“The Fix” #2 is the sort of comic that relies on protagonists you love to hate. With Roy and Mac, Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber have created a pair of wonderfully corrupt police officers who are in a bind of their own making. As the duo dig themselves out, readers will be amazed by how thoroughly enthralling it is to read about two awful people.
Most of “The Fix” #2 focuses on Roy as he tries to place Mac into a new department as part of a long-term plan and take down the world’s nicest guy in order to steal a coveted overtime position. Don’t get me wrong; Roy is a horrible person, but — similar to the protagonists of shows like “The Sopranos” — Spencer writes Roy as a compelling character from whom you can’t avert your gaze. For example, the smooth manner in which Roy talks Mac into having Mac’s hand shot is a great sequence. It’s believable that Mac would finally go along with this harebrained scheme because of how persuasive Roy is on those pages. That’s Roy in a nutshell; he’s smooth and weasels his way in even as you know he is nothing but bad news.
As charming as Roy is, Spencer takes a careful step in a dark direction when Roy takes down the beloved Pete Danielson. Spencer sets up this storyline wonderfully; we start by learning how great Pete is, we see Pete and Roy working together and then we discover just how perfectly everything clicks into place as someone takes the fall for Roy’s desires. This works on two different levels, starting with the way we see how Roy’s scheme works; it’s simple and yet inventive, with multiple pieces of “evidence” to fully ensnare Pete. Secondly — and more importantly — is how Roy-as-narrator casts doubt in the reader’s mind as to how good a person Pete really is. It’s a dangerous monologue, one that justifies mistrust of nice people under the guise of overcompensation. It’s a mean-spirited way to look at the world, one tinged with cynicism and distrust of everyone even as it says more about the speaker than the world itself. Yet, Spencer makes Roy’s speech believable, or at least inviting. There’s something about the choice of words that slides into your consciousness. This is some seriously strong writing.
Lieber’s contributions to “The Fix” #2 sell the events of this issue just as much as the script. Just look at the first page where we see the montage of how great a person Pete is, versus the last page where Roy sells his version of Pete to us. They’re the exact same person, but — in the first one — Pete comes across as a genial, trustworthy man with a gentle smile. Compare that to the second, where the smile seems forced onto Pete’s face and there’s a haunted look in his eyes as he nervously sweats while doing good. In our first look at Pete, he is drawn as a man you can trust; our final look shows Pete as a dangerous, unwholesome man without ever changing Pete’s physical appearance.
Lieber makes all of the characters in “The Fix” #2 shine, not just Pete. The two-page spread at the beginning of “The Fix” #2 is a prime example of that. While Roy and Mac make their way through Los Angeles, there’s so much joy on display as they go from one tourist attraction to the next. Every panel looks great (and props also go to Ryan Hill for the subtle but expressive colors that look like they’re painted on), and the sequence delivers the maximum amount of fun needed. That way, when Roy says it’s time to shoot Mac with a big grin on his face, you can almost hear the proverbial record scratch. Even minor characters like Sheryl are drawn in a fantastic way here; you can just see the disdain oozing off of her as she rolls her eyes and tells Roy that falling down the stairs would have been an easier injury to fake. Add in Josh’s murderous expression on the next page (with wonderful 1970s wallpaper in the background to create that visual dissonance), and you end up with one fine looking book.
From start to finish, every element of “The Fix” #2 is wonderful. As much as I loved Spencer and Lieber’s hilarious collaboration on “The Superior Foes of Spider-Man” series, this is a thousand times better. Their original creation is a riot, and every single page delivers. Buy this book; then, buy some extra copies for your friends. They’ll thank you for hooking them on a comic that’s a shoe-in for a “Best New Series” award nomination for 2016. Check it out.