Spencer and Locke 2 #3 // Review
Detective Locke and his partner Spencer have been through absolute hell since issue one at the hands of the murderous Roach Riley. The creative team of writer David Pepose, artist Jorge Santiago Jr, colorist Jasen Smith and letterer Colin Bell continue the witty and heartbreaking tale of Spencer and Locke 2. With Issue three, the creative team show once again that they can create a comic that is consistently funny yet still retain moments of crime thriller shock and surprise. Locke has met his match at the hands of the psychotic soldier Roach Riley this twisted series' take on the classic cartoon oaf Beetle Bailey. Finding himself and Spencer trapped in a grownup version of their childhood adventures, Locke will need to embrace his inner demons if he hopes to get out alive.
While Locke is busy fighting for his life, Melinda Mercury is hot on the trail of uncovering Roach Riley's past. Roach Riley better watch his back as Hero Jenkins, Locke's daughter is tracking the psychopath and has a thirst for vengeance.
Issue three of this wacky and violent series takes a deep dive into Calvin and Hobbes lore. Many of the old comics featured C and H on daring adventures and brave missions all over, most times behind enemy lines in the middle of a war. Snowmen were also featured quite often, sculpted in absurd manners or set up silly situations often being the punchline. Leave it to writer David Pepose to take it to the next level with Mutant Nazi Snowmen, yet more characters hilariously twisted to fit the world of this comic. Hanging between life and death, Locke is stranded in a nightmarish limbo where the snowmen take the visage of ghosts of his past. Pepose does a great job of reintroducing these characters for readers who may already be familiar with them and gives enough detail through dialogue, so unfamiliar readers will understand what these characters were like when they were alive. Hero Jenkins, Locke's daughter, hasn't been discussed much as she was a bit of a spoiler for previous reviews. Pepose starts the foundation of a winning story arc that hopefully is given a chance to flesh itself out in future issues.
Jorge Santiago Jr.'s artwork continues to amaze. Opening the issue with a Roach Riley comic strip that reveals some grizzly details on his past. Santiago Jr. shows great skill in flipping back and forth from the Sunday funny pages to the gritty "real" world. His design later on in the issue for Hero Jenkins will leave readers with a big smile on their faces. Roach Riley looks even more sadistic in this issue and his path of destruction, even deadlier. Santiago Jr's panels featuring destruction are numerous and quite vivid, giving readers a scale of just how dangerous Riley is. Jasen Smith's color work adds the final touch to the violence and destruction with deadly fires engulfing the city. Smith's single-panel color splash with just one character is a technique he has used since issue one. It helps to convey to the reader what emotion the character is experiencing and is a nice visual touch that can be used without dialogue. These panels also give an anime feel to the comic as they are often loud and busy with colors and shadow. It's very hard not to notice Colin Bell's letter work throughout this issue and the series as a whole. Colossal explosions, gunshots, and screeching car tires litter the pages and really help drive the story along.
The creative team has delivered yet another heart-pounding issue that leaves the reader with a cliffhanger ending. Pepose gave some more exposition on characters that hadn't been explored in depth before. Locke's daughter Hero is sure to surprise, and will probably have her story examined in further detail at some point. Hopefully, she can avoid the same mistakes of her father's past and not become a product of her surroundings. The first series only had four issues, and if the next installment is the last, it will no doubt reach a bloody and explosive climax.