to never leave her again. Corrigan notices there's something amiss, but he is far more concerned about the Spectre's actions. Previously, he used to have control over the spirit, but now he is simply a host, watching as Spectre delivers unholy retribution. Kim compares the situation with Corrigan's time as a police officer, but the Private Detective acknowledges that sometimes, justice can only be achieved by working outside of the system's rules, which is his main conflict with Spectre. Considering it's getting late in the night, Corrigan tells Kim she can leave for the day, giving him time to think and wait for the Spectre's return.
Unfortunately, Spectre is far from returning as somewhere in the Village another crime is about to be committed. A spurned housewife has had enough of his abusive and uncaring husband and thanks to her growing hate and a glass of alcohol, she grabs a knife to end her torment. When she reaches for the doorknob to open the bedroom where her husband's sleeping, Spectre manifests himself in the shape of a demon coming out of the doorknob and grabs the woman's arm. The desperate woman starts slashing at her own arm to attack the monster, but all she manages is to cut herself open and almost die in the process. And once again, the strange mist came and went in the Village, much to Corrigan's suspicion and Madame X's pleasure. Later and once again, a mafia leader is bound to kill a witness to prevent him from exposing his operations, but Spectre strikes once again by coming out of the gangster's weapon and driving him to madness. When the mist came and went for a third time, Madame X moans out of extasy, but Corrigan decides to call it a day and goes to sleep on his office's couch.
In the morning, Corrigan awakes to several reports across the Village about strange deaths and victims of weird circumnstances. Corrigan understands that Spectre is responsible and that he had become the fog that is still in the air. Without much explanation, Corrigan tells Kim that they are going for a hike. The two of them decide to walk further away from the village in order to stay away from the mist, but after a whole day outside, Corrigan decides to book a hotel room to spend the night. Corrigan prides himself in the fact that Kim had not realized his true intentions, but as they get in their hotel room, Kim finally realizes that Corrigan is running away and hiding from the Spectre. Kim believes that Corrigan is making all of this to punish Spectre and give him a lesson, but in truth, Corrigan tells her he wants to kill Spectre, even if it means dying with him. Kim realizes that Spectre had not returned to Jim the previous night and by now, he has been out of his body for more than 48 hours. Corrigan's energy has started to drop and his human flesh is starting to decay. Desperately anxious, Kim attempts to call Madame X to warn the Spectre, but Corrigan jumps out of the hotel's room through the window and runs away form the place.
At that precise moment, Madame X continues her sexual encounter with Spectre, the nature of which is more psychic than physical. However, Spectre chooses to end their metaphysical connection of consciousness, which elevated his own being to reach the powers he had previously hold. Spectre explains that even though a great portion of his former powers are restored thanks to the synchrony of their consciousness, he cannot allow himself to get lost in that fake ecstasy, as it would mean his eventual destruction for not returning to his mortal host. For two whole nights and the day between, Spectre and Madame X shared something dark and unique, but the woman notices how Spectre's strength is slowly disappearing. Madame X asks if they will do it again in the future and Spectre replies in a positive manner as he goes directly to Corrigan's office, only to find it empty.Kim Liang has desperately tried to locate Jim Corrigan, but her efforts are futile and she takes a taxi to return to the office, where she is interrogated by a furious Spectre, who is slowly starting to disappear. Kim tells Spectre about Jim's ultimate intentions and she gives in to hopelessness as she believes Corrigan is far gone and nowhere to be found. However, Spectre uses his remaining powers to locate Corrigan, following the man's consciousness. At that moment, Corrigan lies in a dark alley when the green mist surrounds him. Spectre has found him and confronts him about his decision to end their shared existence. Corrigan explains that he cannot live, knowing that his "soul" is killing victims who have yet to commit a crime. Spectre replies that it would be foolish to wait until innocent lives are killed, but Corrigan needs hard evidence, proof of someone's guilt before executing them. Spectre tells him that his consciousness allows him to reach into the minds of the killers and that it should be enough, but since Corrigan insists on getting evidence, Spectre simply replies that he had located Corrigan by following his conscious decision of killing them both. Knowing that this is all the evidence he required, Corrigan reluctantly gives up his mindset of eliminating Spectre and the Spirit of Vengeance merges with his body once again, restoring their energies almost instantly. The shock, however is stronger than ever before and Corrigan passes out on the streets.
The next morning, Corrigan wakes up in the couch of his office, where Kim is keeping a close eye on him. Corrigan reproaches Kim's betrayal for telling Spectre about his plan. However, Kim replies that she was assigned as the keeper of his body and that she was merely doing her job. When Corrigan asks if that's the only reason, Kim reveals that she actually has feelings for Corrigan and she thinks that maybe they can make it work. However, they decide to keep their relationship away from the mystic aspect and keep things physical between them as they have a romantic encounter in the couch.
- This book was first published on September 1, 1987.
- Spectre's next chronological appearance takes place in Millennium #4.
- On the first panel of page 14, there's a poster frame of "Black Mask" inside Corrigan's office. This could be a reference to the Batman villain created by Doug Moench, Black Mask.
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