Friday, October 3, 2008

Collection spotlight: Spawn Collection volume 3

The Spawn ball keeps rolling with volume 3 now on our list to review. Volume 2 has officially taken away all the little left overs and loose ends left on from volume 1. By now, there is nothing left to hold Spawn back, nothing but the imagination of Todd McFarlane. Luckily, he really cuts loose here.

Written: Todd McFarlane

Art: Todd McFarlane, Greg Capullo, Tony Daniels

Story Comments: The story picks up right after last volume ended with Spawn and Violator play cat and mouse. While it sounds promising, the end result is fairly quick and simple and I was definitely disappointed at that.

We quickly move to Spawn taking on some drug dealer, which in typical Spawn style, ends gruesomely. It’s hard not to grin at moments like this, how deeply rooted Spawn is into the definition of Anti-Hero.

One of the moments people may glaze over here is the first time we see Twitch’s wife. This is where things get very funny between Sam and Twitch. Sam starts hitting on her, not knowing that she was married to Twitch, and this leads to hilarity. The mere idea of such a scrawny little dude like Twitch who is so polite and formal marrying a woman who looks like she jumped out of a Playboy, the joke runs on through this volume and it never once gets stale.

With Terry’s name cleared of being the mysterious Spawn, Wynn decides to use Terry as a shield against Spawn. Realizing that using Terry he can make himself harder for Spawn to reach since it would negatively affect Wanda. It’s one of the more clever moments the series has.

Unfortunately, when the story starts to rise, we switch to the character of the Freak. A character that I don’t really care for, I’ve always felt is just a too tad too crazy for my liking. He’s so nuts that he’s annoying, always babbling and rambling about something idiotic. However, his first meeting with Spawn goes in a rather funny twist and I didn’t mind his first appearance.

Following this is the appearance of Cy-Gor, one of the stranger characters I’ve seen in Spawn. A cybernetic Gorilla with…a bit of an odd origin. However, I did like the twist of the mad doctor who only wanted to save his beloved wife, which lead him to creating a monster. As a fan of old horror films like Frankenstein, I really enjoyed how it borrows from the basics of the mad scientist genre of films.

After this we get a rather funny story, and one of the most classic issues of Spawn ever, the Christmas issue! That’s right, you remember back in the 90’s and 80’s when they actually celebrated and pointed out holidays whenever it was that time of years in comics and cartoons? Back before it all became “Offensive” and parents didn’t want their children reading about Spider-man saving Santa.

This tells the story of a child who’s mother is just barely scrapping by to keep things going. It’s the typical set up, kid is sweet, needs help, hero helps him. But Spawn takes a fun twist on it, the kid mistakes Spawn, who is fighting off burglars on a roof, for Santa. Though it’s a fairly ridiculous moment, the ending is a nice and heart warming moment that captures the spirit of the holidays.

Following this, things take a turn for the even weirder…we see the return of Curse, who was introduced in the previous volume, and he does something that…most villains threaten to do, most villains come close to doing, but almost never have….he de-limbs Spawn! It makes for a kind of sick grotesque moment, but one that’s also really funny at how it all happens.

Like several plot elements in this story, it’s a short story that only lasts 2 chapters. But it was a nice story for the curse and made him feel like a much more interesting villain then last time when he premiered.

This leads into another one of my all time favorite Spawn stories, when Spawn meets a young comic collector who is bullied for this. Spawn is weak, his costume is going wild, and this child really brings a fun perspective to Spawn. It’s one of the sillier stories within the Spawn Comic, but it has a nice ending and I really enjoyed it.

The whole while a sub plot is building of Sam and Twitch trying to take down a top cop who is working for Wynn. While not the most interesting sub plot in the series, the climax of it gets really interesting and I personally enjoyed it more than the previous one of Spawn being the Mafia killer.

We start to see the connection Spawn has to nature, how the animals feed him energy, how the bugs and worms restore his rotting flesh, it’s a grotesque and weird plotline that never really seems to go anywhere. I never cared for it really, and the scenes with Spawn and the worms where really just meant to freak us out, which they never did.

Following Spawn’s slow recovery comes an attack from a second Angel, though unlike Angela, Tiffany isn’t as sweet on the Ol’ Hellspawn. Tiffany is young, inexperienced, ruthless. The perfect candidate of a warrior, and for a moment, she seems to do well, but it all comes down to victory and Spawn comes out on top.

What really bothered me about Tiffany is that she was a fairly strong and interesting character, but after her first defeat, we never heard from her again. At least I don’t believe we did, if we did, I can’t remember it. She was ripe with potential but she just ended up being forgotten as time moved on.

Spawn soon returns to New York, only to get criticized and berated by Cog. But what really stood out to me is the moment when Tony Twist pulls out one of his mob pals and kills him, only a few several feet from his home with his wife and infant child. It’s one of the more saddening moments that gripped me as a reader.

Following this is the reappearance of Tremor, who had a minor role at best in Volume 2. Here he gets a full story of himself and Spawn teaming up to take down Tony Twist. It’s high octane action at it’s best, as we get some great moments like Spawn deflecting bullets with his chains and other wicked scenes.

After this comes one of my least favorite stories through Spawn…when his costume starts using his body and acting up, then Cog has to come in and save the day. The first time around this happened, it had some massive potential, but it ended up being boring over interesting.

Luckily, the story bounces back fast with the revelation that Terry has cancer! A fairly big thing considering how important Terry has become to the Spawn mythos. While It doesn’t pull at your heart strings, it does make for an enjoyable point in the plot.

However, Spawn pays a price for what Terry’s Cancer problem leads to. I won’t spoil it, but Spawn ends up in Hell. And it makes for a great story with awesome moments. From the origin to Spawn’s symbiotic costume, to Spawn coming face to face with his former Master Malebolgia, it all makes for a great read with some awesome moments.

Following Spawn’s vacation to Hell, we get a moment that’s been building since the beginning of Spawn, Spawn confronting Terry. The sheer idea of this is great, but how McFarlane handles it, all the building rage and tension that is in Spawn’s mind, all there and then, makes for an incredible moment. Which leads to…one of the strangest cliff-hangers I’ve ever seen…I won’t spoil it but…it’s really weird.

Art Comments: Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo are both great, as you’d hope them to be, Capullo really reaches a strong level come end of the volume. Going strong from his final work in volume 2 his art is solid by the time he reaches volume 3.

But just as one artist gets strong with his work, we bring on Tony Daniel…who…in all fairness, does a competent job at least. While his work with Batman today is nothing short of amazing and great, his work on Spawn was…barely up to par compared to his work nowadays. While Capullo started out weak, he wasn’t quite this bad, Daniel just didn’t at all fit the tone of the Spawn comic.

Despite this, he does do a competent enough job, even if his art is a bit too weak for my liking.

Final comments: I enjoyed this volume so much more than the previous 2 volumes. Sure, those where both good and enjoyable reads, this volume really hits a high note and has some great and strong plot elements that makes it a Must Buy with it’s great reads. However, just as a lot of the plot points here where great, some of the ones that get picked up in Volume 4…fall flat. But you’ll have to wait a 2 weeks to hear all about that.

Must Buy.

It’s my birthday! Whoo. Celebrate. Now I’m posting this extra early in the morning since I’ll be busy with my party tomorrow…that and I am getting Sonic Chronicles tomorrow afternoon and once I get that, I doubt my eyes will leave my DS for days. Seriously, I’ve heard nothing but love for this game and can’t wait to pick it up tomorrow.

So anyway, yeah, happy birthday to me. 17 glorious years of chaos, violence, destruction and everything that makes life worth living, lets hope for 17 more.

Also, might not be able to post a Week’s End tomorrow or even Sunday. Can’t seem to find any good spoilers online so I don’t know what I’m missing. I guess I could just give the award to Batman since that’s the only book I know the whole issue of, but that wouldn’t be fair.

All right, now that I got that out of the way, I’m off to go try and get some sleep. Hope you enjoyed the Collection Spotlight, see you all soon. Also, remember, Marvel Zombies HC Spotlight on Sunday.

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