Review: Spiral #1

I will say complimentary things about Spiral, but I will also critique it. I say this so that my very first thought on the comic doesn’t chase you off. Spiral is too complex for its own good. The story is about family. Families on both sides of the law. On one side we’re introduced to a crippled man and his EMT son. Their conversation is vague as the father tries to recruit his son for some calling unbeknownst to us at this time. The son turns him down and mentions his sister. The sister/daughter we’re told is too much of a wild card and then learn that she’s a police officer.

On the other side we meet an arms dealer as he’s about to pass the torch to his son. His son is ambitious and doesn’t want to take his father’s advice. That advice being sell low and get rid of all of them… guns that is. Eventually the two family’s cross paths as the younger generation takes the mantle from the older generation. What each mantle is, is for you to find out.

The reason I say that this story is too complex for its own good is that it breaks its own narration flow. It attempts to establish a constant timeline and forces single pages of story when not needed. The opening is very choppy because of this. The story also keeps the reader constantly informed of the location of the different events. The book is made by creators from the U.K. so they know London and play off what others might consider common knowledge. For me, without a map… I didn’t care. Hell, even with a map, I wouldn’t care. I don’t want to do research while reading and if it’s not a video game I don’t need a map for location reference. It became a distraction to the story.

Spiral-#1-1The characters aren’t there yet. They have potential, but right now they’re too one-dimensional. The daughter, Olivia, is a wild card for sure. She’s so wild that she’d likely be suspended by any police force and yet they just kind of ignore her and let her go wild. We are given some explanation as to why she’s like this, but the story really needs to tone her down some otherwise our main character risks becoming annoying.

The artwork is fantastic. In a way it distracts or allows you to forgive the faults of the story because you’re so captivated by the art. I mean that cover alone is poster worthy. The opening credit pages are some solid design and everything else is just glorious and a credit to the genre it’s going for. It’s just that it’s chopped up by the narration so much that at times it feels like it isn’t given a chance to get started. Towards the end there is a harmony between the writing and the art and I would think that the rest of the series would be more in line with that.

The coloring is very earthy. There’s a lot of green, brown and orange hues that are used. Really the entire rainbow is used and wisely, but overall the muted earth tones stand out and dominate the most. There is a great piece of narration and design which shows three different fathers talking to their sons and each is laid out in the same page position. It was clever and visually strong.

At the end of the day I’m not sure if the story is elevating the art or the art is elevating the story. If anything it shows a strong collaboration at work. This first issue hiccups in places. It’s not smooth and perfect and again it’s more complex than it needs to be with its design and story elements, but the bottom line is that I would read the next three issues. If you’re interested in checking it out, then head over the teams Kickstarter by clicking the link below.

Score: 3/5

Spiral #1 (of 4) Writer: Magnus Aspli Artist/Colorist: Emerson Dimaya Design/Letterer: Nic J. Shaw Kickstarter Link!