Without a host since Hal Jordan's revival, the Spectre is seduced by Eclipso, the ex-wife of Ray Palmer/the Atom and murderer of Sue Dibny. Following her escape from Arkham Asylum, Eclipso persuades the Spectre that magic is evil because it breaks the laws of nature set by God. This logic makes sense to the hostless Spectre, who vows to destroy all of magic. The Enchantress calls on Ragman after the slaughter of some seven hundred sorcerers in the Mist Woods by the vengeful Spectre. Retreating to the Oblivion Bar, a bar between dimensions where magically powered beings meet, the word is that of deep concern for Spectre's recent attacks on magic around the globe. With heavy hitters like Phantom Stranger, Dr. Fate, and Madame Xanadu already put out of commission, Ragman & Enchantress are left with Nightshade, Nightmaster, Blue Devil, & Detective Chimp (the group later to become known as Shadowpact) to plan the Spectre's defeat.
In search of Eclipso and the rampaging Spectre, the group finds the latter locked in an epic battle with Captain Marvel across Budapest, giving them the chance to attack the source of his seduction. The Blue Devil manages to spear Eclipso with his trident of Lucifer just as Captain Marvel is getting the upper hand, but the strain of channeling such immense quantities of magic drives Enchantress temporarily insane, and the link to her champion is weakened long enough for the Spectre to defeat him. Eclipso manages to fly the drained Spectre to safety, and Shadowpact retreats to the Oblivion Bar, surprised to still be alive.
Detective Chimp and Nightshade managed to find Black Alice, a girl who can steal an opponents powers, and launch a surprise attack on Eclipso and the Spectre on the Island of Middle Hours in Indonesia. Surprised to find the Spectre's spirit empty, rendering him free from harm, Black Alice uses the temporary power to throw Eclipso through a portal created by Nightshade, sending her in perpetual orbit around the sun where her she can do no harm.
The restored Spectre travels to the Rock of Eternity, changing a defiant Captain Marvel back into his alter-ego Billy Batson, and unable to protect the wizard Shazam. The Phantom Stranger, returning to his human form, uses his powers to allow the Shadowpact and Black Alice to watch the battle between Shazam and the Spectre from Earth. Just as Shazam seems to have beaten his opponent, the Spectre revives himself, draining the wizard of his powers, killing him! The Rock of Eternity begins to disintegrate, and travels through several dimensions before it explodes in the sky above Gotham City. The Rock's destruction releases evil magic back into the world, including the embodiments of the Seven Deadly Sins, formerly trapped in stone statues in Shazam's throne room. Unable to remember his magic word, Billy Batson falls helplessly from the sky, and scarab Shazam took from Ted Kord in the Countdown to Infinite Crisis 80 pg Special lands in El Paso, leading us directly into Infinite Crisis #1.
The tie-in Infinite Crisis: Day of Vengeance Special issue has Zatanna, the Marvel family, & others hunt down the source of wild magic loose in Gotham City, while Phantom Stranger leads a team against the monsters that escaped the Rock of Eternity. Then rebuilding the Rock using the group's unified magic, Zatanna tells Marvel he must occupy the Rock to hold it together. Just as Phantom Stranger shows up with the Seven Deadly Sins the now missing Nightshade contained in small bottles, the fatally wounded spirit of Nabu/Dr. Fate appears from a battle with the Spectre, having gained attention from the Presence who sends the Spectre into a new host as punishment for his actions. The dying Nabu, last guardian of the Ninth Realm of Magic, hands his helmet to Detective Chimp, who has Capt. Marvel throw it into space to let chance find the new Dr. Fate and welcome the Tenth Age of Magic.
This was a great read and something a little different, featuring characters that don't get the top billing some DC characters do; Ragman, Spectre, Dr. Fate, Phantom Stranger, Detective Chimp, and Blue Devil are all characters with interesting traits that constrast in unusual ways. Writer Bill Willingham puts some great dialogue in the fight between Nabu and the Spectre, and shows humor between Dectective Chimp and his fellow Shadowpact members, awhile Justiniano deftly pencils Magic's struggle against the swirling spirit of Spectre. The series has been collected into a trade paperback without he one-shot special, which was collected with the other one-shot tie-ins published in Infinite Crisis Companion.
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