Script/Plot by: Todd McFarlane
Art by: Carlo Barberi
Lettering by: Tom Orzechowski
Colours by: Jay David Ramos
Covers by: Björn Barends, Todd McFarlane & Francesco Mattina
Creative Director: Todd McFarlane
Editor: Thomas Healy
I’m going to ask you, for a few seconds, to imagine what it’s like to be me. One week ago I suffered through Spawn’s Universe #1, now Spawn #319 has appeared and, perhaps in response to people like me who thought last week was going to be a jumping on point, Image Comics have confidently announced on social media that this issue is that jumping on point. So, imagine being me, someone who decided to call Image Comics’ bluff on this one.
Spawn #319 begins its tale in Fositano, Italy. In this village there’s a well regarded restaurant ran by a lovely man named Gino, sadly Gino is a vampire, and Spawn needs a file from him, I’m sure you can guess what happens next.
There’s a scene with Spawn sharing what he found in Italy with Sam Burke (of Sam & Twitch fame) which is quite possibly the best of this issue, it’s easy to read, it doesn’t feel needlessly badass and for one brief moment, there’s almost no narration.
Seemingly the events of last weeks Spawn’s Universe #1 don’t matter very much, the only hint of continuation comes in a scene with Jericho loading Cy-Gor onto a truck, and telling us repeatedly that Cy-Gor is the best bait for catching Spawn. All this followed by the setup for the next issue…or is it? Seemingly last weeks Spawn’s Universe #1 didn’t really set up this one, so maybe things just happen in Spawn and any connection is a coincidence?
To revisit last weeks complaints: the narration within this issue is incredibly frustrating. It’s not enough to show Spawn wailing on Gino, we all need to be told that it’s happening. Begging the question is it “show don’t tell” or “show AND tell”?.
Carlo Barberi is handling the art for this issue and for what it’s worth he does a good job. Spawn looks awesome, gloomy and imposing, which is helped massively by Jay David Ramos’ colouring. Barberi’s other characters are also well realised with Gino coming across as a believably pleasant restaurant owner, kind of a shame he had people chained up in his basement.
Tom Orzechowski’s lettering is also a high point of the issue, there’s some nice changes in the lettering style to differentiate between characters and I do like the speech bubbles Spawn gets.
This is my third go at reading Spawn and honestly, it’s absolutely exhausting every time. I’ll say this, Spawn #319 is a more cohesive read than Spawn’s Universe #1, so in that sense it feels more like a jumping on point, but I have to question why anyone wouldn’t have made the “highest selling Image #1 of the 21st Century” that jumping on point? There’s also perhaps the bigger question of if this should be your starting point for Spawn. I can’t answer that for you, but for me, the person who keeps trying and failing to get into this? I suppose we’ll see if I’m back here for more when #320 comes out.
Also why is Violator on the cover when he’s not even mentioned in this issue?