Review: The Spire #5

Sorry for the delay on these reviews, everyone. I was thoroughly overpowered by comics this week, but I clawed my way to the top of the pile of wreckage that is my life because I needed to shout about how great The Spire is, as per usual.


Okay, so: last week, we were left with Zoarim at the literal doorstep of the Spire, asking for a new Pax, which is the generational peace talk the Marchioness is constantly having flashbacks about. As they gather, Shå and Meera have one of those It’s Too Early So This Conversation Will Be Too Frank discussions of their relationship, and what it means for Shå, a Sculpted, to be in a relationship with a member of the royal family. Meanwhile, Shå is losing deputies left and right, and after thoroughly going over the case file with Milk (in yet another amazing Jeff Stokely/Si Spurrier Double Page Splash Jam), she may have cracked the case—the only problem is that Meera is going to do something rash. Seems like Shå’s only option is to start getting impulsive herself...

The-Spire-#5-1Now that we’re in the back half of The Spire, things are starting to take more dramatic turns for the weird. The first half of the book leaned pretty heavily on the genre tropes inherent in police procedurals, but they were set in a richly imagined world, where things are so different that it was still a delight to read. It seems like this issue was a pivot for Spurrier and Stokely into more heavily action-adventure territory, with the hero trying to save the woman she loves. In the case of a creative team like this, a pivot can only mean more bonkers-awesome stuff going on, so I 100% support it. Add into that that Spurrier’s dialogue and Stokely and May’s sense of mood can perfectly pull off a subtle realignment of a character, such as when Shå tries to rehire her favorite deputy, and this book is all about the emotional core that it revolves around. The trappings of Zoarim and Marchionesses and Nothinglands and Sculpted are all astonishing feats of imagination, but ultimately, we’re here to see people let each other down and try to make things right. It’s a noble story and it’s so worthwhile.

Stokely and André May continue to kill it with every page of The Spire, as they do every month, infuriatingly. Tamra Bonvillain steps in this issue to color the cover, which conveys such a pure sense of Shå’s isolation in this issue—and also, is that fucking Arzach on the cover? Niiiice—and she’s a welcome addition to any art team. The real star in this issue for me is the ultra-victorious splash page of Shå after she deals with some upset citizens in her own peculiar, Sculpted way, but the rest of the issue is just as staggering. Stokely and May never sink to exploitation when they deal with Shå and Meera, and the powers of their facial expressions throughout the issue can break your heart or patch it back up.

I mourn the fact that this series will be over sooner rather than later, but I rejoice that there is something this good out in the world periodically. I can only fervently hope that every time Spurrier and Stokely have a weird, touching, badass, crazy idea, they get in touch with each other and they make it happen, forever.

Score: 5/5

The Spire #11 Writer: Simon Spurrier Artist: Jeff Stokely Colorist: André May Letterer: Steve Wands Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/16/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital