Created by Simon Spurrier and Andre May, ‘The Spire’ is the kind of stand-alone graphic novel that fantasy fiction fans with a taste of violence would enjoy reading. Set in a fictional universe, with bizarre creatures, warring clans, racial tensions… the creators throw around so much jargon, that there’s no way one can process all of it in one sitting.
The primary protagonist is the gender-fluid called Sha, who is human only in appearance, and is a sort of a cop in charge of the city’s safety. She gets a pretty killer entrance – chasing goons and beating the shit out of them – while messengers in her kingdom announce the death of the king. What follows is a series of gruesome in-explainable murders and attacks on the royal family, so Sha finds herself investigating the unrest.
The artwork by Jeff Stokely and coloring by Andre May is very striking, with constant change in hues, making each page markedly different from the other. A lot of the panels have a very dystopian steampunk touch to them, while there are a few pages that look out of a star-war fan-fiction comic. However, as far as the storytelling is concerned, it was rather chaotic and it might take a while for readers to really understand what the central theme is. Like mentioned earlier, Simon Spurrier throws in too many new words/phrases, rapid developments, that can leave one confused/dazed AF. Some might completely lose interest in the novel. I almost did. It’s the eye-catching artwork and action that keeps me persist till the end, not so much the plot.
There’s a genre-bending twist in the end, which was quite brilliant, however, there’s just not enough build-up to it, so it feels a little hollow. Maybe 200 pages is a little too less for the kind of vision the creators had, they should have spread things over in a few more chapters to make the characters and situations more memorable. So despite the grand scheme of things in ‘The Spire’, which includes an almost war-like situation, it can be quite forgettable. I did love the fact that all the powerful and interesting characters are women in the book.
It’s a 3/5 from me.
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Episode 74 – 10 Book Reviews Under 10 Minutes #13thEdition