Review by Jamie McNeil
Of all the SPOOKS agents, leader Morton Chapel is the most dangerous and the most damaged. He carries a dark family secret that has taken a terrible toll on his daughter Megan. Consequently Megan has been a ward of the sanatorium where Chapel’s fellow agent Katherine Lawson works. Perpetually fascinated by Megan, she finally convinced Chapel to let her help by the conclusion of The 46th State. However, Chapel warns her that she is tinkering with sinister forces beyond comprehension.
Meanwhile, industrial mogul Johann Verhagen puts a price on Chapel’s head. His bitter enmity runs deep and long for many reasons. Megan is his granddaughter and the last connection to his late daughter and Chapel’s wife, but his intentions are not driven by motives far less noble than deep love. Megan is the last in a line of supernaturally gifted women, a gift that helped make Verhagen wealthy. The women’s power comes from a dark and ancient evil, an evil that wants to roam the earth again, an evil named Seth. As friends turn into enemies under Verhagen’s influence, Chapel races against time to save his daughter… or kill her.
Writers Xavier Dorison and Fabien Nury have painstakingly developed their cast over four volumes of SPOOKS. In doing so Megan is a story that flies out of the starter blocks and never slows down. Though only the opening half of a two part arc, it has all the makings of a superb thriller. The mood is tense, the atmosphere broody and eerie, fraught with suspense. Christian Rossi’s art has been remarkable throughout the series and is no different here characterised by the successful experimentation with new styles and techniques. One example is a remarkable flashback sequence where translucent figures are superimposed over the art. The panels facilitate the story, but it can take a few moments to work out the flow of direction. That’s a trait not uncommon to European comics, often deliberately done for effect. It takes some getting used to but it does enhance mystery and heighten atmosphere. This is the best album of the series, but you will have to start at the beginning to make sense of it.
This is a fantastic and engaging start to the the final showdown. The end is nigh and comes to a bloody end in Seth.