SPENCER AND LOCKE 2 #4
Writer: David Pepose
Artist: Jorge Santiago Jr.
Colors: Jasen Smith
Letterer: Colin Bell
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Alright guys, this is it! We've reached the conclusion to this harrowing tale of a man trying to get his life back together while defeating a nefarious villain. This series is not just a worthy successor to the first volume, but expands on the outstanding premise and delivers in every way. In a day when most sequels don't always live up to their potential, SPENCER AND LOCKE 2 bucks the trend. While I'm sad to see one of my favorite books finish, I'm holding out hope that this isn't the last we're seeing of our favorite detectives.
Locke has continued to battle against Roach Riley over the last 3 issues, while taking the beating of his life. Riley has proven to be the most formidable adversary he's ever gone up against, this dude just won't go down. The stakes have never been higher. Not only is he trying to save the city, but his reputation as well. But that's not all, he's also trying to protect his daughter and win her back.
This issue dives into why Riley went down this path and won't drove him to turn into the psychopath we all love to hate. After finding out that his wife and unborn child died in an accident, he just "broke". Santiago Jr. illustrates the instantaneous change that occurs in perfectly terrifying way. It almost makes you feel sorry for Riley and sympathize with a man who feel as if he lost everything and just wants the world to burn.
The climactic battle between Locke and Riley takes place at the hospital. Much to Riley's surprise it takes a lot to take out Locke as well. These two have survived situations that would have killed most people, but they're both just to stubborn to die. The image of Riley walking against a backdrop of flames, with a flamethrower attached to his back, perfectly encapsulates the insanity of the character. Santiago Jr. has created one of the most visually fearsome villains in comics, an image that will stay with you long after reading it.
Once again Pepose brilliantly touches on the PTSD factor that both Locke and Riley have dealt with in their lives. Each one taking vastly different paths. As Locke finally defeats Riley he struggles with how to handle the situation. While he decides to take him in, his Spencer side decides to beat the living crap out of Riley, subsequently killing him. As he battles with himself (Spencer) on the choice made, he pushes his daughter away from him out of fear. The last page shows Locke throwing away Spencer, a beautiful homage to the "Spider-Man No More" image.
Where can this amazing creative team go next after that heartbreaking ending? The future is up in the air, but you can be sure whatever they have planned for the future it's gonna be one hell of a story. David Pepose has developed an amazing cast of characters that feel familiar and fresh at the same time. Santiago Jr. along with Jasen Smith have created a visually stunning book that switches between stryle effortlessly. All I can say, is that I hope these guys continue to bring us the adventures of Spencer and Locke, for years to come.