by Darwyn Cooke & J Bone.
with extra material by Walter Simonson, Kyle Baker, Glen David Gold, Gail Simone, Denny O’Neil, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Eduardo Risso, Phil Hester, Andy Parks, Ty Templeton.
I’ve already reviewed Cooke & Bone’s Spirit twice on this blog. (Here & here). So it should really come as no surprise to anyone that I thought this second collection was just as wonderful as the first.
It starts with the Summer Special issue and ends with a Holiday Special issue; both fill-in issues. Just looking at the list of creators involved with these fill-in issues gives you some idea of what you’re up against when you decide to fill-in for Cooke & Bone. It’s an indication of just how good the Spirit by Darwyn Cooke & J Bone really is that the majority of the creators here are writing and drawing at the very peak of their abilities and still get completely eclipsed by the skills of Cooke & Bone.
The final Darwyn Cooke & J Bone issue “Sand” is possibly the finest story of the entire run and certainly the closest thing Cooke’s written to truly capturing the very spirit and essence of Eisner. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, because, as Darwyn Cooke said in this interview with Newsarama, it’s the one story they adapted from Eisner’s original:
Originally we were going to kick off year two with a two-part story introducing Sand. When we saw our run wasn’t going to last two years, it was the one story I couldn’t abandon. I decided to do something we’ve avoided on our run. We actually adapted Will’s original story.
It seemed a fitting way to close out our run. It gives the reader the largest slice of backstory that Will created for his character, and in many ways, it helped me define Denny for the reader who may have found him a cut out or cipher.
“Sand” is a bittersweet look back by the Spirit on the lost love of his life, but also serves as Darwyn Cooke’s heartfelt goodbye to the book. Cooke’s decision to leave with issue 12 because his artistic collaborator J Bone was unable to commit to any more is understandable and laudable. As a final issue “Sand” is almost perfection and serves as a fantastic ending to the best adaptations of Eisner’s classic character.
(Cooke & Bone say their goodbyes to the Spirit in typically beautiful fashion.)
As you finish “Sand” with that gorgeous page above, the realisation hits that you’ll most probably never read anything that so perfectly captures everything that was great about Will Eisner’s most famous creation. Every single story of the Cooke and Bone run is excellent, with story and art that you will simply fall in love with. It’s a truly marvellous series and one that deserves to be sitting on your bookcase alongside all those marvellous Will Eisner volumes.