In SPY ISLAND #3, Nora discovers a liking for her gangster father, while Harry continues to blunder into all sorts of dangerous plots. Sand fleas, man eating mermaids and exploding mimes – what’s that all about? Find out it in your latest might Major Spoilers review!
SPY ISLAND #3
Writer: Chelsea Cain
Artist: Elise McCall
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 4th, 2020
Previously in SPY ISLAND: Spy Island sits in the Bermuda Triangle – and is home to all sorts of craziness – the spy agencies of the world have lathered the island with their agents, while the weird and wonderful flock around it. Man eating mermaids, check. Running gun battles on the beach – check. Sand fleas with cameras strapped to their tiny backs…check?
YOU ONLY LIVE THRICE
Comedy is hard to do. Believe me, as a washed up classroom clown, it’s the most difficult thing to get right. Go too hard, and suddenly your attempts at humor come across as jaded and cynical. Too far the other way and suddenly you’re bundled into the change rooms to have a facial at the bottom of the toilet bowl.
What I’m trying to say is that SPY ISLAND #3 treads the line finely, and funnily. Sure, it’s all a bit crazy – sand fleas with cameras strapped to their backs are everywhere all of a sudden. The mermaids do eat people (except their fingers, apparently). All sorts of hi-jinks involving mimes blowing up are mined for all their worth. But it’s done with such earnestness and a straight face that the entire issue can’t be anything other than amusing, and occasionally, laugh out loud funny.
Writer Chelsea Cain has done an excellent job maintaining that po-faced tone throughout, which makes the humor all the more amusing. Everyone loves an exploding mime, and Cain, along with artist Elise McCall, ensure that the mime’s demise in this issue not only serves the greater plot, but that its depiction (great balls of fire) is hilarious. Similarly, we have a courtroom flashback scene told through the agency of very dodgy courtroom artist, whose depictions of the defendants and the jury can only be described as cartoonish, which undercuts the seriousness of proceedings (the takedown of the Brotherhood of Depravity!) while evoking an amused smile.
DOCTOR YES, BABY!
The story SPY ISLAND #3 is telling is deliberately convoluted, without being complicated. It has all the elements of a Rube Goldberg machine – lots of strange, seemingly unrelated events happen early on, only for the audience to realize at the last moment that it all makes sense (if an island full of spies spying on each other, surrounded by man eating mermaids (did I mention they eat men?)) can actually make sense. Super Spy Nora Freud’s efforts to discover what is happening on the island (which houses her escape master criminal father described as a mime) involves an autopsy so ghastly it is actually hilarious – but the point by which she communicates her findings to her sister, Connie (the only person on the island capable of cutting up a corpse) is so grotesque your only sane reaction is to laugh. And then go back through SPY ISLAND #3 to discover how the breadcrumbs led to Connie holding up two yards of intestine.
The writing is tight and funny, the artwork has the sort of precision that draws the eye. The imagination that creators Cain and Lia Miternique bring to SPY ISLAND #3 and this series as a whole is wildly inventive, without losing the reins of control. The next issue promises to be wild.
BOTTOM LINE: GRIPPING
SPY ISLAND #3 plays with all the tropes of the genre, while telling a tale of familial bonds, as Nora rediscovers her father and all that they share in common. It is a really enjoyable, at times funny, always quirky take on the genre, which, given the staleness it can sometimes fall into, is a much needed breath of fresh air.
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Spy Island #3
SPY ISLAND #3 is written in such a way that a new reader can immediately leap on board with a minimum of confusion. It is one of the best written books of 2020, a much needed tonic during some grim times. If you like humor, if you like action, if you like humorous action montages, and if you like strong female leads kicking ass and taking numbers in a field traditionally dominated by men, then SPY ISLAND #3 is definitely for you.