by Simon Spurrier, Jeff Stokely and André May
The creators of The Spire left readers on quite the cliffhanger last time and with the start of issue #4 the story hasn’t skipped a moment. The masked assassin is on the loose and Shä is left to face a room of individuals believing she has just killed their leader. The fourth issue of this impressively original story continues to sprinkle in bits of history amidst some excellent plotting and art, maintaining the high-caliber craft that the book has held since its start.
Despite the rather bloody cover, this book is actually the least violent and possibly even the least action filled issue thus far. Instead, Spurrier presents readers with an interesting issue placing Shä in a very interesting, yet incredibly difficult position amongst those of the city and those with whom she shares a heritage. In a position of near servitude, Shä works to protect the people of the city, despite never once being seen as one of them by those in power. She, herself, does not identify with members of the sculpted either. In this issue, that dilemma becomes rather clear as she finds herself separated from both parties. Spurrier’s writing, especially in a sequence with Meera and her mother. As Meera learns more about the woman she loves, her mother makes a remark that is cold and brutal. Though Shä would risk her life for these people, they no more trust her than they would any other member of her kind.
While the book does not feature as much action as other issues have, the book is still packed with emotionally powerful sequences. When Shä kneels to profess her pledge to the Barony, she is denied acceptance. It is a public blow that readers will feel. Stokely frames the sequence excellently, adding more power to the moment. As she leaves the Medusi, the messenger who was attempting to help her continues his pursuit of the murderer. Readers are treated to a sequence somewhat like one in the previous issue. Stokley overlays this chase scene with a number of panels, which showcase a separate event all together. May’s choice of coloring further allow the two sets of images to be discernible, filling the foreground panels with bright colors, while the backing images of a chase scene have a dull presentation. At points in the issue, May and Stokely combine to keep the momentum up by altering the way they craft their panels. At times a background will drop out, characters may become silhouettes, and suddenly, the entire scene is a blur of shapes as one character takes a swing at another. The visual dynamics bring so much life to the book.
The fourth issue of The Spire is a very interesting one. In some ways, the plot line of this chapter feels a bit like a setup issue. Readers witness Shä be given an ultimatum, those close to her dismiss her all before an excellent final page. Doom is coming to The Spire. It seems like there is little, if any hope of stopping it.