Saturday, January 15, 2011

Spawn #200

Well, no one's more surprised than me to see that Spawn is still being published - and it's made it to issue 200!

If success were measured by art alone, I could believe it - the comic has a long history of outstanding artists turning in fine work (even if the subject matter is often repulsive), starting with artist and writer Todd McFarlane, who created the comic back in 1992. (I covered the first issue in this "Classic" review.)

This is the first issue I've bought in about 17 years (although I've read a handful of issues since then). My first impression is: not much has changed.

The one big change surprised me - the original Spawn, Al Simmons, is apparently out of the picture (Dead? Disappeared? Who knows?), and a new victim (some guy named Jim) is now wearing the Spawn costume.

Otherwise, it feels like the same comic. The art is quite good (though watching a demon puke an ocean of vomit on another demon doesn't do much for me). The credits are a bit confusing - the layouts and pencils are credited to McFarlane and Michael Golden - though I don't see much of either artist in the finished product. Maybe it's me.

But there are loads of detail, all kinds of gory action... yeah, that's about it.

The story makes no sense at all (though I'll grant that part of the problem may be that I haven't read - or don't remember - any details from the last 185 issues). There's some kind of unbeatable monster version of Spawn - the Omega Spawn - and it attacks Spawn and the Clown (the demon known as the Violator, who is pretending to be Spawn's friend).

The Violator ends up fighting the Freak (who's hiding a big secret) while the Spawns duke it out - sort of.

It all just reads like it could be issue #16. Big fights, clunky dialogue, no heart to any of the characters, no boundaries to the action (hey, it's magic and demons - they can do anything!), no purpose - just lots of noise and smashing.

After 18 years, Spawn is still all style and no substance. My advice: avoid it.

Grade: D+


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