What do two corrupt cops, mobsters, politicians, a sex toy, and a beagle named Pretzels all have in common? Together, they all intertwine to create Eisner-nominated writer Nick Spencer’s latest offering, The Fix.
Nick Spencer’s latest entry into the crime comic genre builds off of his writing experience gained on another Image series, Kirkman’s Thief of Thieves; of which, Nick Spencer wrote the first arc to introduce readers to Conrad Paulson and his high stakes world of thieving. With the first three issue of Thief of Thieves selling out upon release, Spencer managed to not only intrigue the reader, but meet the high expectations that come with any Kirkman comic.
From the very first panel in The Fix #1, our main character provides a narrative that occasionally overlaps with flashbacks to offer insight into how certain societal and cultural trends combined with life experiences to make our main character into the person he is today. A person, who we learn by page three of this issue, has little to no boundaries when it comes to committing a crime for his own personal gain including robbing senior citizens playing bingo at gunpoint.
In this oversized issue, Spencer introduces a slew of questionable characters, managing to make each lovable in their own unique, sometimes demented way. We meet corrupt politicians, mentally unstable movie producers, crooked cops, and a kombucha drinking “stay at home dad” who also just so happens to be a sadistically violent Los Angeles mob boss. While he makes it quite clear who the bad guys are and how few morals (if any) they possess, I found myself rooting for the villains. While not quite as gore-filled as Spencer’s (tragically) short run with his Bedlam series, artist Steve Lieber leaves little to the imagination.
To be fair, Spencer waits until the last page to reveal the unlikely character who will be standing in the way of our villains, he still manages to actually get me to root against a cute dog whose only satisfaction seems to come from upholding the law and ensuring deranged criminals are held accountable for their evil deeds. However, Spencer’s ability to romanticize our lead’s passion for crime are just too entertaining and fun to come to an end.
Spencer proves once again he possesses the ability to not only create one-of-a-kind characters, but use unique storytelling methods to provide humor that at times is so outlandish, you almost forget that just a few panels ago, someone had a hot iron rod pierced through their eye socket. Combine this with Steve Lieber’s art and Ryan Hill’s coloring and you almost feel like you’re watching a complex Grand Theft Auto mission being played.
Speaking of Grand Theft Auto, it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t the inspiration for Lieber and Hill. Well executed and perfectly suited for the story being told, the visuals add another exciting layer to the storytelling. Hill’s use of subdued colors bring life to a gritty, disturbing, and at times psychopath filled Los Angeles.
I can’t help but be excited about this series after the first issue. Spencer’s character development, use of flashbacks, and story progression make it clear that he understands how to balance all these elements to not only tell an engaging story, but make a fun to read comic. Spencer makes no bones about it, our characters are living in a violent and corrupt world; one, they created for themselves. And while their ever more desperate situation escalates, the stakes continue to rise and their moral compass diminishes further and further.
It’s easy to feel invested in the fate of our lead characters, and even easier to be sucked into The Fix #1. A refreshing new offering from Image Comics that, if this level of storytelling and character development continue, will most certainly engage readers in a light-hearted, laugh-heavy journey through the uber violent underbelly of Los Angeles organized crime.
- Engaging and entertaining storytelling
- Excellent character development
- Perfect balance of humor, criminal elements and gruesome violence
- Being forced to wait a month in between issues