By Levi Remington
Two LA cops have gotten themselves in deep with the wrong crowd, and they keep making terrible, selfish decisions which drive them deeper into trouble. This book has a cute dog, plenty of low-brow sex jokes, and a poor representation of women – it just paints an awful picture of humanity in general, really. In this issue we get flashbacks, pool parties, bad dreams, and the notorious Horny Grandma. So begins the third arc of Nick Spencer's The Fix, a book that is often hilarious, offensive, and senseless all at the same time, but only if you're twisted enough to fall for it.
The Fix is consistently one of the funniest series out today. The humor is pitch black, almost cruel. It's overtly sexual, grossly inappropriate, and undeniably offensive. Sometimes it feels like it's trying too hard to be those things, and when that happens the artifice of its hilarity steps away to reveal a shallow, pointless story in which nobody ever learns and the bad guys come out on top. Though I think that's precisely the point. This is, first and foremost, a story about terrible people doing terrible things. The point is to make us laugh at these people, and in that it succeeds greatly.
It feels like Nick Spencer is doing his best impersonation of writer/director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys), except he's pushing harder on the dark comedy and pulling way back on the heart/soul. In fact, the only semblance of heart is within Pretzels the dog, a diabolically cuddly Beagle who's main purpose is to be an adorable puppy. I mean, it totally works. That dog is pure manufactured delight, and even though the emotional manipulation is obvious, I can't help but be moved by the way this dog and his relationship to man is portrayed. Again, it's a bit gross because it's so clear how the dog is meant to make us feel, but I won't lie and say it doesn't work. I love Pretzels.
Steve Lieber continues to bring his comedic A-game to the art, with perfect expressions, wonderfully animated movements, and seamless visual storytelling. I love the small touches he puts in each panel too, adding amusing details in the busy corners of his work to gift readers with a small laugh for letting their attention linger a bit. Ryan Hill's colors are again very pleasant, and he explores some new parts of the spectrum in the dream sequence where vivid magentas and dusky orange tones fill the sky. He has a good sense of lighting and manages to make each scene have its own look and feel with the palettes he chooses.
I can't help but feel that The Fix is somewhat of an outlet for Nick Spencer. Something for him to freely express all of his most morbid comedic sensibilities. The characters are shallow, most everything is a means to a punchline, and it's far from meaningful or profound, but if your sense of humor lines up, you're in for one hell of a funny ride. This issue explores some new ground, most notably in a hilariously bizarre dream sequence, and retreads some familiar but effective territory in its sexual-based humor, but it looks to be a strong start for the new arc. If you've been a fan, you know what to do, but if you've been on the fence, there's nothing new here to change your mind.
The Fix #9
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Steve Lieber
Colorist: Ryan Hill
Letterer: Iron Bark
Publisher: Image Comics