COMIC REVIEW: SPOOKS 1 – The Fall of Babylon

No this is not Spooks as in the BBC’s now defunct MI5 drama show but a new comic title from Cinebook and something which could not be more different from the TV show it shares it’s name with.

If you’re a fan of Supernatural, you might remember the episode where Sam and Dean travel back to the Old West and meet fellow hunter Samuel Colt. This gives you a good idea of what to expect from Spooks. In this latest offering from Cinebook you have ‘Supernatural’ meets ‘Spaghetti Western’, with a convert group  of specialists in the occult tackling the weird and the strange in the old west of 1895.

The Specialists in the Odd and the Occult or Spooks (gotta love that name) was disbanded back in the day although we’ve still to learn why. In this first volume ‘The Fall of Babylon’ the team is bought back together by Richard Clayton, against the orders of the president, to investigate a string of suicides within East Coast’s high society.

The Spooks, led by Morton Chapel, quickly discover that there is more at work here than what can be explained by the rational and that the answer is something far more sinister and dangerous.

This comic feels like it was tailor-made for me as it combined my love of westerns, conspiracies and the occult (yes I am a strange fellow) and I’m happy to say I was very pleased with my gift. Dorison and Nury’s writing is sharp with the Spooks, mainly Chapel and Clayton, firing off one liners as fast as their six shooters.  We get a great ‘Magnificent Seven’ style montage where the team is put back together which give us a few insights into the characters and that as individuals they should not be messed with, let alone as a team.  I would have liked to have seen a little more time spent on some of the character introductions and some of their relationships  but as this is the first volume my guess is this will be explored as the story progresses. What was refreshing is that Morton and his team are occult investigators first and foremost so rather just gunning down the bad guys there is some real investigative work on show here so full marks to the creative team for that choice.

The main plot is interesting and more complex than I thought it was but this is the trap I fall into whenever I pick up a comic from Cinebook as they really do pack a lot of dialogue into their pages. I reckon I will be giving this one a second read just to let some of the plot points sink in.

The art by Christian Rossi is fantastic and has a wonderful watercolour vibe to it. There’s a real grizzled look to the spooks team with some panels looking like they’ve been pulled straight out of a Sergio Leone film. This look is drummed home when you first see Morton Chapel, who has been given the visage of an aged Clint Eastwood and the manner of Lee Van Cleef in a ‘A Few Dollars More’. There is a lot of dialogue and plot in this volume but when the action does come Rossi does not shy away from the challenge and delivers some beautifully crafted scenes, especially one set piece involving a raid on an opium den towards the end of the volume  which is climaxed by a single panel that was my highlight of the book.

With a gripping story and  gorgeous visuals I can’t recommend Spooks enough. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes in volume two and learning a little more about Richard Clayton and his gun slinging ghostbusters.

Bravo Cinebook for once again reminding me of just how diverse comics can be. Spooks 1 – The Fall of Babylon is available now from Cinebook!

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Nuge

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  1. Sounds brilliant. Looking forward to reading that one. I have a Spooks in my bookstack but I’m not sure if it’s this one or the follow-up. Looks mighty purdy though.

  2. Glad you liked it! There’s not long to wait for the next one.

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