Writer David Pepose brings back Spencer and Locke in a way that still addresses emotional trauma from childhood abuse. Despite appearances to everyone else, Detective Locke is not alone on his cases. His imaginary blue panther Spencer rides along for each case. Memories of old still haunt Locke, as well as the dastardly actions of the villain, Roach. The parallels from Locke and Roach’s lives follow the mental and physical abuses they’ve felt earlier in life, while their overall coping responses differ dramatically. Locke is steadfast in trying to do the right thing, despite not always following the rules, while Roach only wants to bring death and destruction to the world, so everyone can feel the pain that he’s suffered.
Artist Jorge Santiago, Jr., colorist Jasen Smith, and letterer Colin Bell return to the second volume in a way that permanently stamps their impressions on the Spencer & Locke franchise. From the darker color schemes, action-packed pops of color and lettering, black-and-white flashbacks, and the comic strip-style panels, this creative team pushes down on the accelerator, all while picturing Spencer crouched down in the passenger seat saying, “Too fast. Too fast. Too fast. Too fast.”
Spencer & Locke 2 is filled with perfect moments that make you question what will happen next, all while hoping the title characters will again save the day. This story also has a fantastic summary page as an introduction, so those who aren’t aware of what’s happened in the previous story arc will be caught up in no time at all. The first volume is equally worth your time, so if you can take advantage of grabbing the first trade, it’s definitely a read that will allow you to form bonds with these two wonderful characters.
There are many reasons to pick up a copy of Spencer & Locke 2. One: The dynamics of watching these two characters support each other is sincere and striking. Two: Watching Locke’s daughter Hero put herself in her father’s shoes is brave, and it will put you on the edge of your seat. Three: Roach is evil, and your eyes will stay glued on him in the hopes of seeing that wicked smile get ripped off by Spencer’s claws. Four: Spencer and Locke fight Nazi Killer Mutant Snowmen, and it’s glorious.
Last but not least, Pepose has an incredible way of providing profound meaning to a character who has suffered so much. Despite any flaws one might see on the surface, Locke is a genuinely good person who hopes to make a difference in the world, but, more importantly, he hopes to leave his daughter with an understanding of what it means to do the right thing in spite of the cost.
Spencer & Locke 2 is gold and worth more than its weight in it.
Creative Team: David Pepose (writer), Jorge Santiago, Jr. (artist), Jasen Smith (colorist), Colin Bell (letterer)
Publisher: Action Lab Danger Zone
Available in Digital and Print.