The Comic Queen

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Simon Spector Review

Written by Warren Ellis; Art by Jacen Burrows
Apparat line from Avatar Press $3.50

Simon Spector, the third book in Warren Ellis' experimental comic book line is a one-man affair. Written in the vein of "The Shadow" in which the story is extremely central to one character, the book profiles the life and missions of tough guy Simon Spector. He is in almost every frame and when he isn't, the characters there are talking about him. Like The Shadow, Simon is powerful and in control. He wants to help those that need it most and will hurt anyone who gets in his way.

While his methods are questionable, Spector uses an unnamed drug that heightens his thought process to super speed to allow him to figure out a crime or motive; his heart is in the right place. This issue finds Spector coming to the aid of a woman whose husband, a weapons engineer, has been kidnapped.

This is definitely the lesser book in Apparat line so far. The plot seems a little sparse and wraps up far too quickly. The drug works too fast for Mr. Spector and the reader is left wondering how he came to his conclusions. It would have served the book well to have a page or so history of the drug and a little background on Spector himself.

All that being said, the story is still interesting. Spector is a character that begs for deeper exploration. It's easy to see that he is an extremely intense man with many complexities. He relies on this mystery drug even though with every use it takes weeks off his life. Still he endeavors to use the drug to help those that need him. He has both a strong fist and strong mind, but a soft heart.

Burrows portrays Spector superbly. His face is crippled with intensity and each muscle is well defined and filled with ripples. Most impressively though, is Burrows depiction of a body exploding from a gunshot. It is alarmingly clear. In the text at the end of the book, Ellis writes, "there is nothing Burrows can't draw." The book, but more specifically the gunshot frames, prove this statement completely. They are grotesquely beautiful.

Simon Spector is an excellent example of a one-man show/hyper-main character book. It isn't as good as the previous two Apparat books, but it is a nice showing nonetheless. There is one Apparat book left to read. Look for it reviewed here next week. Overall the Apparat experiment has been a success.

Bottom Line: B-


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