Creator: Todd McFarlane
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Cover Artist: Francesco Mattina
Review by Christoph Staffl
This month’s cover of Spawn depicts something I have been waiting for for years now: Spawn holding the severed head of Violator aka Clown in his hands. Blood is dripping from Spawn’s hands and his claws holding on tight, as if even now, Clown could or would try something. The wounds we see on both of them also show us that they both consist of the same plasma energy — cut from the same cloth, so to speak (we get more on that idea throughout the issue). I wonder why Spawn screams, though. Is it because he finally got his revenge for all the things Clown has done over the years? Or is it more like a scream of pain: look what you made me do? Is he screaming at us or heaven and hell?
But what this cover shows most importantly: a dream. Spawn and Clown have a complex history that is similar to that of Batman and the Joker. Both cannot exist and maybe even function without the other. They are opposite forces that challenge each other, make each other better. A rivalry that finally comes to an end? I am not so sure about that. What is a Spawn without a Violator? And what is a Violator without a Spawn?
Either way, the cover looks gorgeous as always. The part that intrigues me most this month though is the different layers in it. The closer you look, the more layers you see. For example, look at both characters faces. Though their masks are a part of both of them, here they also feel attached to them. Like wax dripped onto their skins. I also love how Mattina framed their faces. Spawn’s by his cape, and Clown by Spawn’s hands.
A great cover through and through; it prepares the reader perfectly for what is about to unfold in the next couple of pages. There too are different layers ready to be explored. Let’s have a look at Spawn #295.
The first layer we explore concerns the media. After Al revealed himself and that he indeed is Spawn, they dig deep and ask the right questions. Speculations run high as no one seems to get any real answers. The reason for that lies in the absence of Al’s military files. Heaven and hell have done quite a cleansing of his past. But one certain reporter gets unexpected help. The messenger is someone from Al’s past and might play a more significant role in the coming war.
I will not spoil the surprise, but subconsciously I was eager to find out when this particular character would come back for the anniversary. Other characters hopefully return as well. First and foremost Sam and Twitch. They are deeply missed. Where are they? What are they up to at the moment?
The central part of the story continues where we last saw Violator and Spawn. We are back in the desert, and Spawn hangs from a wooden cross — a not so subtle metaphor. Spawn and Clown finally have a lengthy conversation about their purpose in life (if that is the right term for it). As Spawn got more and more confident in using his powers over the last couple of issues, Clown also shows off some new tricks he has learned.
Both characters seem to have evolved since the beginning. Though their core and what has made them unique, special, and interesting over the last decades stays the same, they are allowed to learn. The same goes for everything that has happened so far in this storyline and since Al’s return in issue #250. It seems like a natural evolution of the character and the universe surrounding him.
This fresh and innovative feeling is also in thanks to the great artwork. Putting Spawn, demons, and what-not in a desert and other new locations we have not seen them in before could quickly fall apart. But the creative teams make it look so easy; the images and how they play with light and shadows is magnificent.
Verdict: Buy it!
As McFarlane and his team are working their way towards the 300th issue, they deconstruct Spawn more and more, digging through the layers and laying bare the core. The coming war is inevitable, and the only thing that remains for us to do is to sit back and enjoy the ride. The next two issues of Spawn will focus on the character’s history before the final arc leading to #300 begins.