To celebrate the fact the Spectre has entered the rotation in the One Panel feature, here are some of my favorite Moments of Vengeance from the famous ghost hero, across many eras...
From More Fun Comics #57... You'd think the lack of a Comics Code Authority in the Golden Age would mean the Spectre revenges would be more gruesome, but you'd be surprised at how often those stories end with the Spectre just throwing someone into another dimension. This one's pretty fun though. The Spectre races around the world to build the perfect casket and presents it to the villain. Badass. The next page has him turn someone into a tree, but alas, it provides none of the casket's planks.
From Showcase #61... In the 60s, the Spectre fought demons whose power was on par with his. My favorite demonic demise has to be this atomic-sized finale, which showed it didn't matter if you had a supernatural hero, you could still ground the stories in science.
From Adventure Comics #432... The 70s series is when the idea of "ghastly ironic deaths" was cemented with the character concept. There were some more imaginative kills in Adventure - after all, we laugh at Hal Jordan for making giant scissors (oops, did I just name drop Hal in this post?! Never again! - but the terror and the sound effects make this as effective as if we'd seen the gory moment. Probably more.
From Crisis on Infinite Earths #10... What?! Is this really one of my Moments of Vengeance?! Think about it. The Anti-Monitor has destroyed countless universes, there is no bigger target for the Spectre's attentions. And his revenge, or the one he can wring out of this fiasco, is a reboot of what universes were left into a single, stronger form, one in which the Anti-Monitor cannot win. Some readers may have felt like they were collateral damage, but not me!
From The Spectre vol.2 #17... The Doug Moench series of the 80s had a different focus (some will say, unFORTunately), but from time to time, the Spectre pulled a masterful venge-trick, like that time he possessed a pile of cocaine and made a guy overdose on Spectre dust!
From The Spectre vol.3 #6... The Ostrander/Mandrake series of the 90s took the character back to his 70s horror roots and made creative vengeance the focus again. Here, the Spectre goes totally bonkers on gun violence offenders in a two-page spread. The NRA better watch out, Gun Control has a new spokesman!
After that, the mantle is passed on to other guys, and back again to Corrigan, but the great days of Divine Justice are far behind us. When will the Spectre return to mete it out properly again?