Thursday, May 5, 2011

SPAWN #74 - July 1998

The Void

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

Summary: After discovering Spawn’s secret identity, Sam and Twitch are determined to learn his connection to Jason Wynn. Meanwhile, Spawn fights the Heap, but is soon consumed within his body. Boots discovers a Spawn sigil left behind in the alleys. Within Heap, Spawn speaks to Eddie Beckett, who now serves as a conduit for the “Emerald Parliament.” Spawn floats out of the black void into a tunnel, where he sees another Spawn sigil.

Spawntinuity: Cyan instinctively knows when Spawn has disappeared inside Heap. According to Boots, he can’t allow Spawn to die because this will trigger Armageddon. He claims that Malebolgia has harvested too many souls and that Heaven isn’t ready to fight. Apparently, God’s unable to create souls in the Spawn theology.

The Big Names: The real life Terry Fitzgerald has photos from the 1998 Tibetan Freedom Concert, and the first US date of Pearl Jam’s ’98 tour. He hints at a future collaboration with the band, which will turn out to be their “Do the Evolution” video.

Production Note: What has two staples and only twenty pages of story? Any issue of Spawn from this era.

Review: You know the issue isn’t off to a promising start when it opens with more of Sam and Twitch’s bumbling detective work. They do at least know that Spawn is Al Simmons now, but the four-page sequence is marred with the grim “we’re bringing him in” cliffhanger. This is, what, the fifth time Sam’s rushed into action, pledging to bring Spawn in? Where do any of these investigations go? Also, he’s not a cop anymore, so where is he bringing him? The story does acknowledge that the detectives lost their jobs while investigating Chief Banks, but that bit of info is essentially ignored just a page later to make room for the dramatic closing line. This goes in the Sloppy Spawn Continuity Hall of Fame.

After the shoddy opening, the issue redeems itself a bit. Spawn has his first real fight scene in months against the Heap, and while it doesn’t last long, Capullo brings a lot of energy to the action. The all-black void within the Heap, contrasted against Spawn’s elaborate costume and the assorted garbage he’s dragged along with him, is another strong visual. I’m sure Boots’ vague talk about Armageddon is going to be more cryptic horse manure that doesn’t amount to anything, but the script is fairly successful in selling the idea. I’m even more convinced that the division of labor at this point is McFarlane plotting and Holguin scripting, since this doesn’t read like a terrible comic; the aimlessness and repetitiveness are only obvious if you know the book’s track record.

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