The Spirit issue 4 - That "Old School Flavor." ~ What'cha Reading?

The Spirit issue 4 – That “Old School Flavor.”


Cover by Eric Powell. Image courtesy of Dynamite.

Take a look at our review for Will Eisner’s The Spirit issue 4.

Will Eisner’s The Spirit is one of our favorite comics by Dynamite Entertainment.  It happens to be my personal favorite and our friends at Dynamite were kind enough to send us an advance copy.  The Matt Wagner written and Dan Schkade illustrated series releases its fourth issue this Wednesday on October 21st.  Without even reading it, the cover alone by Eric Powell is worth your $3.99!  If that doesn’t sell you, then let us tell you why you won’t want to miss this issue featuring one of the most fun and enduring of comic heroes.

My love for Will Eisner’s blue suit wearing and domino masked crime fighter is well documented here at What’cha Reading.  One of my earliest of published pieces was on Will Eisner’s work, which you could find here.  We all love our classic, pulp heroes like The Shadow and John Carter, but none are quite like The Spirit.  He’s had a long, but sometimes spotty history in comics with DC being the last to chronicle his exploits in Central City.  Dynamite Entertainment is the perfect home for such a character and we’ve all been happy to see him return to comic shelves, if even on a monthly basis.

I’ve been critical of Dynamite’s current work on Will Eisner’s The Spirit as I’ve felt its had a slow start, especially for a character that not many are still aware of or fond of after the 2008 film by Frank Miller.  (I enjoyed it.)  The story by Matt Wagner has focused on the disappearance of Denny Colt aka The Spirit.  In his absence, Commissioner Dolan, his daughter Ellen, and Ebony White and Sammy Strunk have all searched for their friend and hero.  He’s been gone for two years and in the first three issues, The Spirit is primarily absent with the exception of his appearance on the cover and adventures told through flashbacks.  In the last issue, The Spirit makes his triumphant come back so for fans like me, this is the issue we’ve been waiting for.

While issue four still retains its focus on characters like Ebony White and Sammy Strunk, writer Matt Wagner has taken subsidiary characters from Will Eisner’s run and tremendously upgraded their worth within the series.  Both are capable detectives, Ebony more so than Sammy, and are worthy of their own series.  Issue four finds them encountering fan favorite and femme fatale, P’gell!  “Sure I know what happened to The Spirit.  What’s it worth to you boys to find out?” she asks them as she seductively leans against a marble pillar that spells The Spirit.  All in its first page, both Wagner and illustrator Dan  Schkade work their knowledge of everything Mr. Eisner into their comic.  Both Wagner and Schkade’s character and story flourishes don’t stop there, especially as the issue delves further into a past escapade P’gell had with The Spirit.

If you are a fan of the original Will Eisner Spirit comics or even that of Darwyn Cooke’s interpretation, you will love Dynamite’s take on Will Eisner’s beloved law man and crime fighting hero.  Issue four beams with a certain old-school flavor and is a wildly appealing comic book.

Also, *SPOILER* one of The Spirit’s major villains is revealed on the last page so for anyone that is a fan of Will Eisner’s creation, issue 5 is a must read!

It will be fun to reread Matt Wagner and Dan Schkade’s first story arc in a collected trade as I suspect that this story will be one of the most enjoyable in The Spirit’s 75 year history!

Will Eisner’s The Spirit issue 4 gets ***** stars!  Yup, that’s five stars.

About Author

Mild mannered reporter, Steven Biscotti, has an avid interest in all things comic books, movies, and music (especially pertaining to Coldplay.) Always ready, professional, and on the scene, those closest to him may suspect he's actually from another planet. @ReggieMantleIII

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