W – David Pepose
A – Jorge Santiago Jr
C – Jasen Smith
L – Colin Bell
This series keeps coming with the hits and issue 3 of this second volume for Spencer & Locke maintains the insanely high bar of quality that has been set by the creative team. Quick reminder, in the last issue our baddy (Roach) drove a freaking tank into a courtroom. The over the top comic elements that make comic books fun has been seamlessly intertwined with the absolutely brilliant writing we’ve been getting with the “real” issues being dealt with within the pages of this book.
Now, in issue 3, we get more mastery of using the medium creatively to deliver much more than just a comic book story. We find our heroes under a pile of rubble thanks to senior Riley and they’re on the brink of death. If you’ve not caught on at this point, we’re being shown how we use our own world to make a path through the lands that our trauma has created around us. This issue brings even more perspective on top of the “opposite sides of the same coin” Locke and Roach. We get shown another real world analogue for so many of us readers in Locker’s daughter, Hero. She’s made the conscious choice to stand up, “be better” than dad, and strike out against the evil menace. What we’re given though, is a different perspective and place in regards to how trauma effects us. As her father is a fundamentally broken person Hero was raised by a parent suffering from, overcoming, living with, and projecting their own issues. How does that shape and influence a child? We get some diving into this with Hero’s portion of the story and it falls right in line with just how well done Spencer and Roach’s stories have been.
With the level at which this book delivers MORE than just a comic book it is easy to lose sight of the fact that … it’s a damn good comic book. The usage of styles and homages to the strips continues to be on of the single most phenomenal structural pieces I’ve seen in comic books in a decade. This issue in particular reinforces the trauma/struggles there as our main driving narrative but also supplements it with two lines that both play directly into that narrative as well as that of the literal comic book aspect. The exploits of both Hero and Melinda keep the book grounded in the NOIR arena this story truly lives in. What Melinda uncovers drives the classic trope home in grand fashion.
There’s a reveal at the end of this issue that, for me, works due to how well this book is done. I’ll understand if some people may feel it is a bit “flat” or maybe just raise an eyebrow to it though. As I said, for me, it works. Take the whole book, what it’s been giving us, and how it has been telling this story and the reveal does indeed work. I’ve also no doubt that issue 4 will hammer home the goods on this front.
If you missed it, fix it and grab this sucker when you head back into the shop …