Spirit World #5 — Alyssa Wong, Writer; Haining, Artist; Sebastian Cheng, Colorist
Ray — 9/10
Ray: As we hit the penultimate issue of this compelling miniseries, the Spirit World is under assault by an evil spirit, and the Jade Court that rules the realm might not be much help in combating it. These mercurial spirits, in fact, might be relishing the chaos. This series works really well on two levels. It’s got a fascinating mythology, written with deep knowledge and worldbuilding by Wong and brought to life by Haining. It’s also infused with so many great elements, ranging from classic Chinese mythology to the gonzo 1970s writing of Jack Kirby, who first introduced these comics to the DCU in a short-lived comic decades ago. But it also has three great lead characters in Constantine, Cass Cain, and the new sword-wielding magic user Xanthe, who is the POV character for the mini. And while they’ve formed a tight bond over the course of the series, that’s all out the window — because Cass and Constantine are possessed.
Gathering of spirits. Via DC Comics.
This is an interesting case of possession, because Cass and Constantine aren’t doing their best Exorcist impression here — the possession is almost intermittent, with them fighting to break free between attacks. And it’s not that Xanthe can’t fight them — it’s that they have the tool they need to win, but they don’t want to use it because it’s a violation of their body autonomy. This ties in very nicely to the toxic confrontation that Xanthe had with their mother in the second issue, and the solution they find is a great compromise. This feels like it’s packed with context about breaking the cycle of abusive relationships and forging new bonds, but cloaked in fantastical action. And the art, as always, is amazing and packed with new and often terrifying creatures from the Spirit World. I’m not sure how much work Wong has planned for DC going forward — they’re pretty enmeshed with the competition — but this has been one of DC’s best recent surprises.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.