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Review: The Spirit #3

The ladies just can't keep their hands off him!

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In the main story, the Spirit makes a bid to redeem the Octopus' assassin Angel Smerti. In the back-up, he takes on a media mogul who may actually be a fifth columnist.

The Good

I really enjoyed the back-up story. After seeing so many comics these days stick to simple, storyboard-style layouts, it was such a breath of fresh air to read a comic where an artist like Justiniano is free to stylize the layouts. The double-spread of the Spirit's siege of the mansion was a knock-out - - seriously some of the best storytelling I've seen in any comic lately. I also really enjoyed Uslan's storytelling, which meshed the Spirit's war era roots with the digital age for a surreal dig at a certain major media corporation. I enjoyed the main feature, mainly for how Schultz captured the Spirit's most defining character trait - - his seemingly paradoxical nature of being both a ladies' man and purehearted innocent. I'm sure I'm not going to be surprising anyone by telling them that, despite herself, Angel finds the Spirit irresistible and ends up changing her ways because of him. It did make for a good ending, though.

The Bad

Moritat's a great artist, but this book really could have used an inker. Maybe not as much to tighten the lines so much as to keep them consistent. Sometimes the linework's sharp, other times it's really rough and it really gets distracting after a while. I don't have a problem with loose linework, per se, but I think it works much better with traditional methods like water colors or guache, not computer colors. Also, I know that this whole thing is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but having the Spirit and Angel having this long conversation while they're falling off a building was pushing it.

The Verdict - 3.5/5

Seeing as how the Spirit's most famous for the storytelling innovations Will Eisner made through the strip, I really would've liked to have seen more artistic layouts like we get in the back-up feature. I still feel like this character is so intrinsically Eisner's baby that you really need him to make it worthwhile, but this comic is a still good time, mixing modern supheroics with classic noir tropes.