While not as promising a volume as the first one, which was the work of one very tired Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone, and Dave Stewart (I assume all that work would have made them tired!), the second volume is still entertaining. I’m developing quite a little comics crush on Denny Colt as the Spirit.
In “Harder than Diamonds,” Cooke hands the reins over to Walter Simonson, and the lovely art is provided by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. The Spirit speaks Arabic, which is a plus (he must have picked it up from Hussein?). As The Spirit himself later remarks in this volume, there seem to be two kinds of women in Central City: kind ones like his girlfriend, and voluptuous femme fatales. There’s no middle ground, and it seems to me the two volumes have been a showcase for a rogues gallery of these sorts of women. Amanda, a blonde from “Synchronicity,” by Jimmy Palmiotti, is somewhere between the two, and I don’t know whether to be impressed or disgusted by the pin ups of her on “tar beach.” The story, however, I like a lot, as it proves that good things can happen to good people, instead of the usual cynical disillusionment. The art is more than competent, by Jordi Bernet.
Kyle Baker continues the diamond theme in his written and drawn story, “Hard Cell,” which is an interesting style but not really my cup of tea. The team of Darwyn Cooke of J. Bone/Dave Stewart are back for “Timebomb,” which sees the return of Agent Satin—regrettably, as an amnesiac. You gotta love a panel that says, “Mr Sexypants.” The same team also finishes up the story of Mortez, but again, regrettably, it is a zombie story and therefore not very interesting to me, though it is drawn well. Ebony has some cute interludes, there’s voodoo and the Day of the Dead, and a star turn by Ellen Dolan’s ex, the now happily gay and taken Argonaut Jones (the names in this thing never stop).
In the middle, though, is probably my favorite Spirit story, “Death by Television.” I won’t spoil it for you, I’ll just repeat the disclaimer at the beginning. “We would like to take the opportunity to restate the standard disclaimer regarding satire and that any resemblance to any real people is without satiric purpose and completely coincidental, standard boilerplate and so forth.”
“Sand” sees Denny cheat on Ellen which I think is really irresponsible of him. ‘Nuff said.
“One Hundred!” and “Family Treasure” are short and enjoyable stories. “The Cold Depths of the Icicle Heart” by Gail Simone seems to go way too fast (like a Tenth Doctor/Majenta story, it has almost no dialogue).