I, like everybody, have plenty of time lately to go back and read old comic books. Recently, I went through my collection and pulled out Will Eisner’s The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers. This was released back in 2017, when the comic book industry was celebrating Will Eisner’s centennial and at the time Dynamite was publishing Spirit comic book stories, so as luck would have it, Francesco Francavilla did a Spirit story. What I found amazing about this was the fact that Francesco wrote the script, drew the pages, and supplied the lettering for the entire miniseries. (He did have some help from Lisa Francavilla in regards to editing.) Here is another trip into Wildwood Cemetery and Central City to solve another noir mystery, so let us take a look at the story and see what is going on.
This is a smaller story and honestly it is a quick read, so this is perfect if you’re working from home or in-between Netflix shows and need something else. Spirit stories promise action, mystery, and adventure, as Will Eisner announced on the tag line for this character, and Francesco brings them all in this tale. Francesco finds a great way to relate this back to the Spirit’s origins, which was very nice for the anniversary, and he does a great job keeping the mystery alive in this new adventure.
When you read this story, make sure to keep an eye out for the new characters, as they are a great way for us to be introduced to the Spirit’s world for new fans and also a great source of information for the overall story. I do like how Francesco did a great job with having the recap in the original issues but without making it feel repetitive when you read the collection all together, along with that connection as to why the Spirit would get involved since this involves Ebony’s cousin.
Each issue peels back a layer that leads us to the whodunnit part of the mystery, as at first it’s just a group of hooded men who are going after the homeless to the final reveal that greed is the main driver of the motivations of these evil men, which does have a little twist that you might pick up that’ll have your jaw drop. Another thing that I liked about each individual issue is the opening with a quote and a pin-up; Issue #1 also had an extra pin-up at the start and with the image of the Spirit and the dedication to Will and Darwyn (Cooke). I was hit right in the feels — very nice and beautiful.
Speaking of the art, I love the dark tones that are kept throughout the story, giving the book a dark, noir feeling, which is perfect for the number of pages with an “Eisnershpritz.” What is an Eisnershpritz, you wonder? Well that was one of the many things Eisner was famous for — his wet scenes in the comics, be it in the rain, sewers, or bay areas.
This is great, if quick read and an escape into a world of mystery and noir drama. Francavilla does a great job crafting a tale that has enough of a pull to have you wondering and at the edge of your seat, all wrapped up in some amazing art in a style that keeps you turning the pages.