When we left Spawny, at the end of Phantom Stranger 25, he had decided to try and resurrect the man who had revived him, Victor Adams. His plan hit a temporary snag when he ran afoul of devil worshipper Mordecai and his brutish manservant Mammon, who had kidnapped Adams' widow Rachael in order to use her as a sacrifice to open a gate to Hell, so Mordecai could go be with his master, Satan. But thanks to Spawny's interference, their plans were scuttled and they ended up as a devil worshipper barbecue as the perished in the supernatural flames they had conjured. But.
And before I go any further, an apology: last time, I said that the SoF back-feature never returned to the "Resurrection of Victor Adams" after the big crossover story with the main character, the Phantom Stranger. Problem is, #26 is a direct continuation of the "RoVA" story, and I just plain ol' forgot, not having read the comic for quite some time. I was right in one thing, though: the plot was never resolved with any finality, to the best of my recollection. So, onward to the contents of Phantom Stranger #26- script co-credited to SoF writer Marv Wolfman and then-PS-scripter Len Wein, with art by the up-to-then regular PS artist, Jim Aparo. Regular SoF artist Mike Kaluta did get to do the striking cover, with its unusual-for-1973 color scheme, and the only time Spawny ever got on the cover. And we begin right where we left off in #25.
The monster doesn't know this, but the gateway that Mordecai and Mammon tried to open stayed open long enough to let two demons emerge, and they head straight for Spawny and possess him as he makes his way to the university hospital to get the equipment he needs.
Meanwhile, Dr. Thirteen continues his hospital vigil over his comatose wife, Marie, and receives an unexpected visitor: The Phantom Stranger. Now, these two go way back, and Dr. T does his usual "What the heck do YOU want, you fraud" schtick, and the Stranger says "Yo, foo, why you frontin' wit' me?" or something like that. Anyway, they bicker like old women until the Stranger hears a racket somewhere else in the building, and he interrupts Spawny, apparently undeterred by the pair of demons now squatting inside him, in the act of boosting the equipment he needs. Now, the Stranger has a lot of amazing qualities, but he's never been much in the fisticuffs department, and the Monster quickly overpowers him- and decides to zap him with the scale model laser he has stolen. At this time, Dr. T bursts in, and recognizing the creature he holds responsible for Adams' death and his wife's coma, typically tries to reason with the creature...nah, he does what he always does, charges irrationally, shouting "I'll kill you!", and Spawny throws him out the window for his trouble. The Stranger, having recovered somewhat, immediately dives out after the hotheaded Doctor.
By now, we, the readers, have glommed on to the fact that Spawny is not just in a bad mood but is being influenced by his demonic bodysquatters. Of course, Dr. T and the Stranger don't know this yet. Well, the Stranger would say that he knew all along, of course- he's kinda like that sometimes- but he doesn't really know.
In fact, for reasons unknown, the demons force Spawny to kidnap Marie Thirteen before he leaves the hospital, while Doc T and PS are occupied. When he returns to Mordecai's lab, where he's stashed Victor's body along with his widow Rachel, who was awake and screaming at being in the room with the corpse of her late husband in the last panel of #25 but has apparently passed back out, no doubt tuckered out by all the screaming. The demons try to get him to kill Rachael by zapping her with the laser. When he refuses, the pissed-off demons decide to leave him and possess Victor and Marie's bodies.
The demonic duo, which go by the names Pornipus and Flagermot (they probably bailed outta Hell because all the other demons made fun of their names), try to kill the SoF (so that another demon, presumably with a less stupid name, can possess it) by animating some suits of armor, and when this doesn't work, they cause him to be encircled by flames, which burn through the floor, causing him to be trapped in the basement or cellar of the house.
Spawny manages to escape his pit prison, and leaps out, slamming Victor's body with a devastating feet-first blow, which stuns the demon, but doesn't harm Victor's body (the funeral home guys must be proud at the enbalming job they did), which prompts Spawny to think that if he can smack up enough on the bodies, the demons will bail. As he proceeds to throw Marie/Flagermot out the window (he likes this method of fighting, apparently), the Stranger and Doc Thirteen arrive at the house.
Dr.T manages to catch Marie/Flagermot, and brings her inside as the Stranger confronts the Monster. M/F revives, and much to Dr.T's dismay, zaps a chandelier over his head. The Stranger, by now (I'm sure) getting annoyed at having to save Doc T's bacon yet again, uses his cape to magically deflect the heavy fixture. Dr. T whips out a pistol, and begins to fire at Spawny- and it's obvious that Thirteen never watched horror movies when he was a kid because OF COURSE they have no effect. The SoF throttles Dr. T, but by now the Stranger's beginning to catch on, and reasons with him.
Flag and Porny decide that they don't want to tussle with the Stranger and the Monster anymore, and fly up in the air, calling upon the Moon to blast the house with a magically enhanced moonbeam.
Fortunately, they took their sweet time about it, and the Stranger and company are able to get out of the house before the moonbeam zaps it to dust. Porny and Flagy swoop back down, and try to moon-blast them again, but this time the Stranger is ready for them,
And uses his medallion to zap them with their own moonbeam...which causes their demonic adversaries to cease to exist. Which brings us to the end, and the status quo is preserved.
The equipment that Spawny stole was, I assume, vaporized with the house, so I suppose that was the end of the "Resurrection of Victor Adams" notion.
Of course, as I've written before, after this Wein, Wolfman, Kaluta and Aparo moved on to Swamp Thing and The Shadow and Marvel Comics and Phantom Stranger #27 brought an all-new art team to both the lead and the backup as Arnold Drake and Gerry Talaoc took over the Stranger's adventures, in which he became more of a passive participant in his own stories- often to the point of being merely a narrator- and the Spawn got Steve Skeates as a scripter, and the Golden Age Spectre artist Bernard Baily as illustrator. The story, as it was and to the best of my memory (I don't own Phantom Stranger #'s 27-30 anymore), wasn't all that bad- Spawny ran afoul of a Charlie Manson-style cult and its leader, but that's about all I recall. But Baily had nothing left in the tank, and his art was awful, to put it mildly. The story wound up in #30, after which the Black Orchid took his spot in Phantom Stranger, and the Spawn of Frankenstein was seen no more. Or if he was, it was just a cameo or appearance in some kind of reference book...I don't remember seeing the character again, but it's entirely possible he was in something I didn't buy in the last 30-something years.
Anyway, that's it for my look at the Spawn of Frankenstein. Hope you've found it enlightening and useful. If I should ever acquire those Skeates-Baily issues again, perhaps I can post a breakdown of them like I have these. So bring on Seven Soldiers: Spawn of Frankenstein!- later this year!
All of these concepts, characters, and art are ©2005 DC Comics, Inc.