Thursday, September 22, 2022

#IReadsYou Review: KING SPAWN #2


STORY: Sean Lewis with Todd McFarlane (additional dialogue)
PENCILS: Javi Fernandez
COLORS: FCO Plascencia
LETTERS: Andworld Design
EDITOR: Thomas Healy
COVER:  Don Aguillo
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Todd McFarlane with FCO Plascencia; Javi Fernandez
56pp, Color, $5.99 U.S. (September 2021)

Rated: “T/ Teen”

Spawn created by Todd McFarlane

Spawn is a superhero/antihero character that stars in the long-running comic book series, Spawn.  Created by writer-artist Todd McFarlane, Spawn first appeared in Spawn #1 (cover dated: May 1992).

Spawn was Albert Francis “Al” Simmons.  A career military man who becomes a highly capable assassin and dies a violent death.  He makes a deal with the devil, Malebolgia, in order to return to the living realm to see his wife one last time.  However, Al returns with almost no memories accept that his name is Al Simmons, and he learns that he is now a “Hellspawn” in service of Malebolgia.  Rebelling, Al Simmons, now “Spawn,” finds a new purpose in stopping evil.

Back in February (2021), Todd McFarlane announced his plans to build a larger, multi-character, interconnected, comic book universe based around his Spawn comic book – a “Spawn Universe.”  McFarlane also announced four new comic book titles coming out in 2021, with three of them continuing as regular monthly titles.  The first of the three titles, King Spawn, has arrived.

King Spawn is written by Sean Lewis with Todd McFarlane; drawn by Javi Fernandez; colored by FCO Plascencia; lettered by Andworld Design.  King Spawn finds Spawn battling one of his old adversaries, but it is someone only Spawn knows that exists.  And that someone want to make Spawn a king.

King Spawn #2 opens in the wake of a bombing at an elementary school in Seattle, Washington.  The bombing killed sixteen people, including fourteen children, aged five and six years old.  An underground religious group, “Psalms 137,” seem to be the culprits behind this attack, but what do they really want – beyond killing more children or “innocents?”

Al Simmons is filled with rage because he knows that someone is slaughtering children in order to draw Spawn out into the open.  He is so angry that he even calls upon a former friend to help him, but he does not want  his current crew helping him, which includes Jessica Priest, the newly minted “She-Spawn.”  However, there is an even darker reunion afoot.  One of Spawn earliest and most despicable adversaries returns, as a showdown in Washington, D.C. looms.

THE LOWDOWN:  I mentioned in my review of the first issue of King Spawn that I read Spawn #1 back in 1992, and while I had mixed feelings about it, I found myself following the series.  I was a dedicated reader and followed the series for another five or six years.

King Spawn #1 was the first time I read a Spawn first issue since I read Curse of the Spawn #1 back in 1996.  I guess I was waiting for the return of the king because after reading this second issue, I can say that King Spawn is fucking awesome.  Hell, no!  I'm not going to use the phrase, “freaking awesome,” when I know that King Spawn is “fucking awesome.”  Bitch, please! dear readers.  I'm keeping it real for your hard earned money.

Writer Sean Lewis has taken the inspired madness and crazy potential of those early years of the original Spawn and used that to turn King Spawn into a must-read.  Lewis' script for the second issue has taken Al Simmons from one angry man to one crazily vengeful man.  Lewis has also made Spawn something like the best of Frank Miller's Batman of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and of Steven Grant's The Punisher of the 1980s.

I love Javi Fernandez's art.  His graphical storytelling shares a sensibility with McFarlane's, which was more dark fantasy than vigilante fiction.  Fernandez's balances his art with both a clear-line style and with heavy textures, which makes for a fuller and richer story.  The darkness and the violent action explode off the page, but the character drama is equally forceful.

FCO Plascencia's Hell-spawned hues allow the story to operate under multiple moods and atmospheres which convey the shifting realities of the story.  Meanwhile Andworld Design's quiet lettering imparts the action and drama with a steady beat that carries the imagination through this narrative.

I heartily recommend King Spawn.  It has activated me to find my way back to the original Spawn series and to prepare for the upcoming new Spawn titles.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Spawn will want to read King Spawn.

[This comic book includes “Spawning Ground” Presents “The Breakdown,” which features an interview with Javi Fernandez.]

★★★★+ out of 4 stars

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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