It’s been a while since I have done a non-Big 2 book that wasn’t a manga, so I guess I better do that, or else I’ll fall back into my unfairly established reputation of hating indie books.
I guess Fables doesn’t TECHNICALLY count because it is a DC property (but it should; it’s essentially an independent book that just happened to be published by one of the Big 2), so the last non-non-manga indie I did was… Cyberforce back in volume 55, wow. It has been a while. And that was CYBERFORCE.
So we’re going to try to do better this time! Let’s find some dependable talent first…
TITLE: The Fix
Writer and Artist: Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber
Protagonists: Roy and Mac
Antagonists: Pretzels, kind of? Josh, kind of?
Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber! I love these guys! Superior Foes of Spider-Man! That was great!
Also, Spencer has been making Amazing Spider-Man great again for a while now, so I’ve been a big fan of that, as well. It’s been nice to finally be able to slot that book back into my life. But what else has he been up to? Here, he’s back together with Steve Lieber doing a book about corrupt cops!
So the story of The Fix is that two cops, Roy and Mac, are about as crooked as any two fictional cops have ever been portrayed. They rob the elderly then report to the call about their own crime, they get other decent cops arrested just the sake of their own minor convenience, and they are indebted big time to an unsavory character named Josh who even has Internal Affairs in his pocket. They are not, by any stretch, protagonists that deserve your sympathy.
The story of these first few issues that I read (#1-#5) is that Roy and Mac can not put together the funds they need to pay back Josh, so they agree to smuggle something through LAX for him. To do this, however, they have to get past Pretzels, who is the Dirty Harry of security dogs. It’s all whacky hijinx from there with Mac working on a transfer so he can befriend Pretzels, and Roy getting elected to act as personal security to a young starlet. Within the first five issues, we don’t see the smuggling operation, but we do get a lot of build on the road there.
First of all… is it funny?
With Spencer and Lieber workin together, that’s where my mind first goes. Forget the story… is this as wild and creative and madcap as Superior Foes? It definitely is. There are some wonderful moments in this series, and every issue has at least a couple of scenes that will make you chuckle. If you think you’ve gotten to a point where things can’t get more absurd, just turn the page and be surprised. It’s almost Pythonian in regards to just how far past the line of sensibility this title goes, though it may lose points for occasionally calling itself out on that (such as in the first issue where one of the cops wears the same easily identifiable Hawaiian shirt to investigate a crime as he wore to commit it).
I will say something seemed a bit off to me, though: I think The Fix could stand to have a bit more editorial supervision. While I really love the inanity of the tale, there are parts that get a bit too vulgar or a bit too crude, and that is possibly where having the freedom of an independent book lets Spencer go a bit off the deep end. Parts of the book feel a bit included just for the sake of inclusion, or to show off what Spencer felt he could get away with. To be fair, it’s mostly only the scenes featuring Roy and Mac’s buddy movie buddy Donovan that I think were bit much (and I’m somewhat of a prude in some regards, so bear that in mind, too). Everything else is fine-to-great, I just do wish those moments with Donovan had been tempered somewhat. It’s a mild complaint; it didn’t ruin the book for me, but there were times I wish things had been a bit reeled in because it felt less natural to the story and more like Spencer was just wildly playing with being totally free, and the story suffered a bit for it.
The art is fabulous, especially for this story and these characters. Lieber is a guy who is made for drawing humor books. Every facial expression is exaggerated. The background details in the panels are imaginative. The chase scenes get to be hilarious with some of the progressively more ridiculous methods of pursuit he dreams up. Everything works here.
Talking Point: This takes the buddy cop formula and flips it on its head. Kind of like “What if both cops in Training Day were bad… and vaguely incompetent?”. So with that in mind: what are your favorite cop duos in fiction?
It’s really enjoyably silly and the art is wonderful. It could do with some restraint on Spencer’s part at times, but this is a title I will keep on looking for to see how it develops. It’s just a lot of fun.