Script/Plot: Todd McFarlane
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Review by Christoph Staffl
In Spawn #290 Al sends his team to several locations on the planet, to manipulate his enemies various infrastructures. In India, they destroy their financial savings, and in Papua New Guinea lies their digital infrastructure. There also is something going on in Northern Ireland, but it is not yet revealed what they did there precisely. However, we can assume it involved the execution of some of the key characters.
It is a good feeling to see the past issues paying off. All the preparation and struggle Al endured in this storyline so far slowly comes to a satisfying conclusion–which then leads to the final showdown. It seems like he has everything under control. The steps he takes are planned way ahead of time, and even when it looks like Clown is interfering, our protagonist ensures us that everything is according to plan. Something I didn’t buy at all was Jim Downing telling his opponents he had a plan. But here, even small newscasts provide enough information to let us know Al has everything under control.
This credibility also includes the choices Al made regarding his team. Though I don’t remember every one of them in detail from previous storylines, they at least made a good enough impression, to recognize them (be it Overt-Kill, Cy-Gor, Freak, or The Curse). Their unique designs make them recognizable and impressive. On some level, we know their history, where they come from, and what happened to them. This makes the revenge they are setting up even more satisfying.
But make no mistake, the lines between good and evil may be blurred at this stage, those creatures are however far from heroes. They torture, kill, and terrorize everyone that stands in their way. The only difference is, they are fighting on Al’s side this time. Does this legitimize their moves? This question is still up for debate. Nevertheless, they are cool characters, and I enjoy watching each of them excel in their individual abilities.
In my previously on Spawn article I talked about some things McFarlane improved with issue #250. The soft reboot still holds true to those things: be it the introduction to an omniscient narrator, or the new layout for the newscast pages which allows less redundancy. Even Marc Rosen is back, who was introduced to us in the Jim Downing storyline. He is an excellent example of something that worked well in the Downing-period, and it makes sense for him to appear in this story arc as well.
The artwork in Spawn #290 is superb and the only word I can think of to describe it is erratic. Sometimes it seems like the proportions and angles don’t quite fit. But this style just adds to the unsettling feeling throughout the issue. Spawn is a horror book again.
The Verdict: Buy it.
McFarlane is building up to a big showdown for Spawn’s 300th issue, and I can’t wait to get there. Every step of the way seems clear: there are some mysterious figures we quite don’t know yet, and Al’s allies are a welcome blast from the past.