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The Fix #2 continues to build upon the strengths of the series’ debut issue; a killingly funny crime story about two dirty cops, Roy and Mac, and their continuing efforts to get out from under with some very bad people. Those efforts wind up involving Roy deliberately shooting Mac in the hand, Kombucha, ruining a fellow detective’s life, and a dedicated police dog named Pretzels.
I could try to sum up the plot of “The Fix”, but where would be the fun in that? Suffice to say that artist Steve Lieber and writer Nick Spencer (of “Superior Foes of Spider-Man” fame) continue to craft one of the most balls to the wall enjoyable books published by Image, an irreverent and hilarious book about two irredeemable reprobates just trying to make their way in the world. In classic crime story form, they aren’t nearly as smart as they think they are, but they’re just smart enough to get themselves into ever increasing trouble. Spencer and Lieber have an uncanny ability to make selfish losers out only for themselves somehow sympathetic, and The Fix #2 is no exception. It’s hard to come up with a flaw, except that the narrative drive that had revved up so high in the debut issue kind of downshifts in this one, leaving you feeling just a tiny bit like the wheels are spinning. However, only the tiniest bit, because this issue does allow us to get to know central protagonist Roy a little better, particularly illustrating how hard he can work to get what he wants, even if what he wants seems to be the most weirdly frivolous thing ever.
Not to chuck Spencer and Lieber into rarefied air, but there’s an element to their stuff that reminds me of the books of Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake. It’s particularly in the humour, which in “The Fix” is so gleefully misanthropic, and in the loving way all of them examine the lives of low level crooks just trying to make their way.
Lieber does some fantastic work this issue, though it is low key and seemingly effortless. There’s his brilliant depiction of the nicest detective in the precinct, who starts off looking like the most sunny balding sad sack that should have guest starred on “Barney Miller” before he gets embroiled in Roy’s machinations and subtly degenerates in something more sinister. There’s the splash page of Roy and Mac enjoying a perfect “bro day” before Roy is forced to shoot Mac in the hand. It’s these little touches that bring the absurdity of the story into the foreground and make The Fix #2 such a joy to read.
“The Fix” reads like a book where two creators at the top of their game and in solid sync have been let off the leash to do exactly what they do best. In their case, what they do best is shows us bad people doing bad things in a hilarious way and making us love them for it. Roy and Mac are definitely bad guys, but Spencer and Lieber make them bad guys who deserve a break, and that skill is what makes me give The Fix #2 a 9/10.