Maybe we are all just animals…SPENCER & LOCKE – Review
Written by: David Pepose
Art: Jorge Santiago Jr
Colors: Jasen Smith
Letters: Colin Bell
Covers by Jorge Santiago Jr, Maan House, Joe Mulvey
To say this starts out like an homage to Calvin and Hobbes is an understatement, but the instant humor/tragedy is way more adult. “Boy, you’d think with all the sleepovers mom has, she’d at least want to stay up to watch Letterman.” Oh man, I lost it on this books first line! The abuse scene almost made me choke up. Digging deeper into this book you get that this is gonna be one messed up ride, and for those Calvin and Hobbs fans, it’s one you’ll volunteer to take.
Spun from an adult mentality, one that probably didn’t have the best upbringing, this story sucks you in and makes you care almost immediately. If the beginning didn’t connect you to the story, don’t worry, just turn the page. Each one draws you in closer and closer to our hero as we dive deeper and deeper into the psyche of this cop and his talking panther. Why do we care? Do we see a little something from our past that glimmers in each bit of the story? Probably. Does it strike you right in the feels? Yea, it does plenty of that too. But for arguments sake, let’s say you never grew up with that little boy and his tiger stuffed animal cartoon, would you be drawn in? This writer thinks there is enough here, enough little messed up scenes, to make you care. And not to spoil, but the last page, OOOH THE LAST PAGE!!
One of the great things I enjoyed about this book is the last few pages, when they opened up the Cover Gallery. Pictured are all three of the covers that are being sold. This allows me to do my job even better, as I can truly dissect each cover for their art ability to relay the story. Cover A and cover B are gritty, what you’d expect to find on the cover of a cop thriller, very police oriented, conveys the idea that the city is dirty, and needs a tough cop and his panther partner to clean it up. Cover C gives you a peak into what might really be going on as a stuffed animal has a pistol in its lap and is sitting on a chalk outline. Our main characters are in the background, split by the smoking gun. Blood splatted on the wall only adds to this cover as it easily conveys the image of “death of innocence “, yet the 9 shell casings littering this cover signify the violence inside this book. As you can tell, this is by far my most favorite cover, as it spells out what I hope this entire run will signify.
Page after page, David does a fantastic job spinning a dark story, but that story wouldn’t seem so dark if it weren’t for Jorge Santiago Jr’s art and Jasen Smith’s colors. The art is simple, yet quite detailed. Great lines produce the effects needed. The added color by Jasen is marvelous! The subtraction of light/shading as red fades into purple (p 2-3?). One wonders if there is any significance with the graffiti that is spread on the wall there too. Jorge relays excellent emotion on the faces of his characters, again lines are so important here, and they are crisp and clean. At first, I had a problem with the lettering and the way the author told the back story. Initially, I thought this was cheap, but upon looking deeper into the story, I realize its little pieces of school paper, torn off as if he was passing notes in class. Again, this set more mood of innocence lost, excellent choice! The art made me feel like this was a bad, run down part of town
Man, what a ride! What a fun book! Little known Action Lab has something fantastic here, I only hope they can push it enough to get enough readers to pay attention. I know I will be looking forward to issue #2 and hoping they keep the pace up, the intensity up, keep the story rolling
SUGGESTION: Yea, search out this book, read it, keep it, and add it to your pull list.