Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Spencer & Locke' #2 by David Pepose, Jorge Santiago, Jr., and Jasen Smith

'Spencer & Locke' debuted a month ago with an ambitious premise.  What if the beloved comic strip by Bill Watterson 'Calvin and Hobbes' and Frank Miller's gritty noir 'Sin City' had a baby? It's quite the goal to use two iconic works and mash them together to create your own comic. How can you honor both without making a mockery of either? Somehow David Pepose and Jorge Santiago, Jr. succeed in making it work as more than an homage but an effective vehicle for a quality noir detective story.


SPENCER & LOCKE #2
Writer(s): David Pepose
Artist Name(s): Jorge Santiago, Jr. (Pencils), Jasen Smith (Colors)
Cover Artist(s): Jorge Santiago, Jr. (Cover A), Maan House (Cover B)

32 pgs./ T+ / FC                   $3.99 (reg.), $4.99 (var.) 

★★★★★ (5/5)

While the first issue was more of a dark comedy, introducing Detective Locke and his imaginary partner who also happens to be a stuffed panther named Spencer, this issue took a much darker poignant turn. Issue one was a great debut that set up Locke's world and had a number of funny moments and Santiago's Waterson-style art for flashbacks were especially amusing and accurate. This is a murder investigation, after all, so Locke is determined to find the killer of his childhood
sweetheart Sophie. But first, the opening scene reveals the possible trauma Locke experienced as a child that triggered his long time coping mechanism of an imaginary friend. It's tactfully done and all the more shocking done in Waterson's art. It gives this mature title more poignancy and depth than I expected. 

Locke isn't pulling any punches looking for answers. He's reckless and out of control at times and rightfully so. There's a child's life in the balance, Sophie's daughter, and he'll do whatever it takes to save her. Spencer takes a smaller role this time although is still asked to take the wheel during a car chase(!). A clue leads to a pivotal point as the duo end up at the Red Rose gentleman's club where the present and the past collide for Locke. If the first issue honored 'Calvin and Hobbes,' issue two clearly favors 'Sin City.' A seedy strip club, a femme fatale, a brawl, gun play, and a car chase all contribute to the violent and dangerous nature of the world Spencer and Locke have to navigate. It's the perfect canvas for Santiago and colorist Jasen Smith to bring to life. 

More than anything, Santiago is a great conductor, laying out a symphony of images that convey a spectrum of emotion and action. The ease with which he alternates between the shadowy realism of the present with the adorable renderings of a cartoonish past is impressive. His versatility elevates the story but the pacing and varied perspectives energize the action sequences to a whole different level. Meanwhile, Smith provides some bold rich colors that pop against the black shadows in the club and in the streets. Purples, pinks, and reds jump off the page to electrify the scenes making them hard to look away, engrossing you further into the pulse-pounding action. 

'Spencer & Locke' is far more than its premise suggests. It might be a love letter to 'Calvin and Hobbes' and 'Sin City' but it stands on its own as a police procedural murder mystery. Locke is a man obsessed, looking for justice while still battling his own demons. This is a unique hard-boiled crime thriller that is every bit as haunting and riveting as the genre implies.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

REVIEW: 'Redneck' #2 by Donny Cates, Lisandro Estherren, and Dee Cunniffe

'Redneck' arrived a month ago redefining the vampire genre by not giving into convention or cliché. In fact, if you've read the first two issues, the vampire angle serves more as subtext than its selling point. It's the perfect approach to this character-driven southern fried drama that simmers with tension and intrigue.

REDNECK #2 STORY: DONNY CATES
ART/COVER: LISANDRO ESTHERREN & DEE CUNNIFFE LETTERER: JOE SABINO
RELEASE DATE: MAY 24
32 PAGES | Full Color | Mature | $3.99
★★★★☆ (4/5)
The Bowman's way of life just got upended and what was once a peaceful and secluded existence is on the verge of war. The vampires of Texas keep to themselves, raise their cattle, drink its blood and sell the meat through their BBQ joint. Seems like a brilliant front to keep them in the shadows while staking out a living. All that is threatened when one of their own is killed after a night on the town. This issues fills in the holes to what might have happened and what the hell is…

PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

PREVIEW: 'Project Superpowers' #1 by Rob Williams and Sergio Davila

The Project Superpowers heroes came from the past, now they have to prove their relevance in the modern world. A 21st Century threat is coming for us all. What dread secrets does The Death Defying Devil hold? The Lighthouse will rise and the Spirit of The American Flag will take on a new host. But will it be enough? Can superheroes still save the day?


Project Superpowers #1
writer: Rob Williams artist: Sergio Davila covers: Francesco Mattina (A), Ed Benes (B), John Royle (C)               Philip Tan (D), JG Jones (E) Stephen Segovia (F)               Sergio Davila (G), Philip Tan (RI-B/W)               J.G. Jones (RI-Sepia), Ed Benes (RI-Virgin)               Francesco Mattina (RI-Virgin)
FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |   Teen+  












REVIEW: 'Death or Glory' #2 by Rick Remender and Bengal

After a raucous debut, 'Death and Glory' takes a weird turn. Like a really weird turn. Imagine David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino had a baby and out came out issue two of this new series from Rick Remender and Bengal. The question is is that a good or bad thing?


DEATH OR GLORY #2  
Writer: Rick Remender Artist: Bengal Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: June 6, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
With a botched heist job, a bullet in her side, and all her money gone, Glory wrestles with what to do next. The cargo her ex-husband was trafficking wasn't drugs but people and after putting them all safely on a bus to Arizona, she's broke and being attended to by one of the Brazilians that stayed behind. Her scheme was pretty straight-forward - rob the money that the dirty sheriff was going to transport and use it for her dad's surgery. Easy peasy. Then it all went to hell as the sheriff recognized her, she dropped the money, and now no one is happy, not the sheri…