Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Spencer & Locke' #3 by David Pepose, Jorge Santiago, Jr., and Jasen Smith

As a reviewer, I'm always hoping to find something different, creative, unexpected when opening a fresh comic book to review. Luckily, 'Spencer & Locke' by David Pepose, Jorge Santiago, Jr., and Jasen Smith is that kind of comic. It's only gotten better through three issues as Locke's mental state spirals out of control while being drugged and tortured.


SPENCER & LOCKE #3 
    
Writer: David Pepose
Artist: Jorge Santiago, Jr.
Colorist: Jasen Smith
Letterer: Colin Bell
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Release Date: June 21, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

★★★★★ (5/5)

What started as a cute idea, re-imagining iconic comic strip 'Calvin and Hobbes' as a hard-boiled crime noir, has evolved into one of the most disturbing and thrilling psychological dramas in comics. Locke's descent into madness is accelerated with an injection of a narcotic cocktail into his bloodstream by his captors. It unleashes a psychedelic alternative reality in his mind. Already affected by childhood trauma that causes him to imagine his stuffed panther as his real life investigative partner, Locke retreats to the persona of 'Rocketman Reynolds,' a Flash Gordon-type on a galactic mission. Reality and imagination collide in Locke's psyche as he tries to flee the men holding him hostage. 

Jorge Santiago brilliantly captures these different states of reality with versatility and precision. He has to alternate between the space adventure in Locke's head in the style of silver age comics, the comic strip of the flashbacks and art in the present day. It seems disorienting but it mirrors the dizzying elements going on in Locke's mind. Then we follow Spencer's perspective in finding Locke. Each scenario is distinctive and fully realized. Jasen Smith's colors also must adjust for each running storyline in each reality. Deeper richer colors for present day faded hues for the flashbacks and bolder, brighter colors for 'Rocket Reynolds' serve as perfect individual palettes. It's quite a task for the artists but they are more than up to it.

The struggle for survival is thrilling while the revelations of Locke's past is devastatingly sad. He is a man fighting the demons of his past, riddled with guilt and anguish, driven to delusion as a coping mechanism. 'Spence & Locked' is steeped in psychological trauma and violence. It's a crime drama with layers upon layers. Pepose has revealed more and more with each issue, keeping the reader off balance with twists and reveals as the protagonist spirals out of control. You're getting your money's worth and then some. 

'Spencer & Locke' continues to impress with new revelations and the upping of action, violence, and psychological drama. To say there isn't anything like this in comics right now would be an understatement. Pepose, Santiago, and Smith have delivered a multi-layered tour de force of a thriller. It takes your expectations and blows them away. 'Spencer & Locke' is an unexpected thrill that must be read. 

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+  












PREVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' #3 by Kelly Thompson and Jenn St-Onge

No more secrets…a dead body’s discovered, and Nancy can’t keep the mystery from her friends any longer. Will telling the truth and getting her crime-solving crew involved help crack the Bayport case, before someone else winds up dead? The modern take on the classic mystery icon continues from KELLY THOMPSON (Hawkeye, Star Wars, Rogue & Gambit) and JENN ST-ONGE (Giant Days, The Misfits)!


Nancy Drew #3
writer: Kelly Thompson  |  artist: Jenn St-Onge covers: Tula Lotay (A), Paulina Ganucheau (B), Jenn St-Onge (C),               Tula Lotay (RI-Virgin)
FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |   Teen+