Published on September 23rd, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
The Spire #3 Review
Simon Spurrier chronicles a convergence at The Spire as tributes are brought along with an unexpected request.
Captain Sha spends this issue moving from one character to the next gathering information. Some of this proves useful and some seemingly less so. However that’s the point of a good mystery and The Spire is turning into a very intriguing enigma that involves everyone from the highs of power right down to the lower tiers. Spurrier is crafting a modern day whodunit investigation and setting it in a bizarre and outlandish world that has the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop itching to get involved*.
Sha is about the only character that doesn’t appear to have anything to hide which makes the narrative a whole lot juicer; without a number of suspects what would be the point of a mystery? The story has cleverly shown that the secret at the heart of the royal household is at the centre of the current murder investigation but what exactly is the secret? The writer is slowly drip feeding this into the story with the opening page of history followed by hints and possible red herrings. How does Britelwod know Juletta? Who (or what) is the Soulbreaker? Who is killing off the royal household? And why has Sha been set up?
The amount of story that Spurrier packs in to each issue is amazing, especially as it never reads as if there is too much going on. This is obviously helped by Jeff Stokely who is able to illustrate quite complex situations in simple one or two panels. Sha’s flashback moment to when she was abandoned as a child is dealt with in a single panel with a word balloon over the top. You learn a lot about Sha in this single panel, about where she comes from, her emotional state and an understanding about her desire to help. The panel is a wonderful example of how easily Spurrier and Stokely work together to produce an informative and entertaining story in the simplest way.
Stokely also plays about with the panel layouts so that no two pages are the same. You flow through the comic like one of the inhabitants of the Spire, drifting from panel to panel trying to follow the clues and the characters. Some of the conversation is printed in a lighter colour font to indicate the whispers and the muffled speech but some of this maybe important, you as the reader are also forced to pay close attention like an investigator; be very careful, you don’t want to miss anything.
The most successful page in the comic features a spiral of panels around the central column of the Spire. You are led from the vast, vertigo inducing view of the great hall from above into the uncomfortable stairwell that curls around inside the column. The panels are positioned in a loop which forces you to read down the page and then back up into the centre; this creates a sense of being taken away from the action and then being led back to it. It also contains the most emotional conversation of the issue in which Sha and her girlfriend talk about announcing their relationship to family.
The Spire is both epic in storytelling but also emotional. It is driven by the fantastical and the personal, by Governments and by individuals. This is an impressive and exciting read with Art that dares to be a little different.
Title: The Spire
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Jeff Stokely
Colourist: Andre May
*They aren’t actually getting involved but if they have a gap in their schedule…..