(Dynamite Entertainment – 2017)
Writer / Artist / Letterer Francesco Francavilla
Fans of hard-boiled pulp and crime-comics are in for a real treat with The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers #1 as renowned comic book writer-artist Francesco Francavilla brings us his distinct take on Will Eisner’s legendary masked crime-fighter The Spirit! The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers #1 kicks off the first part of this brand new five part mini-series from Dynamite Entertainment were Central City has been struck by a series of unexplained deaths, the Police can find nothing to connect the victims, but there is something far more sinister going on than anyone truly realizes, and its not long before The Spirit and his trusty sidekick Ebony White are on the case!
Right from the moment that opening monologue: “The vic’s name is Carl Stevens,” scrawls from the pages of grizzled old cop Dolan’s report, Francesco Francavilla instantly transports us back into the shadowy rain swept world of pulp fiction and the classic comic era of Will Eisner’s best-known creation – The Spirit. Dolan and The Spirit briefly share notes on the case, deciding there’s nothing for them to look into, before The Spirit and Ebony White decide to take the night off from crime-fighting, leaving EB free to catch up with his cousin, Vince, who is visiting town. But the past has a way of catching up with people; likewise, the mystery of the murders and disappearances isn’t going to be a simple open and shut case either.
Francesco Francavilla’s stunning artwork seamlessly embodies the essence of The Spirit, with a stylish blend of pulp-noir comic book themes that bring this classic character to life on the page with beautifully crafted pages steeped with striking visual flourishes to complement the dark brooding atmosphere of the era. The story, although essentially quite straightforward, oozes with mystery and suspense thanks to Francavilla’s glorious art. The moody, rain drenched opening sets the tone perfectly, while scenes as we move between the cars is another stylish throwback to this halcyon era, EB’s reunion with his cousin leads to an insightful interlude about Vince, unsettling news reports skillfully drive the narrative, there’s some decidedly strange business going on at the Morgue, and a frenetic getaway is realized via a stunning two-page spread that sends us screeching around corners along with the action as the bullets start flying!
Following on from Matt Wagner’s twelve issue run – now available in the Will Eisner’s The Spirit Returns collection – Francesco Francavilla has done a superb job with this first issue of Will Eisner’s The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers. The sheer love and respect Francavilla has for the character and its legendary creator shines through on every page. So, if you’re a fan of the genre and the rain-swept era of pulp crime comics of yesteryear you’ll discover that The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers #1 certainly ticks all the right boxes, the cliff-hanger to this issue is brilliant too, and with Francesco Francavilla guiding the adventures of such a classic iconic character as The Spirit you can bet your last dollar that this new Dynamite series will be an essential addition to your pull list!
Paul Bowler is a self-Confessed Sci-Fi Geek, Doctor Who fan, and Zombie Disposal Expert. He likes movies, comic books, and all things PS3. He likes to write about his interests, would love to write a novel one day, and also enjoys chatting to the many people he has gotten to know on Twitter. When he’s not busy being an Impossible Astronaut, he likes to take a break from his adventures in time and space to enjoy some of his favourite tv shows and movies, preferably with a nice cuppa tea & a sandwich! You can follow him on Twitter @paul_bowler, or find him at his website, Sci-Fi Jubilee.