So often heroes suit up and set out to fight crime like it’s easy. There are your occasional more realistic depictions, but it always seems relatively simple for them to slip from their hero persona and back into their everyday life. It must be harder for heroes to keep the secret and keep their families safe when they have kids and a wife though right? Spiral is a new series currently on Kickstarter that plays with these themes, but is it good?
This crime noir series is about two families, one good and the other bad, somewhere in the UK. They’re similar in that both have fathers who want to pass down their work to their kids. One father wants to pass the torch of being a street-level masked hero now that he’s stuck in a wheelchair. The other is a crime boss (who strikingly looks like Kingpin) who is passing on his business to his son.
Why does this book matter?
Family based drama that ties in crime but also vigilantism done in a realistic way is rather unique. Usually there’s a bit of suspension of disbelief required to swallow a story like this but writer Magnus Aspli and artist Emerson Dimaya keep it very real and most importantly human.
Cool atmosphere in the first panel.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Aspli opens this book establishing Olivia, a daughter and mother who’s a police officer. She has a temper and is ready to break necks if need be. She’s harboring a lot of anger and we can only guess the issues stem from family related issues. We quickly learn that may be the case.
From there we meet the father who’s a lot like Bruce Wayne but a bit more hardened. He has an edge and has clearly seen some s--t. Olivia’s personal life is complicated too, with an ex-husband and a young kid. There are a lot of dynamics at play and Aspli paces things very well making you turn the page wanting to learn more.
Meanwhile the bad guys of the story are also established well. These characters are like something out of Goodfellas as they’re hardened and believe what they’re doing is okay. Their business deals are more the focus for these characters and I suspect we’ll learn a lot more about their relationship in the next issue, but they serve to establish a villain that may put Olivia and her family in a tight situation as things progress.
What makes this such a joy to read is the dialogue. It rolls off the tongue and reads very naturally. There are times when the dialogue runs a bit long, but it’s done in a way to reveal something about the character. This makes all the characters effectively complicated and intriguing.
The art by Dimaya reminds me a lot of Sean Phillips work on Sleeper. Color is used to make scenes pop, like a deep red in a training sequence. Layouts tend to use a lot of panels, largely due to the dialogue heavy sequences, but it never looks rushed or slapdash. In fact the layouts help with the pace of the story and in some ways I was reminded of Andy Belanger’s work on Southern Cross. All in all the art works quite well with this type of story as the plot slowly unfurls and the character development is king.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Anyone looking for all out action might want to look elsewhere, but then why are you reading a crime noir tale looking for action!?
Is It Good?
It’s Batman meets Goodfellas meets Sopranos. If you like one of those or all three you must read this book! This is building towards a hero’s origin story, effectively establishes a crime story between two families and instantly makes you interested in the characters. The story has a lot of moving parts and manages to keep them all going Very much worth a read and your kickstarter backing!
You can back this project and get a copy of the first issue by clicking here.