Spawn #155


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Spawn #155


  • Words: David Hine
  • Art: Philip Tan
  • Inks: Danny Miki, Allan Martinez, Ryan Winn, Crime Lab Studios
  • Colors: Brian Haberlin, Andy Troy
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Image Comics/McFarlane Productions
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Apr 26, 2006

Two new Hellspawn earn their ectoplasm, the most disturbing ending in recent comic history is displayed in all its gory glory, and Spawn vs. Kali!

Armageddon slithers ever closer and – in preparation for the main event – the highest of the high (we’re talking the heavenly choir, here) unleash their psychopathic sister Zera, whose psychosis manifests itself as a ravaging, unstoppable avatar-beast of war. She may tip the balance in heaven’s favor, or she may simply annihilate everything (but, hey, isn’t that what the apocalypse is all about, yo?). Meanwhile, our main-man Spawn – Al Simmons – is visited by the Man of Miracles, who relates to our hero critical information pertaining to his upcoming battle with the Hindu goddess of death, Kali. Meanwhile, meanwhile, two newly formed Hellspawn – Kumiko and Hiroshi – continue their trial-by-fire in battling the hordes of the undead awash across the earth, while meanwhile, meanwhile, meanwhile, the twins of Al’s ex-wife Wanda take part in a scene that begets the unreservedly grisliest, most disquieting final comic book image I’ve ever seen.

Spawn, in case you haven’t heard the news yet (what, you don’t like the internet? Shame on you! We rock!), is currently in the capable and competent hands of X-scribe David Hine (District X, The 198, Son of M) and heavens-ta’-Betsies, it shows. The story is epic and wonderfully ambitious; Hine incorporates the actual honest-to-God (pun intended) end of all things and he’s even begun to collate a solid and sensible, coherent universe for the Spawn mythos. God, the Malebolgia, Man of Miracles, angels, Hellspawn, Hindu goddesses, earth spirits, zombies – Hine suggests with this very issue that the plan is to unfurl a cosmos where all of these concepts can coexist and make consistent, fiction-logic sense, which is an attribute that Spawn, the comic book, has lacked from its very inception. Add to this a handful of new characters that Hine builds with affective, well-constructed conceits, plus a treatment of old characters that borders on sacrilegious (so, to tally, that’s complex continuity, epic action, character moments, and fodder for internet scandal), is there more that anyone can ask?

Concurrently, Philip Tan – the spanking new artist for the series – is delivering drop-dead glorious visuals. His work is ferociously sinister, heavily detailed but never murkily so, never to the point of being overwrought, which some of his earlier work (cough, Uncanny X-Men, cough) suffered from. Tan’s sudden growth from amateur-with-potential to mind-blowing, best-of-the-best professional could be attributed to a number of things: the dark, mythic subject matter within Spawn, which is far more suited to Tan’s style than standard spandex superhero fare, and also, during interviews with the artist, it has been said that, on Spawn, Tan has stauncher editorial support and a prodigious berth of creative freedom than he’s had the luxury of experiencing on any previous book. Additionally we have inker Danny Miki embellishing Tan’s lines and colorist Brian Haberlin painting with perfect, harmonious pitch the dark refulgence of Tan’s granular style – two well-considered artistic pairings, which is a luxury the artist did not have during his Big Two incipience. Put these three major factoids together and it’s elementary that the cause for such sudden, resplendent artwork is that a rising star has at last been unfettered from the shackles of industry hydrogen and allowed to go supernova.

My triumphant return to the Spawn comic book was with the previous issue (#154), after I had forsaken the series for half-a-decade following its somewhat conclusive #100. I was disappointed during that time; livid that the series had such a haphazard direction and emphatic lack of dramatic affectivity (not to mention for wielding the world-record for worst comic book pacing ever, and in a monthly sequential industry where pacing is every creator’s querulous struggle, that is truly a blow). Now that I have returned, I’m discovering that every old fault has been replaced by a new-found vitality, a strength to the storytelling and a fervency to the art that has, quite frankly, never been there before. Under the guidance of McFarlane (who is – so they say – co-plotting and artistically directing the current era of the book), David Hine, and Philip Tan, Spawn seems to be experiencing a permanent renaissance of stellar comic book storytelling. And, hoo-boy, after that final page, I cannot wait to find out what happens next!

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