I didn’t realize how much I’d bought into the Darwyn Cooke version of The Spirit until I read issue 7, a fill-in with art and stories by others. While I like all the writers and artists involved, none of them felt like true Spirit stories to me.
But first, issue 6. “Almost Blue” (dig that crazy title spread, man!) captures more of the Eisner essence than most of Cooke’s stories so far by not trying so hard to do so, I think. Instead, it tells an emotional story full of modern elements that Eisner himself wouldn’t have known enough about to include, mixed into a very Eisner framework that never feels at all padded or compressed, just lets the story flow naturally. Great stuff!
Issue 7, see above. Nice work from Walt Simonson & Chris Sprouse, Jimmy Palmiotti & Jordi Bernet, and Kyle Baker, but only the Palmiotti / Bernet comes close to the real Spirit in feeling for me, and still misses on some counts.
Issue 8 is right back on track, and if anything the best of the three, with lots of classic elements, an engaging story, even some romance, and all built around modern themes. I understand Darwyn will be leaving this title soon, and I’m sad to hear it.
Issues 6 and 8 are highly recommended.