Showtime - Part Two
Credits: Tom Orzechowski & Andrew Grossberg (story), Greg Capullo (pencils), Todd McFarlane & Mark Pennington (inks), Tom Orzechowski (letters and copy editor), Steve Oliff & Olyoptics (colors)
Summary: Spawn and Houdini chase Porsche MacNeill in Houdini’s magic car. Houdini grows bored and leaves, while Spawn notices Terry Fitzgerald nearby. Spawn disguises himself and rescues Terry from the Ukrainian bodyguards of Volokhov, the rogue atomic scientist. Volokhov is at Porsche’s store, having a detonator repaired. Spawn and Houdini reunite at Columbia University, where Volokhov threatens to detonate an atomic bomb if the Ukraine isn’t given a massive loan. The bomb ignites, and Houdini learns his teleportation device has been disrupted by the Overlap. In retaliation, he uses magic to transport the atomic blast to the Overlap. Volokhov and Porsche are arrested, but Porsche is released due to lack of evidence. Spawn plants a tiny explosive in his apartment to teach him a lesson.
Spawntinuity: A flashback reveals Spawn first met Terry in “Language Immersion School” in Monterey, California. You’ll also notice on the cover that Spawn’s eyes are much larger than they used to be, which seems to be one of Capullo’s contributions.
Review: Fill-ins, by their very nature, don’t leave a lot of room for creators to have an actual impact on the characters. This fill-in arc puts the writers in an even more difficult position, since it had to take place in-between two already published issues of the series. Consequently, it occasionally feels like a Houdini story guest-starring Spawn, but I think the final result reads quite well. Spawn never seemed to have a lot of motivation to do much of anything, so a character like Houdini is needed to kick off a storyline, anyway. The actual moments that focus on Spawn mainly reiterate what we’ve seen in the previous issues (Spawn still views Terry as a friend on some level, and he doesn’t want Wanda to become a widow again), but they’re successful in making Spawn seem more human and likable than usual. The plotline about a mad Ukrainian scientist isn’t typical Spawn fare, but this was still early in the book’s run. The deviation didn’t feel totally out of place, since McFarlane hadn’t decided to make the entire series about dark urban horror yet.