Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Writer/Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Release Date: 22nd March, 2017
After a strong opening issue, Francesco Francavilla’s new Spirit series sees our pulp crimefighter digging a little deeper into the mystery of the missing persons. Not too much deeper, you understand, because this is first and foremost a crime mystery, and solving the crime in the second chapter of a five-part story would probably be bad for business. Instead, we see the Spirit tracking down the failed bank robbers from the first issue and probing them for information in his own inimitable style.
The issue also introduces us to Lisa Marlowe, a struggling P.I. whose investigation into a supposed cheating spouse sees her becoming rapidly sucked into the same murky mystery. Much like The Spirit and the reader, Marlowe is still in the dark as to exactly what’s going on, but Francavilla does give us a brief glimpse at the mastermind behind the disappearances here, with suitably chilling results.
The artwork, as should be expected by now from pretty much anything Francavilla turns his hand to, is truly stellar, with a heavily-shadowed style that really helps to underscore the gritty, pulp crime roots of the title character. Francavilla’s use of colour is also fantastic throughout, squeezing every last drop of expression and tension out of his relatively limited palette of blues, yellows and the occasional flash of red.
It’s another genuinely enjoyable issue, and the middle portion which sees The Spirit interrogating the two bank robbers is a thing of absolute beauty, but I can’t help but feel that this is a story that’s going to read a lot better as a collected edition than it does as separate chapters. Don’t get me wrong, the pacing is handled well, and there’s more than enough going on in this issue to keep readers entertained, it’s just that in such a fast-moving mystery, having to wait a whole month to find out what happens next is fairly painful, to say the least
Ultimately then, this latest series serves as a solid addition to the rich Spirit mythos, and sees Francavilla stamping his own distinctive mark on the iconic crimefighter. An intriguing story with some legitimately world-class artwork, this is a series that comes highly recommended for fans of pulp crime mysteries.
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