Review: Spencer and Locke #4 (of 4)

By now, you should be aware of the hook of this book.  A dark Sin City world where a detective and his panther partner try to keep their corner of the world safe, with more than a vibe of Calvin and Hobbes.

With this being the final part of this particular story, it is the conclusion of the various threads as Locke confronts the big bad; we get to see his darkest secret, his greatest hope, disillusionment and the love of a partner who is as real as he is need to be.

David Pepose wraps everything up, utilizing the styles that you would come to expect from earlier issues.  Yes, there are more Calvin-isms although it feels that the darkness to Locke’s adult worldview, taints the more innocent childhood giving these flashbacks a lack of innocence.  The action in this issue comes thick and fast, as after all, it is the final act.  I do have a minor quibble around a tad of continuity which whilst doesn’t really impact the story made me roll my eyes.  Believe me when I say “it’s a me thing”.

Jorge Santiago Jr. is back on art duties, pulling double duty again with the homage pieces as well as the present.  I wonder if Santiago Jr was a Calvin fan or was his art based on research.  Either way, they both work.  In fact, if it wasn’t for such a strong splash page halfway through, my aforementioned continuity glitch wouldn’t have been so obvious.  Heavy lines help give the book a darkness that mirrors the dialogue and some of the messed up dynamics that have come to the fore front over the last couple of issues. The colors by Jasen Smith are plain fantastic; the light and breezy hues of childhood, the dark present and the red of violence unleashed go some way to visually accentuating the complexities of the characters in this run.

Admittedly I have flip-flopped on this book, initially loving the Calvin aspects before moving past that an into a harsher stance.  For a book that leans on the strips of yesteryear, acceptance will no doubt depend on your frame of mind when reading.  In the end, Locke is an interesting enough character to carry the story; the Calvin bits have been fun although I do worry about repetition being a problem if Action Labs are looking for any sort of longevity.

Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art -4 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars

Written by; David Pepose
Art by; Jorge Santiago Jr.
Colors by; Jasen Smith
Published by; Action Lab Entertainment

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