Cooke's delicious reinvention of the Golden Age hero created by Will Eisner brings the elegant crime fighter into the present era while still retaining a decidedly retro look. Beginning with the Batman/Spirit "Crime Convention," the story moves through a handful of episodes that balance noir with cheeky humor, slowly dropping bits of an origin story. A kidnapped TV news reporter uses her cellphone to broadcast her rescue; a femme fatale from the Spirit's past exacts revenge on the man who killed her husband; a madman tries to poison the city's water supply. The standout is "Media Man," in which an unscrupulous marketer appropriates the Spirit's image to sell canned beans, and an even more unscrupulous villain tries to use those beans to get kids hooked on meth. Glancing references are made to larger story elements, like a criminal network called the Octagon and a man from Spirit's past who died but didn't stay dead. The visuals are an addictive blend of old-school color melodrama and lean, muscular lines; the credit spreads are particularly clever in their integration of the book's title into the scenery. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Will Eisner's 1940-52 Spiritseries is widely acclaimed as a literate and inventive comics classic. Cooke (Absolute DC: The New Frontier) approaches the daunting task of following the master by hewing closely to the three-word motto that headed Eisner's early Spirit stories: "Action-Mystery-Adventure." The Spirit was private detective Denny Colt until, after an accident that left the world thinking him dead, he donned a blue mask and became an independent crime fighter. Cooke brings the Spirit's origin and adventures into the present while retaining much of the original's excitement, intrigue, and humor, along with the Spirit's fallibility (unlike many heroes, he's frequently injured and doesn't always nab his prey) and his supporting cast, including the notorious femme fatale P'Gell and the beautiful Silk Satin (here a CIA agent). Cooke's tragic tale of Almost Blue, piano prodigy turned punk rocker, combines two things Eisner's Spiritis known for: a biographical sketch of a misfit and the incorporation of a fantastic element (here, the narcotic properties of a meteorite) into a realistic setting. Also included is a Batman/Spirit crossover cowritten by Batman veteran Jeph Loeb. This is fine, entertaining stuff that will satisfy any longtime comics fan; recommended for teens and adults.