Script, Plot: Todd McFarlane
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Cover Artist: Francesco Mattina
Review by Christoph Staffl
In the last issue Spawn battled one of heaven’s warriors and shared a glimpse of his true capabilities. And even more, he saw what he is willing to do to succeed. Al indeed learned some new tricks while he was away — as he impressively shows in this issue.
Looking at the cover of this month’s issue, I adored every detail of it. Violator vs. Spawn always promises to be a fun time. And with everything that is at stake, the upcoming battle is not just a battle because they are standing on different sides. No, it is a battle of ideologies: the truth vs. the lies. But wait, who is the woman Spawn is protecting? Is she supposed to represent Wanda? Or the personification of the public Spawn has to protect from the evil that surrounds them?
At the end of issue #293, Al Simmons revealed himself to the world, telling them the truth or, at least, he pushes the journalists and bloggers around him in the right direction. Now everyone asks questions they did not know they had to have. Heaven and hell are in crisis, not just financially, but also their authority and influence are at stake.
McFarlane divided this issue of Spawn, like others before it, into two parts: the first one shows the ramifications of the plan Al set in motion last month, while the second half moves his story forward. I appreciate the dichotomous format because it paints a bigger picture. The cat is out of the bag; the status quo changing. There is no way back, and I am genuinely interested and invested in finding out where the story (and the Spawn universe as a whole) heads after its 300th issue. I hope it really changes and moves into new territory.
What does a world look like that knows of the existence of a Spawn? And also the truth about heaven and hell? What does a world look like that knows that neither side is interested in the well-being of humankind but in using it for their own goals? So much possibility.
But first, we have to walk the road there. It already begins to unfold in this issue as newscasts, blogs, and websites are discussing Al‘s resurrection. Everything we have read about in the last decades they have to figure out in a matter of days and weeks.
In the second part of the story, the Violator pays a visit to Spawn. He still believes himself above Spawn — more powerful and more of a trickster than Al could ever hope to be. But is that true? Throughout the last couple issues, Al showed not just heaven and hell, but also us readers that he evolved and became the very thing he hates: an all-powerful being that holds humankind’s fate in its hands. However, sometimes you have to become the villain to defeat your enemies or otherwise they will swallow you whole.
It is not that easy to tell a convincing story with an all-powerful being in it — something that has tricks upon tricks up its sleeves, prepared for everything and everyone. Still, in case of Spawn, I believe it and appreciate it even more. And that is because of its history. For nearly 300 issues we followed Spawn to heaven, hell, and back. We saw and witnessed things beyond our wildest dreams, and now it is time for some payoff. Spawn can be this all-powerful terror because he earned it.
And speaking of terror: the artwork, again, is magnificent. Jason Shawn Alexander and FCO Plascencia have outdone themselves again. They can go from ridiculously funny to truly horrifying in less than two pages. Showing Spawn in broad daylight and still making him look like something that truly comes from hell.
I love it when artists just let loose and unfold their creativity upon the page. Jason Shawn Alexander, in the first couple of pages, restricts himself to the panels and barely goes beyond them. But when the moment is ripe for everyone to see Al in his pure form the artist goes above and beyond to show us his version of Spawn. In each issue, the creative team finds new ways to show new sides of a well-established character. Every single one of those people has earned their place, and I am glad to watch them leave their mark in the Spawn mythos.
The fresh feeling of the current storyline also translates to the final scene of the issue. The creative team sets Spawn and Violator into an environment we have not seen them in before. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Is Al genuinely prepared for everything?
The Verdict: Buy it.
With the public searching for the truth, and Violator confronting Spawn in a one-on-one battle, Spawn continues to tell a gripping visual story.