As Real As You Need Them to Be
I had the pleasure of getting an early look at the first issue of Spencer & Locke 2, published by Action Lab, and I haven’t been excited for a comic in such a long time. I’ve seen Spencer & Locke on the shelf at my local comic shop and honestly, I think I bought the first issue when it was released, but there were so many comics and so little time I never found myself giving it a read…I wish I hadn’t been so late to the party. For those of you who don’t know, Spencer & Locke follows Detective Locke and his partner Spencer—who happens to be his imaginary friend who is also a panther—in a world full of crime, and they can only rely on each other to survive.
If you’re not sold on that premise alone you don’t like fun things… Kidding! (not really) Anyway, Locke comes from a troubled youth and had his stuffed panther Spencer come alive as a coping mechanism to help deal with the world he found himself in. This carries over into his adult life and career. They work side by side to solve crimes. Locke tends to be more hardened, while Spencer tends to lighten the mood and Locke. The love these characters have for one another is seen in every panel on every page.
I spent the other night reading through volume 1, in preparation for this post, and I couldn’t stop reading. Every part of it captured my particular taste in storytelling. Crime, mystery, twists and turns, action, comedy, and high concept. The time I spent reading volume 1, I couldn’t help but imagine all the stories you could tell with these characters. That goes to show the effort put in by the creators of such an amazing comic.
Not going to spoil volume 1 here. You need to read it… Did you read it? Amazing, right? Okay, on to the next one!
Spencer & Locke, Volume 2
Spencer & Locke 2 opens with… I ain’t giving you anything! Because it’s something you have to experience for yourself. This series gave me something I never knew I wanted. It delivers on the concepts and promise of the first volume, and doubles down and gives you even more. That’s all you get. Seriously, it’s so good I’m scared to write anything more just in case. You should read it when the first issue comes out. I loved it, so that naturally means you’ll love it too!
The creative team behind Spencer & Locke 2—David Pepose, writer, Jorge Santiago, artist, and Jasen Smith, colorist—has become one of my favorite teams overnight and deserves a shoutout.
Pepose’s writing enthrals me. Every line of dialogue feels authentic. The thoughts going through Locke’s head carry you through the story like an old detective film and convey the depth of Locke’s psyche. The over-arching story is threaded within the simplest lines of dialogue from the start. Watching his story flawlessly unfold is a masterclass for anyone who wants to be a storyteller; I’m one of them, and I’m taking notes.
Santiago’s art…I’m at a loss for words. It’s beautiful. A blend of old and modern comic art that seems like it should have always existed. Even with these two being stylistically opposite, Santiago finds a way to make them feel like they are the same world. The homage to the Calvin and Hobbes art is used to show the flashbacks of Spencer & Locke. This style just speaks childlike wonder, but Locke’s backstory screams the opposite. It’s with the modern style does Locke’s life really come into perspective.
Smith’s coloring paints a tone and helps define the world. The blues are what give the comic its noir-style feel and it really sets the mood. Most panels have some form of a blue at their base, but there are times where Smith just drastically goes to blacks, whites, and reds that pop at the right moments. The understanding of when to change the colors show the level of attention Smith pays to the story and every panel.
If you can’t tell, I LOVE THIS COMIC! Everything about it speaks to me and I’m so glad I got a chance to read it. It makes me excited to see where this series is going and how they are going to get there. Have you read Spencer & Locke Vol 1? Excited for Vol 2? Let me know down in the comments below, and if you love this series, give a tweet to the creators to let them know you’re excited for the new volume.
P.S. No review score for this spoiler-free look. Review score will be added with the spoiler review.
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