Straight up disclosure. Me and the guys at PLB are friends to the point that I’ve even written a story for them. All reviews I do of them will probably be tainted by the fact that they are awesome guys who I hope succeed in all endeavors.
But man is the spotlight on the Spicer Brothers fantastic. The book consists of 2 stories from previous PLB books done by Brandon and Brian Spicer, and one all new story focusing on the Semi-Origin of their original character Mulciber. I’ll review each story separately, and then give you my verdict on whether or not you should own this book.
“Guilty Verdict” is the first story in the book, and if you’ve never read a “Fall” book by PLB then this is a great place to start. GV’s writing pins down the character to his core elements of Justice and Vengeance. He is the judge, jury, and executioner in a way Judge Dredd would be envious of. He isn’t the law of the land, he’s the law of justice. But if the story is simple in it’s portrayal of who the fall is, the ending will make you realize that perhaps the Fall isn’t as basic as his creed. Brian’s writing adds a level of depth not only to the title character, but to the universe he inhabits.
“Home Fires Burning” comes from PLB’s halloween comic and is a great transition from the Fall to Mulciber. The story is suspenseful, if short. Brandon’s art makes the mood come alive with his brooding character design and terrific eye for explosions.
“Homecoming” is the only one of the stories that is new to me, and the one I was most interested in reading. Mulciber’s design, thanks to Brandon, is chilling. His permanent smile in shadowed conditions screams a mix of the Joker and Batman. But the life of the character really comes alive from Brian’s writing. We see a character who doesn’t want to be a hero, who has had his day with vengeance and is now a lonely spirit with no cause. He comes across a new drug craze called “Sunshine” and decides to be the cloud that will blot it out.
So should you buy it? If you’ve never read any PLB book then this book is a must read, especially if you like Judge Dredd or The Punisher. The mood, the tone, and the art are some of the best stuff produced in the indie world. If you’ve already read the two stories? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Homecoming is well worth the price of admission to me, but it’s 1/3 of a book. If you’ve read the other two books wait for the “Mulciber” comic which is undoubtedly coming.