A Tank Is One Way To Get A Mistrial In Spencer & Locke 2 #2

by James Ferguson

How can Detective Locke go on trial while Roach Riley is out there wreaking havoc?  If Roach has anything to say about it, Locke won’t get his day in court…or any other day for that matter as he’s out to kill him and anyone else nearby.  Meanwhile, Melinda tries to find some more information about Roach to aid in the search, but she might have gotten noticed by the wrong people in her pursuits.

Spencer & Locke 2 blends genres, moving from action to drama with a pinch of comedy.  This issue puts us firmly in the thriller territory, both with the trial and with Melinda’s investigation. Writer David Pepose steadily increases the tension with each turn of the page as we dig deeper into the frightening mystery of Roach Riley. Letterer Colin Bell maintains the noir tone throughout it all with Locke’s internal narration, shown like torn pieces from a yellow notepad.

Locke is not your typical action hero.  He’s a broken man who’s managed to overcome his tragic past, particularly some horrible things that happened to him as a child. Artist Jorge Santiago Jr flashes back to some of these moments with a simpler, more cartoonish look, just like that of a classic newspaper comic strip. These aren’t the bright and shiny funnies though.  These are darker and filled with dread, just seen through that lens, which makes them rather unsettling.

Spencer bounces between stuffed animal and anthropomorphic panther throughout the issue, depending on who is seeing him. There’s a nice sequence where we actually see this transformation as Locke’s daughter Hero tosses Spencer over to her father.  We see this harmless doll turn into a powerful fighter to stand alongside Spencer and provide him with the support he needs. It’s a bit on the nose for a metaphor, but it works very well.

The only real problem I have with this issue is Spencer’s actions when he has Roach pinned down.  His plan didn’t really make sense to me as he gave up his valuable position with his enemy practically captured to go on the run. Sure, it led to another great action scene, but it didn’t make much sense.

Fortunately, this doesn’t take away from the overall storyline as we’re still seeing just how dangerous Roach is and the lengths he’ll go to spread terror. Roach is definitely shaping up to be a horrifying villain. I like how you rarely see Roach’s face. It’s usually obscured by the shadow of his hat. Colorist Jasen Smith makes his eyes glow through the darkness, giving Roach an inhuman, almost monstrous appearance.

There are times that you have to wonder if Locke’s life can get any worse.  Despite the unsurmountable odds stacked against him, he finds the strength to keep going.  He can’t just sit back and let someone like Roach Riley terrorize his city. The parallels between the two are interesting as Locke has found someone just as broken as him, only he’s turned to a life of crime instead of fighting for what’s right. This makes for a very compelling read and one that’s easy to get wrapped up in.

Spencer & Locke 2 #2 from Action Lab: Danger Zone is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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