Seraph’s Sanctions: SPENCER & LOCKE #1

Writer: David Pepose
Art: Jorge Santiago Jr.
Colors: Jasen Smith
Letterer: Colin Bell
Publisher: ACTION LAB: DANGER ZONE

The Breakdown:

Locke returns to his old stomping grounds, the part of town he grew up in when a murder of an old grade school friend, Sophie, prompts him & Spencer into action. As they investigate the murder of Sophie, Locke ends up more connected to his past then he realized. Of course, when danger strikes Locke, his best friend Spencer will be more than happy to help him out … It’s just that Spencer is his imaginary friend … or is he. And Sophie’s death ends up bringing out more competition than we originally thought.

 

The Moment of the Issue:

I’m pretty sure that the fight when Locke’s old high school bully continues to be a great stand out moment.

 

The Bad:

The only issue was just the art consistency when it was the present. There were times were Santiago’s art seemed to lax in some portion compared to others. It just depends on the panel.

 

The Good:

I have to say that this was a strikingly good opening issue for Spencer & Locke. We get introduced to our duo detectives right off the bat while Pepose does a magnificent job of character building with Locke. Spencer is the trusted friend, but also very much the more analytical of the two. Well, overtly analytic. Spencer has depth because of his friendship with Locke, even though he’s supposed to be an imaginary friend. When you read the book once, you question if Spencer is actually real or not. Flipping through again, there’s definitely clues that state that he isn’t while some that show that he is. It’s quite interesting how Pepose pulls off this dichotomy between both characters. The pacing of the issue was superb, allowing readers to take in the darker, messier world that our heroes live in. And the dialogue was nice, fresh and individualized to really help show who each character is.

The art was pretty good. I applaud the use of two different styles to kind of shift through time within the book. It was very refreshing to see the more cartoon past having small blotches of grime, between Locke’s own mother being very brutal to the bullying. The style works for the noir story here. It is also interesting to see the more cartoon past kind of fills in some blanks while also leaves questions and Santiago & Smith take advantage of that through their line work, shading and color. Each scene has a visual weight and mood to it that really make it stand out a bit more than it normally would. Great work here.

 

The Verdict:

Spencer & Locke #1 is an entertaining romp through a grimy town while a man must face his past with his best friend. The mental implications of the issue alongside the murder mystery is quite staggering and Pepose knows it. He plays off those ideas well while Santiago & Smith bring it to life well. And while there are some weak panels within this first issue, it over all delivers with gripping story, captivating characters, moody art and powerful suggestions. There are clues all over this issue about the various mysteries in this. It is extremely well done. I’m looking forward to the next issue.