Current Reviews


The Spirit #3

Posted: Friday, February 23, 2007
By: Kevin Powers

Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Artists: Darwyn Cooke (p), J. Bone (i)

Publisher: DC Comics

If there is one non-costumed comic book hero that deserves a movie or an hour long TV dramedy, it is most definitely Will Eisnerís The Spirit. The first two issues of Darwyn Cookeís revival of Will Eisnerís famous crime fighter have been self-contained masterpieces that have carried the proper elements of story, character, art, suspense, drama and comedy that would make for a great film or TV show.

The third issue of this series continues this trend and furthers my own theory that Darwyn Cooke is the go-to man for Golden Age and Silver Age revivals and new visions. While not everyone shares my sentiments towards this new series, fans of the Spirit who have been reluctant to read this series and those who donít know much about the Spirit need to get this issue.

I never read The Spirit when I was younger, but since Darwyn Cookeís revival I have been to the library a few times to check out The Spirit Archives and really catch up on what I missed. While the first two issues stayed self contained, pretty much introducing the new generation of readers to The Pill and PíGell, two of the Spiritís most formidable foes, there hasnít been much by way of future arcs or plot lines coming in Denny Coltís future.

Itís safe to say that with issue #3 things have begun to change.

Without spoiling too much, the best thing about this issue is the recounting of Denny Coltís transformation into the Spirit. My only question about this issue is its timing. There are definite and logical reasons as to why the stories of The Spirit #1 and #2 came before this issue, but an argument can most definitely be made that this maybe should have been the issue to launch this series following Batman/The Spirit. I say that simply because it retells the Spiritís origin and sets in motion some events of the upcoming stories. This issue really highlights the personal life and the character struggle of the Spirit and would have served as a fantastic first issue.

However, I can also make a brief argument as to why this issue should not have launched the series. Check out my Sunday Slugfest review of The Spirit #1.

I loved that issue; it was hands down one of the most fun comic books I had read in a long time. For me, it had everything, and it really captured the tone and spirit (no pun intended) of Will Eisnerís vision. While issue #1 gave us the world and vision of the Spirit, issue #2 provided the darker, more seductive side of the character and those he involves himself with, such as PíGell. Issue #3 strays from paying homage and introducing new readers to the character, and it really helps Darwyn Cooke make this title his own.

While there may be some argument over the order of these first three issues, both arguments are reasonable, but the point is that this issue keeps the momentum of this series going. The plot seems simple enough: thereís a mass murder. A classic whodunit? Not so much, because the Spirit knows who did it. The person who did it is what has our hero concerned. Cooke brings a bit of personal conflict to the care-free attitude of the Spirit and gives him something that will keep him looking over his shoulder.

Divided into separate narrations by characters that are close to the Spirit: Ellen Dolan, Commissioner Dolan and Ebony White, this story really gives readers the emotions behind these characters and behind the Spirit himself. His origin is retold through the three characters closest to him, and while it may seem like a bit much, it flows and transitions smoothly leading up to the revelation at the end. This issue sets up the ending perfectly and has left me wanting more, it is a near perfect cliffhanger that is masterfully built-up throughout the entire retelling of the origin.

Yet again, Darwyn Cooke and J. Boneís artwork really stands out as superb on this issue. But they have done something unique with the flashback in this issue. The art changes; it becomes a bit less refined and the color is also washed out. This works very well for this issue as it clearly helps distinguish the past and the present.

Overall a great, solid issue that keeps this title steamrolling along.

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