"Armed Against Evil": At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jim Corrigan and Detective Peter Quarral are in the Egyptian area, where they shockingly find the missing limbs of Zatanna, all connected to an invisible torso. Suddenly, the to
Appearing in "Armed Against Evil"
- New York City
- Interdimensional Limbo
Synopsis for "Armed Against Evil"
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jim Corrigan and Detective Peter Quarral are in the Egyptian area, where they shockingly find the missing limbs of Zatanna, all connected to an invisible torso. Suddenly, the torso of a green devil, who they don't recognize as Wotan appears and the two detectives are shocked, even more than before. The two of them try to attack or stop Wotan in some way, but they are attacked from behind by Ghast and Rath, who are helping Wotan reach Earth in order to complete their demonic trio after Abnegazar left them.
In the meantime, Zatanna's torso disappears and she is possessed by Wotan's psychic link to her body, causing her to attack Madame Xanadu, who would've died from Zatanna's magical attack if Spectre had not returned from Limbo in time to save her. Spectre uses his powers to shield Madame X from Zatanna's attacks and realizes that the Mistress of Magic is heeding someone's command. Spectre deduces that Zatanna's missing torso is the key and he transforms his right arm into vapor and fills Zatanna's empty torso to shield her from Wotan's psychic link. Zatanna recovers control of her actions and she tells Spectre that the person manipulating her was her own father, Zatara.
Back at the museum, Corrigan and Quarral struggle against Ghast and Rath, with Wotan's torso and head looking at them, connected to Zatanna's limbs. When Wotan notices that his psychic link to Zatanna has been blocked, he releases his grip from her torso and his image disappears from Earth. Corrigan, Quarral, Ghast and Rath are all sucked through a hole in the ground and they reach the sewers, leaving nothing behind them, much to the museum security guard's surprise. Corrigan and Quarral manage to swim through the sewer waters until they reach the exit through a manhole. Meanwhile, Ghast and Rath recover Zatanna's limbs and Wotan sends them her torso, which they keep safe in the sewers along with the other limbs until Wotan's return. In the streets, Quarral asks for an explanation, but Corrigan refuses to tell and leaves the detective baffled.
When Corrigan finally arrives at Madame Xanadu's Parlor, he finds Spectre scolding Kim Liang for allowing him to leave unprotected. Corrigan then tells Spectre about the demons that attacked them at the museum and their most likely location down in the sewers. Spectre leaves to find them and in the meantime, Corrigan takes a shower and gets clean clothes. Spectre locates Ghast and Rath in the sewers, holding Zatanna's headless body and using his powers, he possesses Zatanna's body and chains the demons, dragging them back with him. Spectre returns to Madame X's parlor, carrying Zatanna's real body and the unconscious demons. Spectre explains Zatanna that all the limbs that returned to her after disappearing are fake constructs and that in order to learn who is responsible for doing it, he needs to locate Zatara. For this purpose, Spectre has to possess Zatanna's real and headless body and travel to Limbo back again. Zatanna allows it and Spectre takes Ghast and Rath along with him.
At that moment, Wotan tries to summon Zatanna's head, unaware that she is still under the protection of Spectre's arm-vapor. Wotan's frustration soon turns to surprise as Spectre manifests himself in front of him, carrying the unconscious minions that have helped Wotan to steal Zatanna's limbs. Spectre then seals Wotan's secret place in Limbo, preventing him from reaching Earth ever again. However, in doing so, Spectre has also doomed himself to remain trapped as well as Zatara's soul. Wotan explains that he intercepted Zatara's soul from reaching the afterlife and tried to use him, but because he had no Homo Magi DNA, he instead used Zatara to create a psychic link to his daughter's mind. Afterwards, Wotan came with the idea of Adam, to weaken Zatanna and steal her limbs, which he then infused with his own essence, preparing them to host his body in his return, while he also created fake limbs for Zatanna. This plan has failed and Spectre attempts to kill Wotan, but the demon implies that killing him would doom Zatanna to never recover her real body and Zatara to never reach the afterlife. Wotan then makes a bargain with Spectre in order to return Zatanna her body and reveal Zatara's location only if he is allowed to return to Earth and roam free. After considering the options, Spectre agrees and Wotan tells him that Zatara is locked inside a stone altar where he is standing, after which Spectre proceeds to release him.
Soon, Spectre returns to Earth, taking Zatanna's real body back and allowing the Mistress of Magic to become wholesome again. Spectre also returns with Zatara's soul and he is reunited with his daughter for one last time before leaving for good. At that moment, Wotan's body starts appearing in the fake body that he had created and Spectre allows the demon to complete the transition, making good on his promise. However, at last second, Spectre tries to kill Wotan, but the demon uses his magic to vanish in thin air. Jim Corrigan thinks of Spectre's actions as perhaps being good in nature for wanting to save lifes from Wotan's destructive ways, but he also thinks that Spectre simply never inteded to keep the promise, making his intentions still bad.
In the aftermath, Ghast and Rath are trapped forever in limbo, where Spectre had left them. Meanwhile on Earth, Zatara and Zatanna say one last goodbye before the great magician is taken to the afterlife forever. The depart is heart-wrenching for Zatanna, who has to watch her father leave her once again, but Zatara is grateful that they were given one last moment to share. A weeping Zatanna is left behind as Spectre takes Zatara to the other side, where he is assured that he will never see his daughter again.
- This book was first published on August 4, 1987.
- Wotan mentions that he was imprisoned in Limbo after his involvement with Per Degaton; however, such story, in All-Star Squadron #3, shows that he returned to his underground tomb; besides, if he was trapped in Limbo since that adventure, he would not have participated with Ian Karkull in the scheme for preemptively assassinating 50 years' worth of future U.S. Presidents , and would not defy JLA in their debut year. By logic, Wotan was stranded when battled Spectre in JLA: Year One #12, a later issue, which shows a retcon of the first year of the JLA.
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