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Spirit, The #7

    Ian Jane

  • Spirit, The #7

    Spirit, The #7
    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: January 20th, 2016.
    Written by: Matt Wagner
    Illustrated by: Dan Schkade
    Purchase From Amazon

    Wanted by the mob, dead or alive? Nope, just dead! Last issue saw some of the Spirit's disappearance explained when we learned how he was locked away on a prison island somewhere in the South Pacific. We also learned that Archie, Ellen's fiancé, was none too pleased to learn of The Spirit's return, what with his lady friend's past so intertwined with that of our masked avenger - but like Mick Jagger sang, you can't always get what you want.

    Larson E. Jones, notorious crime lord, puts a cool twenty grand out as a bounty on The Spirit's head. That ought to get someone capable on the job to take him out of the picture once and for all, right? That's what Larson thinks, at least, until the masked man himself shows up in the middle of this very meeting to bust some heads, Strunk and White along to help. Once his minions are taken down, The Spirit has a little pow-wow with Larson himself. The Spirit wants information about an out-of-towner hanging about with a connection to Central City, a guy named Mikada Vaas. Larson shows fear at the very mention of that name, but he offers up what he can, telling The Spirit about how Vaas' background in the Eastern European black market earned him a pretty heavy reputation.

    The Spirit splits and reports back to Commissioner Dolan. They're working together to try and crack this case, to figure out who Vaas really is and what exactly it is that he's up to in their fair city. Strunk and White figure if Vaas is running contraband through the city, there will be some sort of records at the Port Authority, so they take off to check that out while The Spirit heads uptown to reconnect with Ellen. He's got some explaining to do, and he does, all while Archie tries to figure out just where she's gotten off to.

    Strunk and White find what they're looking for, bring it back to The Spirit, and before you know it, they've headed off to the offices of Emporium Imports to see what they can see, courtesy of a little 'misdirection...' which of course leads to the obligatory cliffhanger ending you just know you want out of a series like this.

    Wagner's writing builds nicely off of the six issues that came before this seventh chapter. He's always had a knack for pulp fiction and he's really putting it to good use in this series. There's a warmth and a humor to the tough talking dialogue that pretty much every male character in this book speaks in, and a classy sophistication to the way that the ladies speak. It's in keeping with the period, or at least a fictionalized take on the period, and it makes for a fun read. There's a good amount of action in the last half of the issue but the story impresses more when it ties together some of the threads from before and keeps us guessing as to where it's all going to wind up.

    Art chores from Dan Schkade, with fantastic coloring work by Brennan Wagner, continue to impress. One of the more noticeable traits in the look of this series is the use of shadows and that is, once again, something that makes an impression here as well. We get the right balance between detail and realism alongside some appropriately cartoonish exaggeration at just the right time. Panel layouts are creative and at times even flamboyant but never to the point of overdoing it. These guys are on fire, really doing Will Eisner's eternal creation justice in this latest incarnation. Eric Powell once again contributes a cover so good you'll want to frame it.

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