Monday, February 4, 2019

Book Review - Will Eisner's The Spirit: The New Adventures HC

I was late boarding The Spirit train. I was aware of the character, but never had any real interest in him until the Frank Miller film. Despite popular opinion, I loved it and have watched it dozens of times. I purchased a trade paperback of Spirit stories and loved those. That lead me to purchase one of DC's Archive Editions. I was so disappointed by it, I didn't pick up another Spirit story. Until Things From Another World had an incredible sale...

Will Eisner's The Spirit: The New Adventures is a collection of Spirit stories published by Kitchen Sink Press that weren't written or illustrated by Will EisnerIt is available in Hardcover.

The Good

The Most Important Meal. This takes place during the last supper of one of The Spirit's greatest foes talking to another of his greatest foes. It's an interesting variation on the origin of the characters. It's by Allan Moore and Dave Gibbons, two people whose work I don't normally enjoy, but they knocked this trilogy of stories out of the ballpark.

Force of Arms. This is another story that plays with the origins of the characters, especially the Spirit's archfoe.

Gossip and Gertrude Granch. This is the third in a trilogy of origin stories that explores the fate of a minor character.

The Return of Mink Stole. This is very meta about screenwriting for movies.

Sunday in the Park with St. George. The art is atrocious, but the story is a lot of fun if not a little too convenient.

Sphinx the Jinx in The Game of Life. This is a high concept story that feels like it came from Will Eisner's newspaper work. Probably the most "classic" of the collection.

Ellen's Stalker. This feels very much like The Spirit newspaper strips, but not as concise and clever.

Dr. Broca Von Bitelbaum. This wasn't great, but kind of fun.

Cursed Beauty. This had an interesting twist, but the way it dealt with racism was very bland and overdone. It didn't feel like the writer really understood what he was talking about.

Swami Vashtibubu. The art was lousy, but the twist was interesting.

The Pacifist. The story was fine, but the concept was pretty strong, and reminded me a lot of the Rat-a-Tat story from the newspaper comics.

Sweetheart. This was one of the strongest stories from an original concept to strong art, to a tight plot, to a twist I didn't see coming.

Black Opal. This story wasn't in the original comic book series (probably because it was cancelled) but has great art and a pretty decent story.

The Bad

Last Night I Dreamed of Dr. Cobra. This is clever, but miserable to read. It reminds me of 2001: A Space Odyssey--it's a wonder of technical achievement but a complete failure in entertainment.

The Samovar of Shooshinpoor. This isn't a bad story, but the art is amateurish and the story very ordinary.

The Weapon. This was really boring, generic, and obvious.

Baby Eichbergh. The concept wasn't bad, but it was so dully executed I just couldn't care about the baby and what happened to him.

Golf Anyone? The concept wasn't that strong, and the execution did nothing to help it out.

The Ghost of Tiger Traps. The concept and plot were both really weak. And the art by Paul Pope was nowhere near his usual level.

Binding. This book looks beautiful, but started to fall apart on my second read thru.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

Better binding.


Will Eisner's The Spirit: The New Adventures is a mixed bag that contains classic stories I have read and reread numerous times as well as stories I can't believe they wasted paper to draw and then print. But despite the less than stelar stories, each one was so different and unique and most attempted something pretty wonderful, so I give this book 5 out of 5 eReaders.


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