Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto’s Specter Inspectors comes to a close with this issue, which sees the titular characters confronting a cult leader who is hellbent on using their new demon pal for his own sinister purposes. This issue will give you the heebie-jeebies and tug on your heartstrings in equal measure, in the way that only Specter Inspectors can.
The color choices throughout the issue cleverly help to separate different sequences of events. The flashbacks take on more burnt, sepia tones, nicely drawing a line between today and yesterday. Meanwhile, the sequences in which Astrid communes with her demon, journeying deep within her own soul, are given cooler tones that contrast beautifully with the fiery events of the story’s climax.
Musto cranks cranks up the dial on the horror imagery in this issue, as well. While previous issues have flirted with eerie images — guys with black eyes, ghostly apparitions, etc. — readers may be unprepared for the ghastly transformation undergone by Virgil. Not only is the design an almost cartoonishly evil nightmare creation, but the lettering that accompanies it makes the transformation sequence even more surreal. Jim Campbell provides some excellent jagged screeching SFX, but it’s the playful lettering in Virgil’s word balloons during his transformation that is truly unsettling.
If there’s one drawback to this issue, it’s that the other main characters kind of fall to the wayside in the final act. Though they do get a few moments to shine, particularly with some banter toward the end of the issue, Gus and Ko are sidelined for the majority of the action.
Even so, this issue is bursting with fantastic character moments, even from some of the smaller supporting players. The betrayal seen on the face of one of the cultists when the main villain’s plan is revealed adds a whole new layer to what could have been a group of faceless enemies. Astrid and Noa finally have the conversation we’ve all wanted to see, while the demon also shows its softer side. Well, it’s as soft as it can be, for an entity that feeds on the living and gets its kicks from causing mischief.
The resolution to the plot thread involving the demon’s name is heartfelt and has a deeper meaning that ties into the themes of the series. I can’t imagine a better resolution for the spooky spirit and their new friends. I won’t spoil how it all turns out, but I was very pleased to see this story arc stick the landing in every way. The book ends with a lovely image, full of possibilities. At this point, it is unclear if this is going to be the last time we see the Specter Inspectors, but if this is it, I’m so happy with where the gang ended up.
I have greatly enjoyed every issue of this series. It has the perfect mix of character-driven drama and romance, along with a heaping dose of mystery-solving and ghost hunting. This concluding chapter manages to bring all of those elements together for a grand finale that raises the stakes and the scale of the story in ways I never expected.
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