7 out of 10
I’m not a fan of Spawn and I never
was. The only issues I enjoyed with the character were early on when McFarlane
gave creators like Dave Sim, Alan Moore and Frank Miller a few issues to guest
write. I was never particularly
impressed with the character, the writing or even the art. I never could grasp
the appeal of McFarlane’s Spider-man renditions. Sure, I suppose the pictures
were pretty to look at, but did anyone ever stop to consider that it would be
physically impossible for any human to assume those strange positions without
missing a few joints?
Michael Bendis took a couple bit characters from Spawn, Sam and Twitch and put
them into their own series of the same name. The S&T series focused on the
detectives in Spawn’s world. The stories deal as much with the relationship
between the two they do the actual crimes. Spawn remains a character way, way in
the background and it’s one of the reasons why the title works.
Brian announced he would be writing the new Hellspawn series, I knew I’d try
it. With the exception of my unhealthy obsession with Spider-Man, I buy and read
comics because of the writer, not the character or concept. I know I liked
Brian’s writing, so I figured if anyone could make the character somewhat
interesting, it would be him.
admit the book seems very far removed from the main Spawn title. It’s one of
the darkest books I’ve read in a long time. It takes place in current Spawn
continuity, but it doesn’t resemble the main book in any way except for
concept, from what I know. With Hellspawn, Brian is taking the reader to a place
that we have not been to before and that is a place no one would want to be at.
This Spawn’s world is filled with vile people who do reprehensible things. In
the first issue alone, we’re treated to a dissertation by an evil creature
called The Clown who waxes philosophical on the actresses in X rated movies and
what brought them to this particular point in their lives. While The Clown
torments the sad fellow trying to watch his porn in peace, we see him stare at
the screen in wide-eye terror. It’s the same expression I had while reading
Ashley Wood worked with Brian on the initial Udaku storyline in Sam and Twitch
and his haunting, fully painted work fits greatly with the mood of the story.
This isn’t a pretty world we’re dealing with and the visuals are as
disturbing as what’s written on the page. As a pure psychological horror book,
Ashley’s work is amazing, in fact. His paintings in Hellspawn remind me of
similarly frightening visuals in the old Arkham Asylum graphic novel from years
like I dig the book, doesn’t it? Well the problem isn’t as simple as the art
or writing. Ashley’s art is perfect for the book and Brian doesn’t ‘phone
in’ his writing, but it doesn’t seem to have the same punch as his previous
efforts. Perhaps he doesn’t care for the character as much as some of the
other projects he’s working on. It would be unfair for me to presume that he
doesn’t. But I know that the story isn’t getting me eager with anticipation
for the next installment. The whole big guns, big attitude in the character is a
non too pleasant reminder of the 90’s style fiasco of some of the more popular
independent titles of the time.
gives it a good effort and Ashley’s work makes the comic easy on the eyes, but
there isn’t enough substance behind the work for me to continually seek this
out. I will wait out the current storyline because I want to see how Brian wraps
this up, but even still, there isn’t really much of a point for me to
anticipate much of anything. It’s already been revealed that Brian will be
leaving the book in a few months, and along with him goes my interest level.
not exactly a failure of dramatic proportions, the Spawn-thing still doesn’t
do it for me. I’m quite content with reading a lot of the better tales written
by BMB and I’m sure that there are a lot of readers out there who share my
feelings. Onto bigger and better things, I’d be willing to bet.
And I wish them luck.
Hellspawn is available monthly from Image Comics. To find out more about Hellspawn, visit www.jinxworld.com. You can find everything here from ordering information to merchandise to upcoming events and pop into the message boards for some of the most interesting conversations with fans and creators alike!
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