Rating: 4/5 – A Murder in a Mountain High City.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
The Spire is a dense first issue. It’s packed with characters that are both human and non-human all living in a enormous and layered city built within a mountain in the middle of a desert. The Spire is home to all manners of creatures both big and small and just how the society all works together is touched on, but never laid out completely. Writer Simon Spurrier is taking us on a journey of the world that starts out thirty years in the past and then quickly jumps ahead to present day. Spurrier is world building as the story jumps around quite a bit and although we don’t have all the answers, this first issue is hinting at the depth.
Our main character is Commander Sha. She’s head of the city watch and after a chase through the city that shows off just a few of the different levels of the Spire, she’s called in front of the recently appointed Baroness who’s about to have her coronation day. The Baroness informs Sha of a recent murder that has close ties to the royal family and it’s here that the main storyline kicks in. Spurrier is also introducing us to a whole lot more that looks to be revealed in later issues such as the way all the races live together and the prejudices that surround them, and a deeper exploration of Sha’s personality and her unique physiology.
On the art side, Jeff Stokely provides the pencils that are detailed throughout most of this issue, but loses some of the intricacies as the book moves along. The Spire number one is just under thirty pages so Stokely had quite the job to do. He has to give the world its look, fill it with alien-like creatures, and make it always seem crowded and overly populated. For the majority of this issue he does so, but pages towards the end lose a bit of that detail as his backgrounds become more common and plain. In no way should this steer you away from this first issue as there’s so much to like, and it looks as though there will be so much more left to see.
The Spire is a world building fantasy book with a murder at the center. This series is scheduled for eight issues, but after reading this first issue it almost feels like it can go on for much longer. The main storyline grabbed my attention and held it to the end, while the side plots will leave me guessing for now. Spurrier and Stokely have proven before that they’re both capable storytellers and this first issue shows it yet again. I may not be back for the single issues, but this is a book that I’ll come back to once it’s all collected.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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