Welcome back to all you folks out there in Nerd Vice land and the rest of the internet! This week we’re talking Heaven & Hell, angels & demons, capes & chains… no, I’m not reviewing an S&M comic book… I’m talking about SPAWN, man! This year of 2012 marks the 20th Anniversary of Hell’s baddest anti-hero this side of Ghost Rider! The issue that is to be the subject of this week’s review is a celebration of 20 years of Spawn, and there’s even 20 pages worth of story too. Don’t forget to check out the variant cover gallery after the review.
Spawn #220 is a $3.99 comic book published by Image Comics and originally released on June 6, 2012. Spawn #220 features the return of series creator Todd McFarlane as the writer and co-plotter, along with Jon Goff, as well as the artist for the cover and all of the subsequent variant covers except for the all black & white 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of Spawn #220, which has a cover by Szymon Kudranski. Szymon Kudranski also supplies the interior art, while FCO Plascencia handles the colors, and Tom Orzechowski takes care of the lettering. There are also a ton of extras, more than you wrap up in Spawn’s obnoxiously big cape. There is a letter from Todd McFarlane and an interview with him as well, with an art retrospective of Spawn #1, and a cover gallery of all two hundred and twenty issues of the Spawn.
The issue opens with Spawn, Jim Downing, contemplating his current existence and “life”… so to speak. He is recalling and trying to put together fragments and bits and pieces of his memories and trying to unlock the mystery of his own past before awakening from a coma as Hell’s newest Spawn. He can’t remember much, but what he can remember is starting to lead him to believe he wasn’t a very nice guy before. The story next takes us to Argentina, where a group of soldiers are at an old building looking for records of something called “The Project”. Their orders are to find and burn everything they can, which they are in the process of doing when they are interrupted by Spawn, who is there looking for answers of his own. The soldiers immediately make a huge mistake and open fire on Spawn, who lets his chains indulge in the slaughter of the unwise men. Spawn then sets about making the lone survivor talk, and it isn’t pretty. We then head back to the city where Spawn transforms into his alter ego, Jim Downing, who is about to hold a press conference. At this press conference, Downing is introducing his new charitable organization the “Restore, Restructure and Resurrect Foundation” and laying out his plans for its mission and future. The issue ends with the press conference and a shot of a gnarly looking bearded old guy making the ominous statement, “…wait until you hear about my resurrection.”
On to the art department, my Hellspawns! Szymon Kudranski’s art is wonderfully dark and moody and gritty, and oh so fitting for Spawn. I literally loved looking at every page. The way he uses light and shadow, and his style in general, bring Spawn and his monstrous cape to life to menacing effect. The brutal nature of Spawns powers are depicted in all their visceral glory and detail. I am also a fan of the unconventional panels and the rough and stylized edges on them. I don’t know, it just fits so well with the visual tone and compliments his lines so well; it just feels right. I’ve become familiar with FCO Plascencia, from his work at Marvel, and he is one to watch as a colorist. His colors compliment the darkness in Kudranski’s artwork beautifully and the deep and muted palette is a nice fit here. The overall dark tone of art as a whole is immersing in the best sort of way. The observant Spawn reader will also notice that the page layouts for Spawn #220 intentionally mimic the layouts from Spawn #1 EXACTLY panel for panel, as an homage to that first issue.
Spawn #220 is just a very good comic book. The story was well written, and as you would expect, no one gets Spawn and his world like his creator, Todd McFarlane, and it shows. He has written an issue that does well at both establishing the plight of the current Spawn, while also coming full circle with the parallels between his story and that of the original Hellspawn himself, Al Simmons. The page layouts crafted after Spawn #1 do also much to help bring that feeling of coming full circle about. A solid story combined with amazing pages from Szymon Kudranski and a ton of cool extras, make this 20th Anniversary issue one I would gladly recommend to any Spawn fan.
I give Spawn #220 3 Long-Boxes out of four.
.: SPAWN #220 COVER GALLERY :.
All images and characters are property of Todd McFarlane Productions.