Darwyn Cooke is one of my favorite author-artists, but he deserves extra kudos here. He masterfully takes the reigns on Will Eisner’s much-beloved classic The Spirit, which follows investigative reporter Danny Colt, who is back from the dead to fights crime in Central City. I like Eisner’s Spirit, but it’s just too goofy and rather dated for me to truly get into. Cooke keeps the essence of Eisner’s work, while fusing a sense of modernity along with Cooke’s own wonderful writing and fantastic artwork. I really enjoyed this, and you don’t have to be familiar with Eisner’s work to love it too. Oh, and if you didn’t like the movie, please please don’t let that deter you from picking this up.
I was really looking forward to the final issue, a Batman/The Spirit collaboration one-shot with Jeph Loeb. I couldn’t wait: both are detectives, both are trying to clean up their respective shoddy cities, and Jeph Loeb is a master writer–just see his Superman/Batman series. And yet, it left me disappointed. Throughout most of the story, Bats and Spirit were evading each other, instead of working together; there were far fewer inside jokes and relationship-building (though granted, it’s not easy to build a relationship with Brucie). While it was cute to see the Batman and Spirit villains working together, as well as the fact that Dolan and Gordon know each other, it still felt like something was missing. Maybe it needed to be an entire trade on its own, or maybe it’s because two strong writers sometimes don’t make a good story. Regardless, this one-shot is one of few true “crossovers” in the DC universe, and it was fun to briefly live in it, at least.