THE SPIRE Tall tales
released OUT NOW! Publisher Boom! studios
Writer simon spurrier
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.