Friday, September 17, 2010

SPAWN #33 - July 1995

Shadows - Part One

Credits: Todd McFarlane (story), Greg Capullo & Todd McFarlane (art), Tom Orzechowski (copy editor & letters), Steve Oliff & Olyoptics (colors)

Summary: Spawn contemplates moving away from the alleys, but his friends protest. One of the homeless, a plant from the Violator, later stirs Spawn from his sleep by speaking his real name. Spawn chases him to the Violator’s location, where Violator demands he stay nearby or his friends will pay a price. Their fight takes them to the sewers, where they’re separated by a flood of water. Meanwhile, Terry Fitzgerald begins working for Jason Wynn, as Sam visits Twitch in the hospital, and the angels’ headquarters is repaired.

Spawntinuity: Violator left for Washington in Blood Feud, which is where Badrock Vs. Violator finds him. How exactly he escaped from Hell after the final issue isn’t explained. Another dubious continuity point has Sam accusing Spawn of Twitch’s attack, even though Sam’s willing to help Spawn clear his name by the end of Blood Feud. Violator is shocked Spawn’s costume can morph at this point, claiming it should still be incubating. According to a narrative caption, Spawn still needs oxygen, even though his body is made of necroplasm.

Spawn vs. Lawyers: Todd Toys is now McFarlane Toys, following a helpful letter from Mattel that informed the company a “Todd” doll is a part of the Barbie family.

Todd Talk: A sixteen- year-old letter writer complains that the storylines have started to drag and nothing is happening. McFarlane’s defense is that he needs to build up suspense.

Review: This issue does raise two questions about what exactly McFarlane is trying to do with Spawn. First of all, is he actually trying to make a serious point about homelessness? If we’re supposed to care about these guys, it would help if McFarlane made them remotely human. Bobby is the only one that’s been fleshed out so far, and this issue he returns to give Spawn another inspirational speech about actually doing something. Meanwhile, the rest of the homeless just declare their undying love for Spawn, the guy with magic powers who just hangs around their alleys and does absolutely nothing to help them. Those bums who thought he was a vampire in Blood Feud weren’t really friends with Spawn’s crew, as we learn this issue. These guys just love Spawn unconditionally and can’t bear the thought of seeing him leave, even after he’s attracted angels, demons, cyborgs, police, and mobsters to their alleys. Violator even has his own homeless follower; not to be confused with one of the vagrants that follows the Curse. Apparently, McFarlane thinks that the homeless are dimwitted children who roam the streets, desperate for a “leader” to worship. Going back to his Spider-Man run, McFarlane clearly has an attraction to the homeless, but his message has gone from generic “Another Day in Paradise” advocacy to this odd desire to portray them as subhuman.

You also have to wonder what role Violator is supposed to play in the series by this point. Originally assigned to “train” Spawn, Violator seems to go months at a time without even thinking about the guy. I suppose this issue could be a return to his original motivation, but I would hope Spawn’s training consists of more than just random fights. Why exactly Violator is still following his original orders when his relationship with Hell is strained is also unclear. I actually can’t complain about this issue’s fight scene, since it looks great and it at least gives Spawn something to do for a few pages, but it’s clear Violator needs better definition as a villain. I believe McFarlane soon goes in the direction of Violator working behind-the-scenes to wreck Spawn’s life, mostly by harassing Wanda's family, but I don’t recall it going very far.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I still don't get how Violator got his powers back.

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