Spencer and Locke #1 Review

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Posted April 11, 2017 by Chad Waller in Comic Books

Written By: David Pepose

Art By: Jorge Santiago Jr. & Jasen Smith

Published By: Action Lab Entertainment

When I first read the tag line to Spencer and Locke, I was pretty excited. Calvin and Hobbes as a detective duo? Hell yeah that sounded fun! Two pages in though, and fun was replaced with: Who is this for, and why must we turn everything good and wholesome into dark and gritty?

In retrospect, I don’t know why the idea excited me at all. The secondary tag line to this comic is, “His partner’s imaginary, but the danger’s all real!” which opens up so many strange plot and character holes that I’m mostly just perturbed. That Locke believes Spencer is real is without question, but how the hell does a cop get away with carrying around a stuffed panther?

Forget the criminals, Locke is his own danger. He seriously thinks he has a partner as he breaks into a building or fights a bad guy, and while the whole talking stuffed animal is cute in Calvin and Hobbes, it’s just unsettling here. This isn’t the imagination of a child; it’s the psychosis of an adult.

It also makes no goddamn sense.

Were the book in on the joke, I’d be fine; however, the whole thing really does want to play at dark and gritty. Spencer and Locke share some banter, but everything around them is as serious and grim as it can get. Locke is abused as a child, and his first crush is left dead in a pile of her own blood. Drugs are apparently rampant in whatever city this is, the school he attended as a child is a mess, and basically if it can go wrong, it went wrong.

Meanwhile, he’s talking to his stuffed cat like he’s in an episode of CSI: Miami, where the two share such witty witticisms as “man is an animal.”

On the art front, the book looks fine. I do object to the flashbacks–which are in the style of Calvin and Hobbes–because they feel like a cheap nostalgia grab. The book is already begging you to remember that comic so you buy it, and this is just one step further. It doesn’t help that the flashbacks are just as gritty as the main plotline.

The thing about Calvin and Hobbes is that it’s the perfect amount of childhood wonder and whimsy. There’s no meanness to it. There’s no cynicism, even when it’s poking at society’s faults. It’s childlike but not childish. It works, and it’s remembered fondly because it is the exact opposite of Spencer and Locke.

Were this book in on its own joke, it might work. It isn’t, though, and there’s no joy to be had because of that.

Spencer and Locke #1



Spencer and Locke #1

4.5

Final Score

4.5/10

Pros

  • The initial idea to this book is at least amusing
  • Artwork is fairly good

Cons

  • That amusing idea creates more plotholes than it does plots
  • There's so little joy here that the Calvin and Hobbes reference is gross
  • I can't honestly tell who this book is for



About the Author

Chad Waller

Chad Waller is the cofounder of Dual Wield Software, a two-man video game company working on their first game, The Regret of Vitrerran. He also likes to write, preferring fiction and poetry, but also the occasional book review or video game essay. You can follow him on Twitter @DualWieldSoft and find his company page on Facebook with a quick search.