Writer: David Pepose Art: Jorge Santiago, Jr. Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment
WHAT IS IT?
A PTSD-tinged noir mystery with strong dystopian Sunday funny roots.
Imagine Chinatown meets Calvin & Hobbes if the main character had a lot of unresolved issues and imagined his childhood friend/stuffed animal was his partner.
You can read the review for the previous issue here.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Roach Riley suffers from PTSD in much the same way as Locke does.
Unlike Locke, Roach started killing off city officials for some mysterious reason, so Locke put him in jail.
But nothing's ever that easy, is it?
The creative team carries on with their fantastic style choices mentioned in previous reviews, so consider these bullets as icing on top of the cake that is all of those aforementioned points.
Pepose shows his skill in turning a phrase, using them as clever transitions from one point to another that feels right at home in the noir style.
We get some more insight into Roach Riley's character. It seems like it wasn't a single isolated incident that made him the way he is, but very likely several.
I love Santiago, Jr.'s, little discoverable elements. The "surfer's 'S'" graffito (yes, that's a real word) on the wall. The "DOUBLE CHBBY BOY" burger sign. The character cameos from other Sunday funnies.
Colin Bell's sound effects are always one of my favorite parts of this title – the BRAPP of the minigun in this issue was the best! Also, I love when SFX are angled as if on a different plane in a comic. They feel more dynamic and integrated into the art.
Santiago, Jr. & Smith make Roach Riley demonically terrifying with those beady, golden eyes glowing in the shadows under his hat.
Was that a Roach Riley challenge coin? I smell future merch!
Also, I'm fairly certain we get an Akira homage this issue, but have not confirmed it with the book's creators.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Murder, cursing, adult themes make this a far cry from the Sunday Funnies it's based on (though you were warned on the front cover!)
We lose a little of the feral Spencer storyline (or much Spencer plot at all) this issue, but issue #2 was not meant to focus on that, and I suspect we'll see more Spencer in future plot developments.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Spencer & Locke is an immensely enjoyable and well made detective story with a fresh, new spin. Highly polished and disruptive to the genre, fans of crime noir or innovative storytelling must pick this up.
The second issue of the arc carries on with the momentum of the issues before it as we discover fresh and new twists and turns in the story. Spencer & Locke 2 continues to be one of the most enjoyable reads on shelves right now.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Spencer & Locke, Vol. 1 by David Pepose & Jorge Santiago, Jr.
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Sin City by Frank Miller
If you like the art:
Curse of the Eel by Jorge Santiago, Jr.
Criminal by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
Deadbeat by Jed McPherson & Chris Shehan
ABOUT THE CREATORS
David Pepose – Writer
Multitalented: Currently developing properties for film, TV & comics out in LA
Has also worked for CBS, Netflix, Universal Studios and DC Comics
Originally from St. Louis, where your favorite Comic Book Yeti lives
Jorge Santiago, Jr. – Artist
Has a career in graphic design
Has been "training in the comics arts" since he was 17
Jasen Smith – Colorist
Multitalented: Has also been a newspaper writer, cartoonist, voice jockey and a freelance graphic designer
Has been working as a full-time colorist since 2013
Colin Bell – Letterer
Multitalented: Has also written a couple comics, one of which (Dungeon Fun) won a SICBA award
Outlander: Lives in Scotland
Nicole D'Andria – Editor
Multitalented: Has adapted one of my daughter's favorite shows, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, to comics
Also is marketing director and submissions editor for Action Lab Entertainment, and writes articles for Comic Frontline
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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