Spirit World is the third six-issue limited series spinning out of Lazarus Event. We have already covered the other two limited series in The Vigil and City Boy. Spirit World stars a new character named Xanthe who is a non-binary Chinese hero. The mission is for Xanthe to team up with John Constantine to go rescue Cassandra Cain. Spirit World is a revival of an old DC Comic title from 1971. Spirit World #1 was a one-shot issue and was written and drawn by Jack Kirby. It had a Neal Adams cover. Do not expect this current Spirit World to come close to that Jack Kirby class!
The creative team for Spirit World is Alyssa Wong and Wangyue Haining. This is where things start to fall apart for me. Alyssa Wong is a novelist that Marvel Comics has brought in to write comic books. Now, it appears that DC Comics is going to give Wong some work. Wong is a writer who has been a sales failure. It is to the point where I am confused why Marvel Comics and DC Comics would continue to employ Wong. They clearly see something in Wong that I am missing.
At no point has Wong demonstrated any understanding, knowledge, or love of the superhero genre. Wong’s writing talents are evident in other forms of writing covering non-superhero genres. But, in superhero comic books? It is just not there.
Having said that, Wangyue Haining is a Taiwanese artist who has amazing artistic talent! Spirit World may be a poorly written read, but there is no doubt that Haining is going to make Spirit World a beautiful comic book to look at. I dig Haining’s style of art and she is an excellent choice for this title. I am glad to see DC Comics continuing to give Haining work.
Rokk’s Excitement Level:1 Night Girls out of 10. I just do not think that Wong is a good superhero comic book writer at all. I also think that Xanthe is a niche character and nothing about this title sounds interesting to me. I will definitely sneak a peek at this title when at my local comic shop just to admire Haining’s artwork.
Rokk’s Prediction: I am definitely not bullish on the possible sales success of Spirit World. I think this mini-series is going to appeal to a very small audience and will have trouble connecting with a large percentage of readers.
Wong has not had any sales success. Wong’s first comic for Marvel Comics was Aero which was a twelve-issue limited series that came out in 2019. Aero #1 debuted at the number 14 spot and sold 71,704 units. The title then crashed and burned as Aero #2-12 averaged the number 199 spot in the sales ranking and sold an average of 5,611 units per issue.
Wong’s next title was Star Wars Doctor Aphra. I cannot find good sales numbers for Doctor Aphra #1-9 due to the pandemic and DC Comics switching distributors during that time period. We do know that Star Wars Doctor Aphra #10-#28 has averaged the number 100 spot in the sales rankings with the latest issue of Star Wars Doctor Aphra #28 taking the number 163 spot.
Wong also wrote an Iron Fist five-issue mini-series that came out in February 2022. Iron Fist #1 debuted at the number 23 spot. Iron Fist then cratered in spectacular fashion as Iron Fist #2-4 averaged a number 116 spot in the sales rankings. Iron Fist #5 concluded the mini-series unranked and outside of the Top 200.
Marvel has recently paired Wong with an extremely popular big-name character in Deadpool. The results have been disappointing. Deadpool #1 debuted in November 2022 at the number 6 spot. Deadpool #2 dropped to the number 24 spot. Deadpool #3 plummeted to the number 50 spot. If Wong cannot have sales success with a character like Deadpool then I am not expecting Spirit World to tear up the sales charts.
You can tell that DC Comics also sees this coming with Wong writing Spirit World. This is evident in the fact that DC Comics is putting John Constantine and Cassandra Cain on this title. Spirit World is the only title spinning out of Lazarus Planet that is going to star established DC characters. This is what DC Comics does when they are worried that the new character by themself or the writer is not enough to bring readers to the title.
Based on Wong’s past I see no reason to believe that Spirit World is going to get good sales numbers at all. Wong’s name alone does not attract a large audience of readers.
Spirit World will be spinning out of Lazarus Planet. To this date, Lazarus Planet has been all over the sales rankings. Lazarus Planet Alpha #1 debuted at the number 13 spot. Lazarus Planet Assault on Krypton #1 debuted at the number 47 spot. Lazarus Planet We Once Were Gods #1 debuted at the number 79 spot.
Monkey Prince is another Asian superhero closely tied to Lazarus Planet. Monkey Prince #1 debuted at the number 24 spot in the sales rankings. Monkey Prince #2-6 averaged the number 179 spot in the sales rankings. Monkey Prince #7-8 were both unranked and outside of the Top 200. Monkey Prince #9-10 averaged the number 186 spot in the sales rankings.
I am going to predict that Spirit World #1 debuts in the Top 100. Then this title rapidly drops out of the Top 100. I think Spirit World has a good chance of finishing unranked in the sales rankings by the final issue.
Conclusion: Spirit World is a hard pass for me. I do not think that Wong is a good superhero comic book writer. I also think that Spirit World sounds like a niche story that is unlikely to interest me.