Script/Plot: Todd McFarlane
Art: Carlo Barberi
Lettering: Tom Orzechowski
Colours: Jay David Ramos
Creative Director: Todd McFarlane
I last read a new issue of Spawn in either 2000 or 2001, but the BTC crew really wanted someone to review Spawn, so I thought I’d give it a crack.
For the uninitiated, Spawn follows the exploits of Al Simmons, a murdered soldier who made a deal with the devil and became the titular hellspawn. He’s been given a finite amount of powers, and when these run out, he has to bugger off back to hell, so he avoids using them for the most part. His costume (and fucking massive cape, it’s bigger than than the average cape folks, therefore ideal for this website) is also alive and seems to have acquired a name in the last 20 years. Still, I’m not sure how relevant or reliable the rest of the Wikipedia page is in terms of catching up, so let’s hope any of this makes sense, having missed over 200 issues.
Apparently, every demon, angel and several humans want to kill Spawn these days. Looks like Spawn’s been teaming up with CyGor, a gorilla Cyborg (but of course), and now someone called Soul Crusher is fighting CyGor to get Spawn’s attention. Looks like he’s succeeded.
I can’t vouch for the last 20 years, but while the plot was wearing thin back in the day, the art was always on point. That doesn’t seem to have changed. There are loads of splash pages (pun intended, he’s underwater a lot in this one), everything is dynamic, it barely stops except for the news report break, a device that’s been ongoing for nearly 30 years now.
Soul Crusher seems to be annoying both to Spawn and to me. There’s a chunk of exposition two-thirds of the way in where some back story is reiterated, and Spawn decides not to kill Soul Crusher because his dead wife tells him not to. CyGor doesn’t seem to have a dead wife telling him not to kill folk and has no such qualms. And so an irritating enemy dies, and someone from hell who literally killed people as a profession prior to his own death is making moral decisions about killing people. Makes sense, Todd.
If you want big dumb violence with tacked on moralism, you’ll find it right here. If you’re looking for thoughtful and well-written stories, perhaps you’d like to check out the many reviews of other books on Bigger Than Capes.