Friday, November 12, 2010

SPAWN #42-#43, February 1996


Credits: Todd McFarlane (story), Tony Daniel (pencils), Kevin Conrad (inks), Tom Orzechowski (copy editor & letters), Steve Oliff, Quinn Supplee, & Olyoptics (colors)

Summary: Spawn’s cloak morphs into a protective shell and rockets him away from the lab’s explosion. He lands in rural West Virginia, where young comics fan Pat hides in a shed from local bullies. Spawn reluctantly gives Pat advice on life, and follows him during his next confrontation with the bullies. Against Spawn’s will, his cloak attacks the kids. When Pat pleads for their lives, the cloak eventually lets them go. Meanwhile, Cy-Gor searches for New York, while Sam and Twitch find more links between Chief Banks and Jason Wynn.

Spawntinuity: For some reason, New York City detective Twitch has a very nice home in Connecticut. An exciting subplot scene reveals Wanda has a cold.

“Huh?” Moment: Pat reasons that the design on Spawn’s chest is a giant “M.” Spawn dismisses the idea, until he realizes that Violator has the same design on his face-paint, and deduces the “M” is for Malebolgia. Aside from the fact that the name debuted in Alan Moore’s fill-in issue, long after McFarlane designed Spawn and Violator, we’re also supposed to believe Malebolgia uses modern English characters when designing his demonic henchmen’s outfits.

Review: Okay, Spawn hangs out with a nine-year-old, while Cy-Gor continues to roam the country and Sam and Twitch dig through more file folders. No filler here. I have to question why McFarlane is pairing Spawn with a cutesy nine-year-old after spending so many issues selling the idea of Spawn as so dark, gothic, and vicious. Now, he’s listening to the kid’s list of favorite comics and giving out advice on girls. It’s silly, but never funny, so the entire story is just flat. And this Cy-Gor stuff is sheer torture. This is the third issue in a row that’s wasting pages on this lame character doing absolutely nothing. Does a point ever emerge out of this, and why was I supposed to care in the first place?


Credits: Todd McFarlane (story), Greg Capullo (pencils), Todd McFarlane (inks), Tom Orzechowski (copy editor & letters), Brian Haberlin & Dan Kemp (colors)

Summary: Sam and Twitch arrive at work, only to discover their parking permit is revoked. After finally reaching their office, they’re confronted by Chief Banks, who feels enough time has passed to fire them without arousing suspicions. Sam and Twitch leak their files to the media, but Jason Wynn’s contacts give him enough time to distance himself from Banks. When the story breaks, only Banks is implicated. As Federal agents arrive to arrest him, Banks commits suicide. Meanwhile, Spawn recovers in the forest by feeding on the evil of the nocturnal animals.

The Big Names: The Image Info page announces Alan Moore as the writer of the Spawn Playstation game. When the game is finally released, almost two years later, it isn’t written by Moore, nor is it even playable.

Review: So, the Sam and Twitch subplot that’s shambled along for almost two years finally reaches something of a conclusion. Their nasty boss commits suicide, Jason Wynn remains spotless, and the detectives are out of a job. Over the next few issues, they’ll become private detectives, which doesn’t functionally change anything about their role in the book. And what is their role supposed to be? I can see the need for a pair of average cops assigned to investigate Spawn. I can even see why McFarlane would want to make them reluctant allies with Spawn later on. But why let this pointless conspiracy nonsense drag on for so long? Why waste two years on a story that just leads to the characters losing their jobs, only to have them take up virtually identical jobs a few issues later?

Meanwhile, the star of the book is wandering the woods, apparently near-death. Nice continuity with the previous issue, which had him well enough to humor an annoying nine-year-old for the entire story. The sequence is a bit hard to make out, but apparently Spawn is virtually a corpse at this point, rotting under a tree. He’s revived when insects and various creatures of the night sense his plight and arrive to help…by feeding him with their evil. The justification for this is a passage that's supposed to sound like something out of the Bible: “God shed his light on earth in the name of goodness. And those who dare shun it shall forever remain stained in evil.” So, any creature that’s out past 7:00 PM is evil in the Spawnverse; so evil that they even have red, pupil-less eyes. I will give the creative team credit for the imagery in the scene, which does look great. Brian Haberlin uses striking shades of white, blue, and red to create the sequence, and Greg Capullo is no slouch at drawing evil foxes, bats, owls, and snakes. I believe this is also the first time we’ve seen Spawn in the snow, and any break from the series’ standard back alleys is welcome. But, wow, is this dumb. Spawn’s receiving power-ups from evil woodland creatures, and the story is so deadpan in the delivery, you can’t help but to laugh.

1 comment:

PeterCSM said...

I always suspected that rabbits, possums, and moths were evil. That is an incredibly dumb plot.

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