There are a number of reasons why The Spire is nominated for an Eisner for Best Limited Series. It features some confident, natural character writing from Simon Spurrier, crafting a world that feels bigger beyond its featured characters and features a relevant take on the effects of the past with how certain groups of people (the Zoarim) are thought of. Jeff Stokley’s illustrations feature an impressive amount of line work that really gives a load of energy and a lived-in appearance to the Spire and its surroundings. His ability to capture bigger moments through unexpected splash pages and more nuanced, quieter moments show his flexibility as an artist. André May on colours adds so much to the world of The Spire with a blending of warm and cooler colours depending on the moods of the various scenes. May really knows how to amplify the tension of a chase sequence or revelation (there are some really great ones in this issue for example) with blasts of purple, greens, and yellows on top of subtler greys and browns for the calmer moments. Steve Wands’s lettering completes the creative team with a variety of effectively used sound effects, a utilization of various fonts, sizes and colours to insinuate tones of voices, and a firm grasp on guiding the reader through the hectic action. This is a true collaborative effort that features each member orchestrating at a high level of quality.
Without really getting into spoiling this eighth and unfortunately final issue, there are a ton of revelations and twists to digest…my goodness. Somehow, there is still room to explore further the characters of Sha, Juletta the Baroness, Tavi and Meera. All the cards are put on the table face up and there are definitely some shocking and unexpected turns of events. Sha is determined to hunt down and discover the true identity of the murderer that leads to quite the back and forth squabbling that should appeal to the heated discussions and debates in a Jane Austen or Dostoyevsky novel. There is a little less pomp and circumstance and more blood and betrayal. Additionally, a little humour is part of the final journey as well provided by Pug with a manga-like shouting of his attack “hero fartslam”; easily one of the best lines in comics this year.
What the creative team of The Spire has crafted is a tale ultimately about identity. And not only how one feels and understands on their own identity, but a grander respective (sometimes disrespected) grasping of those that may not be on the surface part of the same culture and background. The Spire also tackles how history effects us, repeating itself more often than is thought and its relevancy to also how consistently change is ignored or swept under the rug. The emotional conclusion to this final issue begs to ask how comfortable we are in our own bodies, both physically and mentally, and how the dilemmas these thoughts have effect beyond merely our own selves.
Often the fears faced by Sha causes her to withhold her own true emotions, such as her hidden relationship with Meera, the Baroness Juletta’s daughter. On the other side is Tavi and her fear of change and wishing to maintain the traditions that have been long standing for generations. These dualities exist alongside the similar nature in which the Zoarim are kept at a distance. Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s cowardly. The Spire poignantly dabbles in these ideas in a fantastical way but is brilliantly grounded. More limited series should take a look at what The Spire has done in its eight-issue run and take notes with its effective combination of plot, characters, setting, emotion, etc., feeding off each other into a fantastic, special read.
Story: Simon Spurrier Art: Jeff Stokely
Colours: André May (Tamra Bonvillain on cover) Lettering: Steve Wands
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Boom! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review