The Spirit has returned, but the matter of his disappearance is still a mystery. However, discovering who attempted to get rid of him will have to wait as Ebony and Sammy have found themselves in the merciless clutches of The Octopus. Will he be able to find and save them? How does it fare?
Will Eisner’s The Spirit has been an absolutely enjoyable series so far and this fifth installment is no different. One of the key features of the series has been that they each tell a separate story unto themselves. Each episode has featured The Spirit taking on a different villain in a different and unique way. That is not to say there isn’t an overarching story because there is one, but it is not essential to have read the previous issues in order to jump in and enjoy this one or the other four issues.
Matt Wagner is also a master storyteller. He begins the story showing us the rescue mission The Spirit must undertake, depicting Sammy and Ebony in a very compromising position. He then takes us on a fun detective trip interrogating villains, snooping through offices, and tracking people down back alleys. It moves at a rapid pace with no let up and flows extremely well.
Wagner also has some great dialogue, incorporating some fun accents to characterize a couple of low-level criminals. The villains’ banter between each other and then towards The Spirit is a riot and will put a smile on your face. He also toys with the dialogue using A Larger World Studios’ lettering to hide a tip to our favorite journalist, Stubs. Interesting enough the guy giving the tip is named Gabby.
Dan Schkade’s artwork is once again top-notch. If there was one critique it is during a crossover panel where one of the low-level criminals has his eyes literally coming out of their sockets because Schkade decided to not include the top of his head. While it captures their surprise, it just feels off and looks as if his eyes are popping out of The Spirit’s jacket.
On the flip side, Schkade does a great job of showing The Spirit perform his investigative work using inset panels to show him working different angles in a room. There are also some very unique panels taking on the shape of a manhole cover to show where the low-level criminals are hiding. Inside this oval shaped panel, Schkade uses four horizontal panels to show the chase leading up to and after their hiding in the sewer.
If you have read any of my previous reviews on this book over at Adventures in Poor Taste, you know I rave about A Larger World Studios’ lettering work. They are at it again in this issue. Not only are they using the dripping word clouds, but they have taken it a step further, making a word cloud in the shape of an exclamation point to emphasize The Spirit’s excitement about finding a clue.
Will Eisner’s The Spirit #5 is a damn good comic. It has excellent storytelling, great and innovative artwork, and extremely innovative lettering. If this book isn’t up for an Eisner award next year, I will be extremely surprised. Each issue one ups itself, continuing to improve and get better. You need to be reading this one.
- Fantastic storytelling
- Innovative lettering and panel design
- Compelling characters
- One minor art issue regarding eyes popping out of The Spirit's coat