The Spirit (2007 Series) #3
Quick Rating: Great
The death – and birth – of the Spirit!
Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Pencils: Darwyn Cooke
Inks: J. Bone
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Jared Fletcher
Editor: Scott Dunbier
Cover Art: Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: DC Comics
Darwyn Cooke has found the perfect ongoing property to match his sensibilities as a creator – The Spirit is a classic character that only works properly in a classic style, but at the same time, Cooke is free to modernize certain elements of the story. This issue is a perfect example: Cooke takes an opportunity to retell the origin of Will Eisner’s classic creation.
A series of murders in Central City points the finger at one of the Spirit’s earliest foes – in fact, it’s the man who caused the “death” of the Spirit’s alter-ego, Denny Colt. Told in flashback, the Spirit and his supporting cast remember the fateful night when Denny died and the Spirit was born.
This issue is a perfect example of how Cooke is making this series work so well. He took the basic framework of the original Will Eisner story – that of a man who is believed dead and decides to use his divorce from society to become a force for justice – and changes the details a bit to make it fit in with the modern take on the book. And although this is a done-in-one issue, it leaves a big plot thread left untied at the end, keeping it open for Cooke to revisit this story in future issues.
Like the story, Cooke and J. Bone’s artwork is a flawless match for the character. They aren’t emulating Eisner exactly, but adapting their own styles to fit his world. Fortunately, their styles fit that world pretty well to begin with. They change up the artwork a bit for the flashback sequences, though, employing a lighter line and a different color scheme by Dave Stewart. The splash page in particular, a double-page spread of the Spirit digging up a grave in the rain, is just fantastic. I especially appreciate how the artists work the character’s name into the opening splash page artwork each issue, just like Eisner always did.
In short, this is a great book that’s won me over entirely. Eisner’s most famous creation is in very good hands.