THE SPIRE Tall tales

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! Pub­lisher Boom! stu­dios

Writer si­mon spurrier

Artist

Jeff stokely

Fan­tasy and mur­der mys­tery mesh well to­gether, thanks to the in­her­ent plot struc­ture of the lat­ter. Bring­ing to mind Mervyn Peake’s Gor­meng­hast crossed with Blade Run­ner, The Spire mostly takes place in the tit­u­lar vast tower, home to a feu­dal­style post-apoc­a­lyp­tic so­ci­ety, pop­u­lated by hu­mans and all man­ner of hy­brid crea­tures – the much-ma­ligned Skews.

As this world’s rocked by the death of the rul­ing Baron and a se­quence of mur­ders, writer Si­mon Spurrier com­bines China Miéville-es­que phan­tas­magor­i­cal ur­ban hor­ror with Game Of Thrones-style royal in­trigue.

Lead char­ac­ter Shà, head of the City Watch, is more like Judge Dredd than In­spec­tor Morse, while her pen­chant for con­stant wise­cracks owes much to the mav­er­ick spirit of War­ren El­lis’s mo­tor-mouthed hero­ines.

Seem­ingly boast­ing more lev­els than the Spire it­self, it’s some­times hard to keep up with the nar­ra­tive. But the man­gaflavoured fig­ure­work of Jeff Stokely pro­vides some much-needed hu­mour, while his al­ways in­ven­tive panel lay­out par­tic­u­larly im­presses with is­sue three’s dou­ble-page spread of Shà de­scend­ing into the Spire’s depths. With its seam­less meet­ing of story and art, this is a towering achieve­ment. Stephen Jewell

Next up for Spurrier: Cry Havoc, which ap­par­ently mixes Jar­head with Pan’s Labyrinth. Is­sue one is out in Jan­uary.

Shà: a head for heights.

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