by Simon Spurrier, Jeff Stokely, and André May
With each issue, Spurrier tips his hand just a bit more and the mysteries of The Spire are beginning to be addressed. Each time, the book has managed to give small hints about the past and what had happened at the Pax many years ago. Through a longer flashback, and some other pieces, the hints that have been seeded through each issue are starting to take shape. As with the chapters before it, The Spire #6 continues to bring new dimensions to the story and raise the bar ever higher.
At the end of the last issue, Sha showed readers an ability that somewhat changed the game. In order to get answers from the Zoarim, and in order to protect Meera, she was able to mimic one of those who would travel with Meera to the Zoarim as part of the Pax. The momentum heading into this issue was increased as a result of learning a number of small pieces along with the final page of the book. In this chapter, Spurrier gives readers the most information about what happened at the last Pax and it never feels like tiresome exposition. The slow approach to reveal to readers what is happening, along with how it is impacted by what happened many years ago, has made for a wonderful journey. Each issue has opened with, and included within it, brief images that tease the truth. While many stories use this mechanic, finding a balance that keeps intrigue high, without revealing too much too quickly is very challenging.
In addition to the mystery of what occurred at the last Pax, Spurrier has included a number of oddities and angles to the plot of the present day. Choosing to include multiple groups of people, stakes for each, and a few different settings, all add to the layers of tension that rise with each issue. Here, as Sha travels in disguise with Meera, the book also follows the Medusi as they leave the city, Pug’s travels, and Milk’s dilemma with his wife. The book never stalls or reaches a point where readers are distracted from the story with a subplot or ancillary character that looks to only detract from the narrative. Instead, each sequence builds upon the last until Sha comes faces to face with Ezek to demand answers. Handled so well, when the moment comes, readers will be just as anxious for the truth as the main character.
A wonderful aspect of the story is just how original it looks. Stokely’s artwork gives the book a very distinct feels. Not only do the varying classes have completely different designs and aesthetics, but also they fully embody the class from which they come. The regal group is drawn in such a way that they feel elegant. At the opposite extreme is the messenger class, including Pug, a vile looking creature, with rough skin and odd proportions. André May emphasizes these differences with wonderful colors. The bold colors of Marchioness Juletta’s wardrobe appear vibrant and nearly burst off the page. Settings beyond the walls, and the beings that live beyond the city are draped in greys and browns. When Spurrier and May’s talents combine, readers are not only provided such well-developed characters, but sequences that bring the book to life. In a moment when Meera is suddenly presented with something truly awful, the book chooses not to fill the page with something wretched. Strangely, the moment is one of the most colorful. The experience leaves the reader at odds, pairing some of the most beautiful colors with very heinous act. Here, the creators give further evidence to their talents.
The Spire #6 is a wonderful ride of emotions and one of the strongest issues of the series. Spurrier’s sculpting of the narrative from issue to issue continues to pay off, and the art work from Stokely and May seems to find new way to impress with each chapter.