Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Spirit vol 1 TPB

Huh. I thought I'd like this a bit more than I did. As my only exposure to the title character comes from the awful Frank Miller movie, I'm not sure if my issues come from this volume or the original comic.

Darwyn Cooke's Spirit is a fun guy with a colorful, fairly amusing rogues gallery. One villain's evil plan is to sell pork and beans with an animated Spirit on the can! Yet the issue is full of fairly bloody murders too, with dead folks piling up on a fairly regular basis. It seems like the book is straddling a line between campy, high adventure and a gritty crime story. Even the choices for the villains' backstories seem odd. P'Gell's background is very generic and it is certainly not enough to justify her actions. Plus I have to question the Spirit's interaction with the ladies. He's got a regular girlfriend but has plenty of time for other gals too. I really liked Silk Satin and the Octopus. I think more time spent on that story would have kept me more interested.

This trade includes the Batman/Spirit one-shot by Jeph Loeb and Darwyn Cooke. The Spirit's villains seemed a lot more bloodthirsty here than they did in his series. This was a fun little showcase for the two characters and their worlds. I was amused that while their worlds work so well together, the two heroes don't. Their methods and attitudes are so different that they seem to naturally grate on each other.

The art is a mix of tremendous action shots (like cuts to Spirit's coat or gloves) and cartoons. The police captain looks like something out of a 40s comic strip, but most of the other characters are more realistic. I can recognize the beatiful pencils here (I really enjoyed the graveyard scenes); I'm just a bit confused by the contrasting tones on the page.


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