Last week I read Arsenic Lullaby – The Devils Decade which was obscenely funny. After something like that, I needed something more basic, like a good crime noir or superheroes or maybe something a little bit of both. I found that in, Spirit: Angel Smerti written Mark Schultz and David Hine, illustrated Moitat, published by DC Comics.
The latest version of the Spirit was part of DC’s First Wave project. Unfortunately, the Wave never quite made it to shore but with the caliber of creators associated with the project, I couldn’t pass it up. This book collects the first seven issues of the series which was a three issue story arc by Mark Schultz and a four issue arc by David Hine. It was interesting to see how the two authors treated the same characters differently.
Schultz’s story addresses how the Spirit is perceived, and how he impacts those around him. In the arc, the Octopus, Spirit’s arch enemy, has had enough of him interfering with his crime syndicate and hires a European assassin to kill him. The characterization for this story is just top notch. Schultz introduces the Spirit, but also takes the time necessary to develop his supporting cast. There’s plenty of action, but there are also plenty of moments that build the ‘good man doing good deeds’ aspect of the character. Schultz builds upon each good deed so that they form a support to understand how the Spirit can be as effective as he is. I also appreciated that Schultz made the Spirit human and fallible. He was lucky as much as he was skilled but he certainly wasn’t Batman. That sense of humanity really made the action sequences tense and enjoyable.