By Xavier Dorison and Fabien Nury, art by Christian Rossi
Important personalities have been dying or going crazy. Investigator Morton Chapel and his men discover that they are on the trail of an ancient evil, something dating back to ancient Babylon and brought back to life by a British occultist. As the dark magician leaves a trail of corruption throughout the country’s ruling elite, the Spooks realise that the threat is directed at the highest level of government—and only they can stop it.
I enjoyed Volume 1 an awful lot, this rather interesting and involving crime fighting supernatural caper from Xavier Dorison – a man with form, responsible as he is for one of my favourite Cinebook tales thus far; the excellent Long John Silver.
Okay, so Spooks may not be living up to that brilliance, but it’s certainly there or there abouts. Like I said with Volume 1; this is The Magnificent Seven meets The X-Files. And it’s still putting a smile on my face.
Well, here we go for a second volume, everything’s in place, we know our cast of SPOOKS, the team of unique individuals led by English shaman Morton Chapel, and assembled by the president’s man Richard Clayton. They don’t necessarily get on, which means lots of fun stuff later no doubt. But here we’re almost straight into the complexities, the plot threads left dangling with the introduction of Kathryn Lennox and her very well connected but very disfunctional family are well and truly tied up here, the team developed and characters expanded upon.
(The cast assembles. The cast bickers)
Along the way you’ll uncover the corruption and deception threatening the very highest levels of the political classes in this very young, turn of the 20th Century America, not quite wild, certainly not west. And it’s a very familiar name at the heart of the threat, a British occultist of high repute. Can you guess who? Yes, him. The go to name for evil occultists in comics.
(Famous British occultist. You have one guess. You will guess right.)
But aside from that predictable reliance on villains, there’s certainly no letup here in the cleverness of the plot. And there’s a lot of plot to be getting through, perhaps even a little too much, or at least a few too many complex and tangential plot threads to realistically make work in just 54 pages? Or maybe trying to start it on the beach with child and child’s friend wanting me to make complex sand structures was the problem? Whatever it was, it’s nothing too troubling, and easily resolved with a little concentration.
And as good as the plotting is, the art by Rossi matches it. He gets it absolutely right almost every step of the way here, keeping that fine balance between good, simple, straightforward storytelling to keep hold of the complex plot, and throwing a little flashy stuff in simply because he’s oh so capable of it.
(How’s that for compellingly simple storytelling. Love, love, love this sequence. And yes, I know it’s been done before. Don’t care. Looks lovely here.)
If there’s one thing to pick fault with just slightly it’s the occasional confusion over the characters, with a few faces a little too similar, but again, some of that might be down to that beach, and those kids grabbing my attention again?
And as for what sort of flashy…. how about this?
(That’s just half the double page spread. Bloody gorgeous, yes?)
Yep, it builds on the success of the first volume, and goes beyond that, to some really fun places. It’s not pushing anything, not really, but it’s delivering really good genre silliness and then some. It’s another of those great Cinebook titles that does that very best of things and delivers a fun, thrilling, twisty genre based thing.