The investigation to find out what has happened to The Spirit continues as the trail leads to one of Denny’s best friends turned criminal. However, there is also the inclusion of a short, which hints to the whereabouts of The Spirit! Is It Good?
The Spirit #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Matt Wagner begins Will Eisner’s The Spirit #3 in a completely different direction from the previous two issues. He takes us out into the deep waters where the Bajau tribe live in a short titled, “The Biggest Catch.”
Wagner uses a narrative form of exposition to expose the hardship Kabei of the Bajau is experiencing. However, Wagner is able to translate this narrative exposition into dialogue to further exemplify the hardship he is enduring. The dialogue between Kabei and his wife, Azeda, is absolutely brilliant and shows the real trouble Kabei is going to be in if he doesn’t start providing for his family. The dialogue is something you might hear your parents say or may have caught yourself saying something similar to your spouse.
The second half of the issue takes us back to Central City where Strunk and White are tracking down another lead into the disappearance of The Spirit. The dialogue here is just as good as the short. Wagner uses some small talk to give updates on other characters not present in the scene. The story transitions nicely to the interrogation scene and Wagner gives a lot of depth to the suspect. She has a ferocious passion that is not only displayed in her tenacity, but also the actions she takes as she recalls her last moments with The Spirit. What makes her even more interesting is her ability to complicate The Spirit’s image of a stand-up gentleman.
Dan Schkade’s artwork is as stellar as ever. The scene between Kabei and his wife Azeda matches Wagner’s dialogue with stinging facial expressions and body language. Schkade also uses some very iconic symbols to depict Kabei’s totally unexpected catch. He places the sun perfectly behind the catch’s head giving it a halo effect as well as having him coming up out of the water signifying new life.
There is also a classic depiction of a jail with extremely high walls and spotlights shining out of it. It is an imposing structure and gives the impression that only the most fearsome inmates call it home. The action sequences are full of suspense with looming shadows in the background. There are some issues here where blood spatter doesn’t appear to be coming from a wound, but instead looks more like paint blobs splashed on clothes.
A Larger World Studios continues to be the best in the business when it comes to lettering. If anyone is looking to get into lettering, they should definitely check out the work here. They are able to show sarcasm with dripping word clouds or extreme anger in large red letters that take up a good portion of the panel.
Brennan Wagner’s colors bring the seas of the Bajau to life with a multitude of blues and his setting suns are absolutely gorgeous. It really takes you to the islands with a beautiful array of oranges and yellows blending into purples and darker blues. He also uses a light purple to signify a memory which allows Matt to forego a note informing us, as readers, the event is taking place in the past.
Is It Good?
Will Eisner’s The Spirit #3 is another excellent installment. Matt Wagner introduces us to a new villain, who not only has quite a bit of her own character depth, but also complicates The Spirit’s character and the image of his relationship with Ellen. Schkade’s artwork is top notch although there are some minor errors during the action sequences. The lettering is absolutely fantastic and is pushing the boundaries of what letterers can do in order to convey tone. This is a fun and enjoyable book that continues to add more layers and depth with each issue.