Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spawning Hype

So there's this book called Spawn that's been around a few years. You may've heard the massive hype that's been going on for months about a "relaunch" of sorts. Or you may live under a rock, and not heard it. Whichever, I thought I'd take a look at the "bold new direction" that was getting kicked off with Spawn #185.

I used to love Spawn. I stuck with it from the beginning (well, technically #16 was where I jumped on) up to #120 before I chucked in the towel. There's probably more issues in that run that I found frustrating than issues I truly loved, but I still have somewhat of a soft spot for the character. Old fans were being invited back for the new story, and I figured I'd see what it looked like to someone who's had a 65 issue break from the comic.

First thing to check out, the recap of recent events on the inside cover:

My scanner may have decided to render that almost unreadable, but that actually sounds like a story I'd love to read. If only that was the relaunch.

The comic proper gets going with a 7 page, almost text free, sequence showing Spawn returning to Earth from Hell. Then he sticks a finger in his eye.
Damn contact lense. If felt so good, he has to do it again, this time with the whole hand.

And hey, if you're gonna do that, may as well rip off your head while you're at it.


Presumably at that exact moment, a comatose patient known as "Patient 47" wakes up. This guy right here:

The main mystery of the issue (and presumably the arc) is introduced here. While the hospital staff rush to attend him, we find that some less than desirable people have been watching, waiting for him to wake. We get the hint that he's important (new Spawn, anyone?), but that's pretty much where things are left.

The final sequence deals with Violator, doing his usual tough-guy ranting about being "pissed off" etc (*yawn*), when he stumbles across Headless Spawn (wait for the toy!)


So yeah, impressions: I'm left feeling pretty "meh" about it. For a start, it was very light on the text- 12 pages which were 95% visual, and the whole thing felt like it read in 5 minutes. Never a good thing in my book. The story itself? It sets a couple of threads off (who is Patient 47, what's happened to Al Simmons), but really it just touches on those. For a relaunch, there's nothing to grab you and draw you in to the book. Spawn's major failing as a book (atleast when I read it) was always the god-damned eternity it took for the story to advance and answers to be given, and as a returning reader, I really can't face the prospect of having to go through all that again. The whole idea that I liked in the recap is also somewhat done in, with the appearance of the big V, and a preview of next issue showing an Angel hunter. Seems like status quo to me.

Predictions: Spawn has died, eventually passing the mantle to Patient 47. He'll fight Violator, and the angel, and the shady guys will try to manipulate the new Spawn. "New Spawn" will be on a quest to find out why all this is happening to him. All of which was done 185 issues ago. I may be totally wrong here. Even so, like I said, there was nothing in this "relaunch" to grab me, shake me, and scream "you must read the next issue!". If you're a Spawn fan, I hope you enjoy it. Me, I think I'll pass.

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