John Law: Dead Man Walking (Will Eisner’s…)

    (Idea + Design Works, 2004)
™ and © Idea + Design Works

Will Eisner’s other urban detective takes center stage in this collection of new stories by Gary Chaloner. Chaloner is a worthy successor to the Eisner mantle, since his art and storytelling evoke much of what made Eisner king. With the exception of the splash page, which might as well be the cover of a 1940s Spirit section, he accomplishes this feat without appearing derivative. The two short stories that start the volume are good but not exceptional. That distinction is reserved for the “main feature” that guest–stars Eisner creations Lady Luck and Mr. Mystic in what is probably their first new story in half a century. As back–up, we have Eisner’s original John Law stories, which readers may recognize from having been adapted into classic Spirit tales. (Law’s eyepatch was changed to The Spirit’s mask.) Turnabout being fair play, one of Chaloner’s short stories was written as a new Spirit story. (Spirit’s mask was changed to Law’s eyepatch, natch.) The 1980s John Law one–shot from Eclipse can’t compare. This volume is a must for all Eisnerphiles.

— Jack Abramowitz

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Reprints John Law Detective #1; B&WWill Eisner, Gary ChalonerGary Chaloner, Will Eisner