Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spawn #185 reviewed!

Welcome to a very special post here at New Age Comics, the long awaited Spawn #185 reviewed! Now I’ve expressed my excitement quite a bit over the months, going all the way back to past #2 here, my first official post outside of the introduction post back in July. For those who haven’t seen them and are interested, here’s a link to them.

My first thoughts on Spawn: Endgame

What I hope to see come Endgame.

Now that we’ve got those out of the way, it’s time for the long awaited issue to be reviewed. An issue so epically anticipated it gets its own post to itself. Now don’t think this is the only I’ve picked up from these last few weeks, those will still be reviewed…but I’ll go into that come end of the review. Now, let’s load those guns because it’s time to review!

Spawn #185

Written: Todd McFarlane and Brian Holguin

Art: Whilce Portacio

Opening Comments: Rarely is any comic outside of Marvel or DC this incredibly well hyped to the point where it reaches the guys like IGN or CBR. McFarlane obviously has some serious confidence in this reboot/continuation. It takes a lot of guts to hype something up so much without fear of alienating readers when they do read it, and it’s not what they where expecting.

But lucky for me, I’m a long time fan and was prepared to either be astounded, or disappointed. While Spawn #185 is a good read and has some wicked art, it doesn’t quite take away the pain of losing David Hine and Brian Holguin, but still, like all healing sessions, it’s a good start.

Story comments: Warning ahead for all of you who don’t want it to be spoiled, to make this review as thorough as I can, I’m going to delve into some key points through the issue. Including the cliff-hanger, so if you don’t want to be spoiled then avert your eyes and run.

The opening pages, as we’ve already seen from an IGN preview weeks ago, continue where #184 left off with Al Simmons ending his trek through Hell. How long it’s been since he started his long walk, we don’t know. And I for one was hoping for some clarity on that side of the story. How long has it been? A day? An hour? A year? It’s nothing important; I just would have liked to know. Clarification would have been nice you know, though it doesn’t ruin the comic.

Spawn does some flash of light and we cut to some hospital patient waking up for the first time in what we’ve established as many years. The sudden change is a little odd, but to be expected with a huge blast then cut moment, and doesn’t reflect similar changes in scenes such as what we’ve seen from Dan Slott in the previous Amazing Spider-man storyline, New Ways to Die.

Following this is a look into some slight back story to patient 47. Since a name has yet to be established for him, we will simply call him 47, or patient 47, for now. Going off of immediate speculation, judging by some of the previews and sketches we’ve seen over the last few months, it’s safe to speculate that 47 will become the next Spawn. That long with his ability to see demons is another nice little hint.

The character himself has little added here other than he’s some kind of important man, the doctors want to study him and some mysterious man in the shadows is interested in him. So interested that he makes a man kill himself for being tied to Patient 47…well it’s Spawn so I can follow.

Let us jump a bit to the end, because honestly, it’s where the real meat of this issue is as far as interesting and good moments are concerned. We see long time Spawn nemesis Violator back in all his fat clown glory. While I mean no offense to Mr. Haberlin’s depictions of Violator in the opening story of the previous direction of Spawn, Violator looks so much better here. He also sounds much more like himself, though with McFarlane back, that is only natural.

Honestly, I could consider him the Joker of Image Comics in that every line from this guy is priceless and great. Todd McFarlane created him so it only makes sense that, though we only get 3 pages of him talking, it’s great. If anything I’d say pick this issue up to see Violator being Violator, going on to him in usual fashion.

The final page of course needs to be talked about, how could I not bring it up? It is the main “shocking everything changes moment” of the issue in that Spawn seems to have beheaded himself. As Violator points at, they are in a Dead Zone that was not supposed to be there and he is impressed that Spawn “finally did it” as we see the bloody headless corpse of our former protagonist.

To sum it all up as far as the storyline is concerned, it is a solid blend of reboot, where new readers could very well jump on and check it out. Which I highly recommend as anyone who is interested will probably be drawn in, and contains some nice continuation from previous established stories such as mention of Dead Zones. While it all feels like a bunch of “here’s this, now wait a few issues to find what it all means” it isn’t the typical starter issue either and that is an undeniable plus.

However, we still don’t know all of what we where promised we would find out and it seems like there is still a lot more to Endgame then 185 could hold. It’s obvious that Spawn fans are in for a wild ride with Endgame and if anything, this looks to be a great start for what could be a great story.

Art Comments: Whilce Portacio is more of a return to the 90’s era of art that Spawn well reflects that was shaken up come Brian Haberlin. I should also note Jin Han, the book’s new colorist. The two make a dynamic team and McFarlane does a good job on adding with the inking of this issue. Overall, the look is stylish, somewhat colorful but nicely dark when it needs to be and really looks great.

But in all honesty, the thing I have to point out most of all is Violator. Portacio makes a return to the classic look of the fat clown/reptilian demon and it looks great. With promises that Violator will be a strong player in Endgame, I am excited to see more of what Mr. Portacio brings out as Endgame unfolds.

Final Comments: This may not be for everybody, as it follows the typical set everything up formula and wait for it to unfold, as other comics such as Amazing Spider-man and Invincible are doing right now. But unlike those books, Spawn feels like one solid story and this is a great opening chapter. Maybe I’m a tad biased by how big of a fan I am of the series, and how great it is to have Todd and Brian back in the writer’s chairs, and Portacio’s incredible art but either way I can’t deny that I myself loved this issue and was incredibly impressed. Though I’ll say this, to be fair, if it weren’t for the incredible art this would just get a Must Read, but with art that fits the storyline so well I can’t tell you not to buy this incredible comic.

5 out of 5

Must Have

My apologies for this being later in the evening, I could not get to the comic store today and had a friend pick this up for me since she was working in the downtown area for a while.

Now as I mentioned earlier I will be reviewing the comics of these last couple of weeks still. Invincible, Secret Invasion, etc. but with a new twist, Open Fire! Reviews. A new “quick shot” style of reviewing where I ditch the fancy talk and write it more as a paragraph or two. It won’t be a regular thing but it will help for when I have too many comics to review and not enough time to go extensive on all of them.

So that’s it for now, I hope you enjoyed my review of Spawn #185.

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