Spawn #157


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Spawn #157


  • 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: Jun 28, 2006

Spawn continues its triumphant run with Hine and Tan at the helm, this latest issue bringing about the most shocking turn of all – the hunt for God, Himself!

Set loose by her angelic sisters in Heaven, Zera – the unstoppable warrior who claims to be the only being the lord God ever needed to have chained – single-handedly wipes out the Forgotten, the angel opposition to Jehovah’s decidedly controversial reign. With no further distraction to halt the angels from ushering in Armageddon across the face of the cosmos, Zera is charged with one final, necessary task before the armies of Heaven can readily undertake their besiegement of Hell: find their missing lord and master, the one and only biblical God! Meanwhile, Spawn is summoned to the side of his ex-wife and only love, Wanda, as she and her family suffer the maniacal tortures of her preternaturally unstoppable, two-year old twins! That’s right, it’s Al Simmons Spawn vs. two two-year olds in an all-out, knock-down, drag-out match that must be seen to be believed; and this brutal, ball-busting brawl climaxes with a jaw-dropping twist that suggests that Zera’s mission and Spawn’s plight are one and the same!

If the unwavering use of exclamation points in that last paragraph didn’t clue you in – I am loving me some Spawn right about now. The Armageddon plotline is ratcheting forward at a severely passionate speed, climbing in both intensity and complication with every passing issue – an absolute turnabout to the gradual, itinerant storytelling of the title’s past. Rising-star writer David Hine (X-Men: Civil War, Son of M) crafts a blistering epic on a truly cosmic scale, allowing for the personal and the small to coexist alongside the monumentally majestic, and he manages to make this dichotomy stick, to work as varying and equally important parts to a singular tale - a feat which hasn’t been successfully executed in a comic book since Starlin’s The Infinity Gauntlet (remember the issue where all the heroes of the entire Marvel U pile on Thanos? And then, after they all fail, the issue following wherein all the cosmological archetypes of the universe do the same? How ungodly cool was that?!? Well, this story is giving me the same warm fuzzy deep in the cockles of my now adrenaline-pumped heart).

Furthermore, Philip Tan is as brilliant a cohort in crime for Spawn as Ron Lim and George Perez were for that aforementioned Marvel crossover: his work is encrusted with lean, roving lines of black menace, as if the shadows he generates were in fact maggots wriggling across the flesh of the recently deceased carcasses he calls his characters. His Hellspawn, as you might then guess, are near perfect in design and execution, though his angels, demons, gods, and even regular ol’ humans are all equally fashioned with the outstanding and wonderfully apt appearance of grizzled characters cocooned in the despair of facing true devastation. This is how the world looks in the advent of its coming end – decayed, dying, and filled with horror. The action is gory and terrible; the supernatural sequences, even those depicting the regal and the heavenly, are of a soiled quality, grit and devastation proliferating the edges of even the highest of the high. In every scene, on every page, within each and every panel, the aesthetic of doom and destruction and of the slow rotting of the universe itself is masterfully presented.

I have been hyping this series for the last three months, and I’m not sure what more I can say, as it just isn’t faltering – not even for an issue – from the ridiculously high bar it set itself since the new creative team began this marvelous arc. Armageddon is coming to the Spawn universe, and, as a matter of chronological course, The Rapture is right around the corner (next issue!) to kick this epic into no-turning-back highest of high gears. The writing is superb; the art is on par with Ultimates and Civil War, and the story is just as continuity-shattering important as either of those fan-favorite titles. One comic, one issue per month, all the grandiosity of the major summer crossovers, and it’s been on time for over half a year now with no signs of slowing. Spawn #157 has convinced me that this book is the comeback of the year, if not of the decade!

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