Appearing in "The Twenty Third Trump"
- Cult of the Blood Red Moon
- Winston Scullis
- Major Arcana Trumps
- Madame Xanadu's Parlor
- Tarot World
- Tarot Cards - Major Arcana
- Crystal Sphere
- Egyptian Amulet
- Ornate Censer
Synopsis for "The Twenty Third Trump"
Spectre and Jim Corrigan return to Madame Xanadu's Parlor, defeated after the Cult of the Blood Red Moon took the third missing magical item from them: an incense burner that they are using to see the future of their enemies. The Cult watches the smoke prediction coming from the censer and they are content to see that Spectre and all his allies lie defeated by them.
The censer is they key to save Madame Xanadu and Kim Liang from a certain death and without it, Spectre deduces that he must seek the answer in the Tarot Cards. Xanadu's parlor was attacked by dark forces after a stranger asked to have the cards read to him and Xanadu couldn't make sense of them. When Spectre touches the cards, the parlor returns to normal and he knows his deductions are right. In order to find the answer, Spectre intends to enter the world of the Tarot Cards, speficially that of the Major Arcana, a set of 22 trumps from the whole deck of cards. Corrigan requests Spectre to take him on his quest and after pondering for a few minutes, Spectre agrees. Taking Corrigan's life essence into his own, Spectre turns into mist and enters the strange world of the Tarot Cards.
Once inside, Spectre finds out that indeed the world of the Tarot Cards has been corrupted by the Cult of the Blood Red Moon and some of the Tarot cards attack him. Spectre defeats them, but not as easily as he would've expected, for he finds himself powerless and his flesh can now bleed and be hurt. Taking Corrigan's life essence into his own has caused Spectre to acquire human vulnerabilities and for this reason, he needs to be extra careful.
Travelling across the Tarot world, Spectre finds further evidence of the Cult's dark influence on the cards, but he also learns that not all the trumps have been corrupted. The High Priestess, for instance, is not glad with the terror that has overcome the other trumps and after guiding Spectre towards the right path, she helps him by telling him a cryptic message about being true to himself and strong as only the spirit can be. As Spectre continues his journey in the strange world, he finds the The Lovers, in which he sees Kim and Jim relfected, but then he sees himself and Xanadu as the trump. Afterwards, Spectre comes across The Fool, who explains that the stranger that went to Madame Xanadu's parlor was in fact the demonic entity that the Cult is worshipping and who draws power from dead flesh. After learning the truth, The Fool points towards the final destiny, but warns Spectre that he is even a greater fool, for he is walking towards a great fall.
Spectre reaches his destination and a dark tower rises in front of him. After climbing to the top, Spectre finds all the corrupted trumps and in the middle of them, Death. Spectre confronts the most powerful trump, but without his powers, he is easily defeated and pushed towards a dark abyss of death and decay. Spectre recalls The Fool's words about the great fall, but he then also recalls the message of The High Priestess. She said to be "strong as only the spirit can be" and Spectre finally understands what he needs to do. Spectre removes Corrigan's life essence from his body and as soon as he does this, his powers come back to him. Spectre defeats Death without trouble and the unholy bond between the Cult and the Major Arcana is broken.
Meanwhile, Corrigan's life essence drifts across the Tarot world towards the smoke coming from the censer at the Cult's hideout. Corrigan notices the dark circle that the Cult is forming around the demonic entity, but when he shoots the monster with a smoke gun, the bullet goes through the demon and kills the man behind. The circle is broken and the power that feeds the demon is lost. As the members of the Cult spread, Corrigan takes the censer with him rigth as he vanishes in the smoke.
Corrigan's life essence returns to the Spectre and once inside the avatar's body, Corrigan awakes in his human form at Madame Xanadu's parlor. He notices that he holds the three magical items with him and that even though Kim is still trapped inside the crystal sphere, the demon Fingers has disappeared. Xanadu is still weak and slowly decaying after the magical attack by the Cult. However, now that the three magical items have returned, Corrigan starts working to reverse the dark magic. Corrigan suddenly knows how to perform the ceremony and after placing the magical items all together near Xanadu's body, he starts the censer. A few minutes later, the room is filled with smoke and from it come Kim and Xanadu, looking perfectly normal, safe and sound.
However, Spectre is nowhere to be found and the three of them deduce that they will only find the spirit in the Tarot cards. Xanadu draws the Major Arcana and the first card to show is Death. However, the flat drawing soon comes to life and transforms into the Spectre, who engulfs Xanadu in green mist and confesses his love for her, while Corrigan does the same with Kim, in a less spectacular fashion. Finally, the Spirit and his human host greet, with a greater understanding of each other. After all, the experience did nothing but allow them to swith places for a short time and now they find sympathy for one another, although their principles are still at odds.
- This book was first published on March 8, 1988.
- This issue features the conclusion to the storyline "Major Arcana"; which started in Spectre (Volume 2) #12.
- No trivia.
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