Review: Spencer and Locke #1

When his grade-school sweetheart is found dead, there’s only one friend Detective Locke can trust to help solve her murder – his childhood imaginary panther, Spencer. But when they face a vicious crime syndicate and memories from Locke’s traumatic youth, can this unlikely pair survive long enough to find the truth?

Take Calvin and Hobbes and mix it with Sin City (or really any noir crime story) and you get Spencer & Locke, the new series written by David Pepose with art by Jorge Santiago, Jr.

The first issue is a pretty standard noir story with a dead body and a Detective trying to solve it. But, where this one is unique is the fact that Detective Locke’s partner is Spencer, an imaginary panther from his childhood. That twist creates a unique addition to a genre that has had a lot of comic releases.

I found myself reading the first issue not just entertained by the murder mystery, but the interaction between Locke and Spencer, especially to see who Spencer interacts with and how. Pepose does a solid job of letting the readers learn as we go instead of spelling it out and he has lots of fun with it especially when expectations are broken which I know caught me off guard and kept me on my toes going forward. Pepose has clearly thought out his twist and it shows in every panel and scene that features our two main characters and how that plays out going forward will be what makes or breaks the series (and so far it absolutely makes it).

The art by Santiago, Jr. is key to that making everything believable in a sense that how Spencer and Locke are presented are key. That spatial focus is key for the series as it keeps us the readers on our toes trying to figure out it Spencer is make believe or if there’s something more there. In other words, you may need to show two characters when there’s only one in reality and when a third party is involved, that’s where things get interesting. Santiago, Jr. nails that aspect while infusing the atmosphere I’d expect from a crime/noir story.

Spencer & Locke has its twist and brings something new to a genre that while entertaining, needs something new to really stand out. Whether or not the murder mystery is interesting isn’t the draw for me going forward, it’s all about Spencer and Locke. Much like Calvin and Hobbes, how Spener and Locke interact is the heart of the series and has me counting down the days until I can read more.

Story: David Pepose Art: Jorge Santiago, Jr.
Story: 8.45 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.40 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review