Friday, October 17, 2008

Collection Spotlight: Spawn Collection volume 4

Not even Halloween can detour the epic Spawn Collection Spotlight. Now I know last time I was much more loving to the Spawn franchise. That’s mainly because volume 3 was a great middle ground; it had a good balance of its own stories without being held down too much by previous plots. But unfortunately, that’s where volume 4 sorely gets hit in the face.

Written: Todd McFarlane and Brian Holguin

Art: Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo

Volume 4 awkwardly opens with Terry and Spawn “hanging out” in his little hell-hole. Spawn spends his time on his laptop looking up all of what Jason Wynn has been up to these last few years he’s been gone. Nothing too good of an opener really and it sets a fairly boring tone.

While I know that interaction between Terry and Spawn is important and that it’s something we’ve all been waiting for…These guys just seem so fast to jump on the Buddy train. Though things soon go from Hugs and Love to hate and Shouts.

I don’t mind the Spawn/Terry team up to take down Wynn, in the end, its fine and I can live with it, I just found it to be a boring uninteresting story really.

Following this we’re introduced to some old guy who Jason Wynn screwed up. He compares Wynn to Genghis Kahn and reflects on how he killed his family…or something like that. I’m never sure as it’s a rather odd and messy story. It all leads up to Spawn breaking him out of prison. Definitely a weak moment for this volume.

One thing building here is the team up of Jason Wynn and the Clown. Now we saw this in the Spawn animation and Movie…but in the comics, it doesn’t carry as much weight and half the time I skim over this it drags on for so damn long. I know that every comic has its long dialog moments, but sweet Jesus; it drags on and on and on.

After this, Cy-Gor strikes! Yes, the Cy-Gor fight that we’ve been building up to since mid-Volume 3 finally arrives…and it’s a complete and utter bore. How does Spawn win? Simple, he shoves worms up Cy-Gor’s nose then he disappears. I don’t want to sound overly cynical, but that was such a major waste of what could have been a very epic battle. Add in Spawn’s personal attachment to the man who once was a friend of Al Simmons now being the brain in Cy-Gor, and this had major potential. But really, it just ended up being a major waste.

Picking up from that we get back to the kids that Spawn tried to help back in Volume 2. You know the ones with the abusive father. I wasn’t going to spoil it, but due to a…*cough* Mishap with the father getting shot by the older son, the children are now on the run. They meet up with a bad crowd when in New York, looking for Spawn. We see the typical anti-drug add kids as they “go bad.”

When they do meet up with Spawn, it’s a nice reunion, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. The kids just end up leaving after Spawn kills the drug dealer they where working for. Kind of a funny moment, as by now the thrown is no longer made out of garbage but dead bodies.

Following this, just to mess with Spawn, Clown kidnaps Cyan. While they to go with a suspenseful “Oh no, don’t hurt her” story, we all know Spawn is going to kick ass and save the day here. It’s a fine story but rather boring and it builds little to no tension compared to previous ones have been able to.

After a bit of bore, Spawn meets back up with Granny. Really, these moments between Spawn and Granny are easily some of the best moments of the series as I always enjoy their interactions, and the moments here are no different. Just as good momentum builds from this great moment, we get the “revelation” that Chapel didn’t’ really kill Spawn. Oh no, it was that random bitch from the movie.

Yeah, remember her? Short red hair? Yeah, McFarlane thought it would be fun to replace Chapel, an understandable badass, with this random idiot. I know Rob Liefield didn’t want Chapel to be that rooted to Spawn, but still…what a cheap cop out.

Things finally pick up again when Angela shows up. First off, let me make a formal and bit THANK YOU to Mr. Neil Gaiman.


Thank you for not messing up the entire Spawn Collection by allowing Angela into volume 4 and 6, both which involve her in important stories.

All right, now that we got that out of the way…Angela shows up, and as always, she’s great. Though we don’t get much of her, what moments we do get are enjoyable enough to make me smile and remember why I liked the character so much: she and Spawn’s interactions are priceless and great.

Following from that, we soon get a moment where Spawn gets his face back. Yes, that’s right, his natural face. The face of Al Simmons. Now Spawn comes to the conclusion to go to Wanda, but…for some strange reason…attacks Wynn.

Now call me crazy, but if I got my face back, I would figure “Gee, this may not be permanent, might wanna use this while I still can!” and not go off to kick my old bosses ass. Where Spawn gets off thinking this was a good idea just baffles me and I feel the only reason this decision was made so that when Spawn does go to see Wanda, his face is back to its hamburger helper look.

Throughout the volume is the building plot of Sam and Twitch learning of who Spawn is and what he is about. This leads to one of the more boring parts to this volume, where Cog sums up the story so far of Spawn. This was obviously a comic issue made for New Readers to jump on and is in no way must read for anyone who’s been reading Spawn, so you can easily gloss over this.

After we get more boring head talk, something finally interesting happens in the form of homeless people rallying around the Freak to kill Spawn. We get some nice moments like what happens when people’s faith collides and this story is treated with far more respect and intrigue than most of the stories in this volume.

The story also answers the questions “What if Spawn gets his brains blown out?” well they grow back of course! With a little help from Sam and Twitch, that is. After that somewhat enjoyable story with good moments, we continue a good streak with vampires. Seriously, vampires. We find out that Vampires are sided with Heaven really and that Bootsie is actually an Angel. It’s an all right story again, nothing special really, but I did like the reveal of Vampires being on the side of Heaven. There’s something no one saw coming.

The volume concludes with Spawn taking on the Heap as well as going to Greenworld. The introduction to Green world was great, and this was the start of Brian Holguin on Spawn so credit to him is due for this enjoyable ending of the volume. While most of the volume I was fairly bored with or just not as entertained as previously, the ending was pretty good.

Art comments: I hate to recycle comments…I really do…but what else is there to say about McFarlane and Capullo’s art that hasn’t already been said? The detail is there the great storytelling is solid and the character work is great as always. If you’ve seen it before, you know what to see now.

Final comments: I know I was pretty hard on volume 4, but in all fairness, that’s what happens when you’ve got a middle ground like this. It gets bogged down with previous stories and tying up those loose ends while trying to start it’s own new stories to be carried on in the next volume. While I may not like Volume 4 as much as the other volumes, the only way I figure you would want to buy it is if you’re already buying the series. Otherwise, I wasn’t very impressed with it.

Pass It.

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