Dark Shadows (Issue #12)

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Dark Shadows, Issue #12
The Glove
Gold Key Comics | February 1972

This issue initially flirts with the “killer disembodied hand” genre, as it opens with a ghostly appendage attacking Elizabeth Collins in the library at Collinwood. Barnabas responds to her screams, and his quick intervention (with rapid blows from his cane) saves her life. To calm Elizabeth’s shattered nerves, Barnabas dismisses the attack as an inexplicable freak occurrence, but recognizes the murderous glove and the volume whence it emerged.

Barnabas remembers the glove belonging to Cheshire Collins, yet another cursed ancestor of the Collins family. Dead for over 200 years, Cheshire was executed for murdering a romantic rival in the town square in the city of Leeds. In his original mortal form, Barnabas recalls visiting the city on his cousin Cheshire’s behalf (in a canon-be-damned flashback), but was unable to prevent the execution. Realizing that soothing Cheshire’s troubled spirit is the only recourse in preventing further attacks, Barnabas travels back in time to uncover the truth surrounding the murder.

Barnabas battling a killer glove is easily the early highlight, with the story quickly shifting to the drama of an earlier time. This series no longer even makes the slightest attempt at explaining the time travel mechanism, with Barnabas simply entering his coffin and somehow willing himself into the correct time.

Rules are also fast and loose regarding what form Barnabas takes in his travels, and what changes he can and cannot affect. Here he inhabits the body of a bystander and witness to the murderous events, when at other times he incarnates as himself. Although Barnabas is prevented in saving Cheshire’s life due to the laws governing time travel his actions seem able to easily cause the death of another character.

Visiting Cheshire in his cell, Barnabas ultimately discovers that his cousin fails one inexorable, governing law.

If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

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