Spirit World #3 from DC Comics is a rollicking and prismatic action piece in the Chinese afterlife. Alyssa Wong crafts another fine issue with Haining on art chores, Sebastian Cheng on those lush colors, and Janice Chiang exercising diligence and fun on letters. Xanthe and Constantine were about to catch the portal into the Spirit World when a monster from beyond jumped out to do more than say hello. Now, that fight will invade the afterlife, and the previous parallel stories begin to come together.
First off, Haining and Cheng can illustrate and color one heck of a dynamite fight scene. Xanthe is uber cool with their paper magic sword. Constantine is a bit more low-key but stalwart, letting Xanthe shine again. Xanthe has been back and forth and seen a lot but remains steady and solid in this tumult, proving they can hang in the big leagues of the DCU. Chiang litters the panels with some dramatic FX lettering to sell the deal. And then, Batgirl drops in with the awesome.
Spirit World #3 reminded me that Cassandra Cain needed to be in this book. Maybe it won’t last much longer, but it’s wonderful to get glimpses into her as a young Chinese woman and her past with her mother (Lady Shiva) while not taking the spotlight from Xanthe, one of my fave new heroes. Wong knows the balancing act well and never forgets whose book this is. Fleshing out another hero along the way is an extra plus.
Make way for an interesting new character to join this story later, paraded in by even more glorious Cheng colors. This book is the brightest bunch of pages in the land of the living, a fitting fold of fibers to offer to those who’ve gone off before us and should never be forgotten. I think Xanthe represents this. They fight for those who lost the fight or never get a punch in. It’s never too late to save someone in the Spirit World.
While at it, I enjoyed Shen, the multi-tailed demonic trader of Spirit World who knows all and will reveal things…for a price. “If something moves in the Spirit World, I know about it.” They’re a fetching creature who I suspect will be a thorn in Xanthe’s side for a long time. When Shen said they knew the sigh of a mother who has forgotten their child’s name? Such a disturbing, chilling line, and we need more powerful characters who broker in things besides mindless fights.
This was a fantastic issue. Xanthe got back ‘home,’ and we saw more of Cassandra’s resilience, met some sinister new characters, and fought the good fight. This new dark corner of the DCU comes wrapped in rainbow delights and offers a vibrant culture to explore from your sofa.
As far as I can tell, Wong has a hit with Spirit World #3. I’m hoping this title brings in a robust readership. Praying the love Americans have for manga will translate into a love of this new hero and their amazing adventures. So please, support Spirit World! Show it all your geeky love. Three issues in, and I feel the sky’s the limit. Let’s soar.
Spirit World #3
As far as I can tell, Wong has a hit with Spirit World #3. I’m hoping this title brings in a robust readership. Praying the love Americans have for manga will translate into a love of this new hero and their amazing adventures