Review: Spook by Joshua Starnes and Lisandro Estherren

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Spook issue #1 cover
Spook issue #1 cover

Upon opening the recently released comic Spook written by Joshua Starnes and with artwork provided by Lisandro Estherren, readers will quickly realize this is not one of those conventional funny books that they grew up with.

Why? Because Spook is an engrossing story of suspense and horror that grabs your attention and does not let go. The spy game will never be the same again. It reads like a cinematic adventure and the graphics is just as sharp. Spanning only four issues, Spook has the potential for many more and will undoubtably garner more installments once fandom realizes what they have here.

The first issue “Dead and Gone” begins at a NATO summit where the world leaders are discussing the old way political division of the world. By page two, the meeting is in total chaos as the participants begin to die in such a horrific manor, it is evident that the division is no longer limited to the old way tactics of espionage. Reminiscent of those classic X-Files episodes, we are lead through a maze of dark questions and murky clues as science and the supernatural are knotted together in a big fat global mystery.

Interior artwork issue #1 "Dead and Gone"
Interior artwork issue #1
“Dead and Gone”

It is a new time of warfare when secret agents die, but their spirits, “non-corporeal electromagnetic entities,” continue to serve their leaders. It is a clever premise that will keep the reader guessing what will happen next. This horrific new weapon at man’s disposal can only mean doom – for the living and the dead.

Though this series is only four issues long, it should be noted that issue #1 is a complete story within itself and can stand alone. But you won’t stop there.

The other unique element in this series is the inconsistent location of each title within each individual issue. Standard practice is typically to display a clever title on the cover or inside on the first page which epitomizes the theme of the issue and gives the reader a subtle hint for what is to follow. But in Spook, we are only given the issue’s succession via a tiny number on the cover. There are no other hints or innuendos warning what’s to come. The titles are not immediately revealed until later pages when an epiphany of the unraveling events is suddenly exposed or a character utters a clever assertion. And when it happens, it all comes together and makes sense.

Interior artwork issue #3 "Dead Man Switch"
Interior artwork issue #3
“Dead Man Switch”

This review would not be complete without mentioning the publisher of Spook. Founded in 2007 by Paul Ens (former Director of Lucas Online) and Scott Chitwood (co-founder of TheForce.net), Red 5 Comics was the winner of the Gem Award for Best New Publisher as well as a bunch of other award nominations. Titles you may find familiar are Atomic Robo, Neozoic, Haunted, and Dead or Alive. In addition to Ens and Chitwood, Dave Zeibart and Joshua Starnes are also publishers of Red 5 Comics.

Spook is a different kind of comic. Joshua Starnes and Lisandro Estherren have put together a fantastic story that just may change the way we view secret agents in the future. That guy who died at the end of your favorite book probably still has more things to do, and with luck he just might come back as a Spook.

Hopefully the comic Spook will continue too.

 

 

 

(Editor’s note:  Full disclosure: Joshua Starnes is a regular contributor to Amazing Stories.  You can read his reviews here.)

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