By Kevin Powers
December 20, 2006 - 22:00
With so many new ideas coming and going in comic books it seems that revisiting a classic would seem inappropriate and old, a feeling of “been there, done that.” However, Darwyn Cooke doesn’t just give us the classic Spirit, he modernizes the Spirit and gives him the same timeless feel like is shared by the likes of Captain America, Superman or Batman. Rather than get a period piece, this latest vision of the Spirit is set in modern times and it is probably one of the single best comic book issues I’ve read in the past year. Darwyn Cooke captures the humor behind the character, he captures the tone of the story, its fun and its entertaining all the while being serious. TV reporter Ginger Coffee (great name!) is abducted on air moments before she interviews an informant that will no doubt put away crime lord Amos “The Pill” Weinstock. Hot on her trail is the Spirit who makes his first appearance in his new series cutting through the cushion of a back car seat. He proceeds to rescue Ginger Coffee, and in probably one of the most annoyingly entertaining scenes I have ever read in a comic book, Ginger Coffee tries to interview The Spirit while they try to escape through the sewers. Her cell-phone is open and the chase is being broadcast on national television thus leading the Pill and his goons right to The Spirit. In classic style, the Spirit makes his escape when his sidekick, Ebony White pulls up in a taxi cab. The banter back and forth between Coffee and The Spirit is amazing and done wonderfully enough to the point where you start to feel bad for the Spirit for having to go through this. His only request to Miss Coffee is that she keep his involvement on the down-low. He doesn’t want a huge public profile and he simply asks she don’t speak of his involvement. So instead she twists the story and gives her viewers the idea that she was the true hero of the escape! Brilliant! This title is fun, fast and energetic and it has a timeless feel that makes it true to Eisner’s vision.
Darwyn Cooke’s art is beyond perfect for this series. He captures the tone of the book perfectly, a mix of noir and humor, classic and modern rolled into one. His artwork is very distinct, a “comic” version of Bruce Timm’s style but very distinct in its own right. I could not imagine anyone more perfect to give a rebirth to one of comicdom’s most fantastic characters. Even if you don’t read comics, you should grab this book for a great story.