The Spire #1-8 Review: Where Political Thriller Meets Fantasy

Simon Spurrier is among the best comic writers working today. His creator-owned titles (published primarily by Boom! Studios) are an example of amazing world building and great stories. The Spire – which he created alongside Jeff Stokely and André May, and which ended recently after 8 issues – are among his best titles.

In the titular Spire, a vertical city-state in the middle of a wasteland, the Baron, its ruler, dies after a long life. During the celebrations for the passing of title to his oldest daughter, a string of murders takes place. The victims are all people who were connected to the court. There’s a conspiracy afoot – and it’s up to the chief of police, the amnesiac Shå, to solve it, with the help of her underlings, Milk and Pug the messenger garg.

Shå and Pug are one of the Sculpted (or Skews, as the many racists in the Spire call people like her) – people whose ancestors were modified to perform certain functions that helped the city-state survive. Proud stands the Spire, and all that. Sadly, as is typical for humanity, the different-looking (often very different-looking) people living low on the social ladder and performing necessary functions society wouldn’t survive without – are oppressed and looked down upon. The deceased Baron used to be benevolent towards the Sculpted (he’s the one who gave Shå her job), but with the changing of the guard a change for the worse seems imminent.

And yet the Spire citizens seem progressive compared to the Zoarim – a quasi-religious warband of nomads traveling the wastelands. They consider the Sculpted a plague that needs to be cleansed – including the city "tainted" with their presence. Worse, as we learn early on, they somehow managed to get an ancient weapon of mass destruction working – and they’re more than willing to use it.

Shå has problems of her own. She and Meera, the little sister of the new Baroness, are in love, but due to staggering difference in positions Shå knows it simply won’t be allowed. A more optimistic Meera disagrees and wants to tell her Mother, the late Baron’s wife.

Spurrier masterfully tells a political thriller in a fantastical world. Shå is an amazing, imperfect protagonist, that I wish we could see more of. But what we got is still a great comic, amazingly drawn by Stokely and May, both of whom Spurrier worked with on an earlier venture, Six-Gun Gorilla. The world somehow manages to mix Mad Max, Blade Runner and Dark Crystal influences with an effect reminiscent of the New Weird aesthetic. It’s a terrific comic, definitely worthy of your attention.

The Spire is written by Simon Spurrier, drawn by Jeff Stokely and colored by André May. The collected comic is set to be released on December 20.

Dominik Zine is a nerdy lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.