Review: The Spirit Book Two (or why I hate Frank Miller)

Sick days sure are good for catch up reading.  Kind of nice that it coincided with my bi-weekly comics shipment.  So here’s the latest from my favorite comics artist of the moment, Darwyn Cooke.  Cooke took on an unenviable task when he decided to relaunch Will Eisner’s legendary character the Spirit.  Especially since the Spirit is not really known for being a particularly important character in his own right.  Instead he is one of the few characters whose reputation lays completely with its creator.  To compound the difficulty, the Spirit is now being linked with an equally influential name in the comics world, Frank Miller.

But there is a reason that Cooke tops my list of artists.  Cooke is an astonishingly gifted storyteller, who has a real love for the history of the medium.  His respect for the original material here makes a nice juxtaposition with the trailers for the upcoming Miller directed film, in which Miller is clearly telling one of his own stories and not one of Eisner’s.

However, Cooke is able to tweak the material just enough to make it feel current.  Ebony White no longer comes across as a racist stereotype for example.  He also adds some more fantastic elements to the Spirit’s world, although I’m a bit conflicted about how well zombies fit into the mythos (probably the only time I’ll come out as anti-zombie).  But that aside this is a great comic, told with more style than anything else on the stands.  And if that’s not enough this collection also includes a few shots from greats like Walter Simonson, Kyle Baker, Glen David Gold, and Eduardo Risso , all of who rise to the occasion (better than Frank Miller seems to be).

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