Spirit of Justice


The Spirit #14

It’s the first issue with our new creative team — writers Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier and artist Mike Ploog. That’s right, Aragones, probably best known as the artist on “Groo” and several decades’ worth of MAD Magazines, is only the writer here. But that seems to be fine — I’m not sure his highly cartoonish style would’ve been a good fit for a book like “The Spirit.”

The plot is pretty simple — the Spirit is investigating a rash of murders of the city’s doctors. Commissioner Dolan becomes convinced that the murderers are a couple of elderly residents of an old folks home and throws them in jail, despite the obvious frame job. Can the Spirit track down the real murderer before he claims any more victims?”

Verdict: Thumbs up. Artwise, Mike Ploog isn’t Darwyn Cooke, but in a way, his rougher style fits the book better — Will Eisner’s “Spirit” was set in a rough-hewn city, with rough-hewn, sometimes cartoonish people. That isn’t to say that Cooke’s run on “The Spirit” wasn’t wonderful and beautiful, but Ploog’s interpretation has serious merit, too. I’ve got a few quibbles with the writing — Commissioner Dolan shouldn’t be anywhere near this stupid, and the personalities of the two oldsters are painted a bit too broad for my liking. Still, overall, I approve. If you haven’t been reading this one… start reading this one.

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