Spencer & Locke #2
Writer: David Pepose
Artist: Jorge Santiago, Jr.
Colourist: Jasen Smith
Letterer: Colin Bell
Cover A by Jorge Santiago, Jr.
Cover B by Maan House
Publisher: Action Lab Comics

A review by Stephanie Pouliotte

In Spencer & Locke #2 we meet Locke’s childhood babysitter Ramona Sinclair, a twisted reflection of the teenage babysitter Rosalyn from Calvin and Hobbes. But where Rosalyn was only seen as sadistic by Calvin for not letting him stay up past his 6:30 curfew, Ramona takes the title to a very literal and nasty place. Her relationship with Locke is just another facet of his abusive childhood, and she really knows how to push his buttons. She’s managed to worm her way into his mind, even after all these years, and her presence affects his tie to Spencer. Pepose continues to pick at the thread that connects the two best friends, but doesn’t yet reveal why Locke still holds onto his supposedly imaginary partner.

Locke is determined, if not obsessed, in his pursuit of the investigation into the murder of his grade school sweetheart, and his intensity shows in every panel. Even though he delivers some pretty slick detective work, he’s impulsive and rash, becoming more and more unhinged as his case spirals down the path of reliving childhood trauma. He uses that anger to fuel his resolve, even if it means he has to get his hands dirty. Overall I liked the classic gumshoe narration, though it gets a bit strained by the end. Santiago is so adept at conveying expressions and emotions in his characters, some moments didn’t need the descriptive emphasis.

His artwork for the climactic car chase pulses with adrenaline, and it was an absolute nail bitter, if not a logistical head-scratcher with Spencer at the wheel. The lovably fierce panther has less presence in this issue as we zero in on Locke’s character and his mental struggle with past demons. Still, Spencer loyally backs Locke’s every move and injects some much needed levity during a tense climax.

Check it out! Writer David Pepose delivers another riveting issue in Spencer & Locke #2. It leans a lot more into the noir, thriller aspects of its premise, putting a bloody twist on some Calvin and Hobbes throwbacks. It still lovingly peppers some blatant references throughout, but with this issue the story is really starting to find its legs.

Stephanie Pouliotte
Comics junkie. Internet lurker. Fantastic beast. I spend most of my time immersed in strange and fantastical stories, be it through books, comics, video games, movies or TV shows. Oh and I sometimes writes things down and stuff.

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