Dynamite Comics run of mostly high quality comic books continues with this second chapter of the homage-esque issue of Will Eisner’s The Spirit. It just goes to show a really bad film doesn’t have to impact a great comic book character. It also helps that this issue starts with one of my favourite Raymond Chandler quotes.
For a book that has a very uncomplicated style there is quite a lot going on. Firstly, there is the crimson coal discussion, secondly there is the case that The Spirit is working and finally, there is Lisa Marlowe’s stake out. With these elements running through the book, it is surprising how quick a read this is and in fact, how very little actually happens.
Written, drawn and lettered by Francesco Francavilla, whose work has graced many a James Bond cover recently, Francavilla pulls out all stops with a book that mirrors Eisner’s style extremely well. The dialogue, given the gumshoe mystery polish, fits its genre perfectly. Despite the quickness of the read, the pace of the story is fine with each section getting ample page time. Francavilla is probably better known for his art, for good reason. Here, the pencils look great. It’s easy to see the impact that Eisner has had on the comic industry and some of the best creators. With Francavilla’s work here acting as looking-glass of sorts, the influences of Eisner becomes clearer on work from the likes of Bruce Timm for example. The figure work may look simple compared with the current crop of over developed muscles in tights that seem to dominate the rack. But that is its main attraction. Colors are pretty basic with hues used to great effect, again another example where a straightforward approach works well.
If I am honest, I am not a huge The Spirit fan, preferring darkness of The Shadow and his knowing of evil minds. That said, this book has a charm that impresses. It’s odd that Dynamite can put out such a high quality book, both in dialogue and art, based on the previous standards set, yet seem to have made a complete mess of some recent reboots.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Writer: Francesco Francavilla
Art: Francesco Francavilla