The Spirit
Book One (Hardback)

Author: Darwyn Cooke and Jeph Leob
Artists: Darwyn Cooke
Titan Books
RRP: 24.99, US $24.99, Cdn $29.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 687 0
ISBN-10: 1 84576 687 3
Available 23 November 2007

The Spirit, Ebony, Commissioner Dolan and his daughter Ellen are reintroduced in this go-for-broke, shoot-the-lights-out collection of crime stories filled with action, adventure, humour and sexy girls. In these thrilling tales, Darwyn Cooke maintains the spirit of Will Eisner's creation while still bringing his own sensibilities to the character...

In 1940, Will Eisner began a new newspaper comic strip, The Spirit, which changed the face of comics forever. Criminologist Denny Colt lets the world believe he is dead in order to continue his war against crime as masked adventurer The Spirit. Now he faces an astonishing cast of criminals and femmes fatales armed only with his wits, and with the help of savvy teenager Ebony White, resourceful girlfriend Ellen Dolan and her father, the hard-as-nails Police Commissioner.

The Spirit: Book One collects the first six issues of the new DC Comics series written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke - plus the Eisner Award-winning Batman/The Spirit special written by Jeph Loeb.

While the first story in this collection was interesting, I'm still unsure as to how I feel about the Batman/The Spirit tale. Firstly, before I get on my soapbox, let me point out that I did enjoy the story, it's just that yet again Batman is being used to prop up another, less famous character. I suppose you could argue that it could mean that a lot of people unfamiliar with The Spirit may actually buy this collection because of the Batman angle, and then realise what they've been missing all these years. But, personally, I always think it such a shame when Batman/Superman are used in this way.

The first story will introduce novices into the world of The Spirit, without alienating die-hard fans. This is obviously essential for a new series that is reinventing a well established character. However, Cooke doesn't reveal all - leaving the reader itching to find out more.

The only other real complaint is the UK retail price. I'd love to know why Titan are charging £24.99 when the US price is 50% cheaper (at 2007 currency rates) at $24.99. While I'm sure Titan could use the argument that it's expensive to ship the original stock over from America, I'm afraid that doesn't wash. Titan also produce a lot of guide books in the UK. I recently moaned about the UK printed Supernatural Companion which is twice the price of the American version (which has to be shipped from the UK to the US).

If price isn't a problem, then you'll love this collection. For me, though, I'd feel a little annoyed at having to pay twice as much than our American cousins.

Pete Boomer

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