REVIEW: Spiral #1 (of 4)

Created by Magnus Aspli, Emerson Dimaya and Nic J Shaw

Crime noir books seem  to be making a bit of a comeback, although to paraphrase LL Cool J, they have been here for years.  This new Kickstarter, due out at the end of February, centers on more than just crime; there is a distinct amount of separate pressures put on the main characters.

Oliva is a tough cop, used to handling difficult situations, that is with the exception of her family including her brother and spiral2wheelchair bound father, who has his own ideas on whom of his siblings will continue the family “vigilante” business.  Also making tracks into the family business, albeit from the “other side of the line”, is Michael looking to escape his gangster father’s shadow and make a name for himself.  Each heading into confrontations of their own environments, before maybe heading further deeper towards either retribution or destruction.

Norwegian writer Magnus Aspli sows a strong story, full of characters that at first glance seem familiar.  However, this is only a skin deep appearance, used to help readers understand motivations and characters quickly.  With the book being 4 issues long, it’s important that Aspli creates this level of interaction with the reader.  First issues are all about setting the table and Aspli delivers a sumptuous meal of noir drama along with the ever-present weight of expectations.

spiral1Art and colors are provided by Emerson Dimaya, whose work has been published by Alterna Comics.  This is the first time I have seen his work and I have to say, that is definitely my loss.  Here, his work  is a multi textured look at, the often quiet desperation that seems to follow a number of the cast.  Dimaya’s pencils have a look of David Mazzucchelli for the quieter parts, coupled with Graham Nolan actions styles; each influence has its own strength allowing the environments to have as much of an impact on the characters as their own decisions and choices.  The color scheme very rarely allows for a great influx of color, rather going for shades of a particular color for either one panel or one page.  This approach gives the book its own “shades of grey”, proving there is life between the extreme blacks and extreme whites of life.

Spiral is a great showing for Aspli and Dimaya, each adding weight to what many may see as just another crime noir story.  However, reading the book, there is a strong sense of expectations, which used to be the driving force behind characters like Peter Parker, living up to his Uncles ideals.

Keep an eye on the interview section for an up and coming interview with Magnus Aspli.

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