Writer: Todd McFarlane
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Publisher: Image Comics
There’s an uneasiness in the air. It’s undeniable. There is worry everywhere. We feel it every time we turn on a news channel. Some way, some how, we feel as though we’re being lied to. We are living in the era of fake news and like many eras before it, we have comics to parallel real life and bring things up to question. Todd McFarlane touches on trust and the powers that be in a dark and twisted way that only the Toddfather knows how. In the current issues of Spawn, McFarlane simply poses the question: are you asking the right questions?
Quick backstory on Spawn:
Lt. Colonel Albert Simmons - USMC, CIA Operative
Killed in Action, Assassinated by team member
Sold soul to Malebolgia, became Hellspawn General destined to lead hell’s army.
Sold soul to return to love of life, Wanda.
Returned years after his death, only to find his wife married to his best friend, with child.
Returned as dead body armed with a living suit and cape.
Broods more than Batman.
A lot has changed from his early origin days as the resident of the deepest, darkest alley in his city.
Lt. Colonel Al Simmons is on a warpath fueled by revenge. Not that he wasn’t on a warpath before, now it’s with focus. Caught up in a millennia old war between Heaven and Hell, Spawn has always waged his war in the shadows. His hidden war for the souls of man was always done in secret and never brought to light. Not until someone decides to murder Wanda.
Now, hellbent on finally ending the war between both sides, Spawn sets out on a campaign to liberate human souls from the rule of the two greedy kingdoms of Heaven & Hell. Now, if you don’t know Spawn Lore, Heaven & Hell have basically interwoven themselves into pretty much every tier of social class, controlling pretty much all aspect of Earthly life. Spawn’s weapon against their tyranny: weaponizing the media. He decides to expose himself. Expose the cover up of his death. Expose the existence of the ancient War itself.
After an impromptu meeting with the Commander-in-Chief (easily identifiable by his trademark hair and physique) and unmasking himself before a battle with an angel in front of the White House, Al Simmons begins his attack on the war. He begins to do interviews with new channels and tells the American public that they’ve been lied to. The opinions of the people are presented to us in panels featuring news channels of all political stances, showing us the uneasiness grow as the stock market plummets. This sends the forces of Heaven & Hell into a frenzy, trying to respond without exposing themselves. They target Marc Rosen, a page writer for the local newspaper. Luring Rosen under the guise of Federal Agents, they question him on the whereabouts of Spawn. The interrogation is interrupted by our dark and broody hellspawn and the battle leads us to a cliffhanger action splash of our anti-hero in full blown attack mode.
Jason Shawn Alexander has been absolutely killing it since his start as the artist of Spawn #276. The gritty, drippy and graphic art style seems like a match made in hell. His visualization of McFarlane’s characters are so beautifully nightmarish, I forget that I’m reading a comic and reading the Necronomicon. What i love most about it is it’s level of darkness. The black empty space of some panels are so contrast with his style and use of color that you could almost feel some thing is there, lurking in the shadows.
The parallel that McFarlane chooses here is a one. The polarized political climate has bombarded us with so much information that the line between fact and fiction begin to blur. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you hold you beliefs, now more than ever, we are exposed to half-truths fabricated to favor someone’s political and/or economical agenda.
In the world of Spawn, that someone is more then likely an agent of Angels or Devils.
The build-up for Spawn #300 is real. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this kind of excitement forming around a Spawn comic. This issue’s building is yet another step forward in creating that hype. The set-up for the big issue has been a long time coming and McFarlane has recruited and old friend and a heavy hitter in comics to back him up. The anticipation for Capullo’s return and a Spawn story co-written by Scott Snyder has the comic world abuzz.