Spirit, The: The Corpse-Makers #2
Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
Released on: March 23rd, 2017.
Written & Illustrated by: Francesco Francavilla
Purchase From Amazon
Talking heads on various TV sets discuss current events, specifically the use of crimson coal to bring down energy costs – but is it safe? The news cast is interrupted by a breaking bulletin – an attempted bank robbery has left one dead and three wounded. Commissioner Dolan notifies the public that the three robbers are still at large and are to be considered armed and dangerous.
Cut to a dark and dingy warehouse – here two robbers talk about how their contact, Vince, didn’t even show up. They’re worried about the cops – but it doesn’t matter, because soon enough The Spirit smashes through the window to clean up this mess. Ebony shows up a few seconds later to help, and he recognizes one of the thugs as the guy who picked up his cousin, Vince, the day before.
Elsewhere, a private eye takes pictures of a cheating husband in a grubby apartment. Her name is Lisa Marlow and she’s none too happy to be doing this stuck outside in the rain. The man she is spying on is John Bartlett, the husband of one Marguerite Bartlett, wealthy entrepreneur. Through her camera lens she sees him waiting patiently, but it’s not for another woman. No, instead a cloaked figure pulls up in a crematorium truck and enters Bartlett’s pad. They leave together and so she hops on her motorcycle and follows them.
Back in the warehouse The Spirit interrogates his latest catches about Vince’s whereabouts. It takes a little bit of convincing but The Spirit being The Spirit eventually gets this guy to sing like a bird. Once The Spirit learns of the last place Vince was seen, he and Eb split the scene and head towards those old factories, while Lisa listens in on a conversation between Bartlett, his cloaked companion and a mysterious man in glasses regarding… business.
Francesco Francavilla moody and atmospheric take on Will Eisner’s most famous creation is a noir comics fan’s wet dream. The illustrations do such a great job of pulling you into the city to the point where you can almost smell the mold and feel the rain running down the back of your neck. The tendency to use dark colors to bring the heavy line work to life only accentuates this, while the detail in said line work is something you’ll want to take your time with to really fully appreciate. It’s beautiful stuff, and the story is starting to catch up to it. Bringing in the Marlow/Bartlett plot is fleshing things out well and of course, now we know, or more accurately want to know, where things are headed with Vince, who we met in the first issue.
Great stuff – you don’t even necessarily need to dig The Spirit to appreciate what Francesco Francavilla is doing here (though it doesn’t hurt). This is as much of an old school crime comic as it is about a masked man punching out bad guys, but then, the best of Eisner’s original run was the same way. This is just really great visual storytelling. Don’t miss out.