You’re alive, you’re dead, you’re alive again, vowing to fight injustice wherever injustice may be. Being the hero is bound to attract the bad guys, and The Spirit has found a doozy in Angel Smerti.
Previously in The Spirit: The Octopus has hired Angel Smerti to take down The Spirit and bring him to the mob. After kick the snot out of our hero, Denny Colt made his way to Ellen Dolan’s apartment seeking a quite place to regain his strength. Unfortunately, Smerti tracked him down, and it doesn’t look good for anyone…
DENNY COLT, LADIES’ MAN
Still weak from his previous beating, The Spirit still manages to make his way to the rooftops where Smerti is holding Ellen hostage. After a struggle, The Spirit and Smerti fall to what appears to be their doom, only for Smerti to pull reveal a hidden glider beneath her clothing allowing Smerti one final chance to complete her mission.
I haven’t read every Spirit story ever published, but I’ve seen enough to know that Denny is one heck of a flirt, and he’s always landing the hot femme fatale. Angel Smerti is no exception, as she quickly falls under The Spirit’s spell, and when she realizes she’s not going to turn Denny to her way of thinking, helps him escape from the Octopus and his gang in a hail of gunfire.
Schultz does what Schultz does best; he tells a story that has a tragic ending, where no one wins, and is usually more miserable than when they began. Even though Smerti’s turn seems a bit odd, I did like that she saw the error of her ways by the end of the tale. There’s something edgy in Schultz’s writing, and it would do DC good to keep him around for other projects.
I have poured over the art in the last couple of issues, and I just can’t figure out why I really dislike what I’m seeing in the main feature. Moritat’s style is consistent from issue to issue, and yet as the series has progressed, my interest in the art dwindled. As the story progressed in this issue it seems like Denny went from the solid-chinned hero created by Will Eisner, to some mushy ape-faced Frank Miller interpretation. Interestingly, even though The Spirit’s face is near unrecognizable in the final panel, the final page looks like something Eisner would have whipped up for the Sunday installment.
ONE MORE SPIRIT BEFORE YOU GO
The second feature is written by Michael Uslan, of Batman movie fame and of The Spirit Movie infamy, and features The Spirit going after the head of the POX Network, who turns out to be one of Saddam Hussein’s former Propaganda Minister “Papa Ratzi”. It’s a clever name for the story that many will see as an attack against the prominent and controversial news network. I’m sure the conservatives in the world are already firing off letters and trying to make this issue the next big thing since that Tea-Party incident over at Marvel. Veiled references aside, the story is well done as The Spirit turns the tables on Papa Ratzi, thus ending his reign of terror on the airwaves.
The art is quite the contrast from the feature story, and quite simply, it is brilliant. The two page spread showing The Spirit fighting his way through Papa Ratzi’s compound has to be one of the best illustrated sequences I’ve seen in a number of years. In addition to the great layout and framing, the contrast and dark shadows throughout the tale turn this tale into a dark drama I want to read again and again.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH A READ
The First Wave universe seems to be off to a rocky start, with the First Wave title getting one of the strangest release schedules I’ve seen in a long time. Doc Savage appears to be following the six issue trade format, while The Spirit is trying to figure out a way to keep from repeating itself from the last Spirit series DC controlled. I really want The Spirit, Doc Savage and all of First Wave to succeed, as I think it is a playground that is ripe for some brilliant story telling. If you’ve followed the first two installments of the Angel Smerti story, this issue is worth a read just to finish the main story. The issue is also worth picking up if only to read the black and white second feature. I like the stories Schultz and Uslan offered up, but I’m mixed on the art. The Spirit #3 earns 3 out of 5 Stars.