Writer: David Hine
Artist: Brian Haberlin
Publisher: Image Comics
Martijn Form: This issue concludes the three part story arc that ushers in a new area in the grand saga of Spawn. With issue #166 headmaster Todd McFarlane wiped the slate clean to explore a new direction, and I donít know what you think Chris, but for me it's so far so good.
Chris Murman: Well, I've said this in numerous reviews, but this is a direction few expected with this title. Horror is the game, and David Hine is playing it very well. With this issue, however...I was a little confused with the direction. It turns out Clown came and went with a whimper instead of a boom. Were you confused by how this book ended at all sir?
Form: Confused? Hell (spawn) yeah! Especially with the line "Well done Spawn. Well done, my good and faithful servant." By the way, not to spoil the last page for you readers, I will not tell who said this, but I donít think the Clown went with a whimper. I believe Hine's new direction is also to tune down the extravagant action scenes that were a trade mark of this series. The one who slashed The Clown down was a nice twist to the story. I do have to say that Iím still adjusting to the new art style. Spawn has always been about wicked, exuberant and over the top art work for which you can only have the highest admiration. You could almost count every hair in someone's ear or the nail cracks in a chopped off finger. No freaky panel placements or extreme angles. Here though artist Brian Haberlin is getting back to basics.
Murman: Not sure if that meant you loved it or hated it. For my money, I'd say I'm actually impressed with how this book looks so far.
Form: Well, the change in art is a nice change of pace. The mood is definitely right. I feel they use a hint of Alex Maleev's color palette, which I like very much. But Greg Capullo is still my favorite Spawn artist.
Murman: There are a few things that are so customary, it's been a challenge to adjust to though. I'm not used to Twitch's new moustache, or Sam's slimmer, younger look. Clown's design came out of left field, and I didn't even recognize Mammon. While the adjustments are most likely the norm for most readers, I'm still happy with Hab's pencils. It definitely fits the mood.
Form: I have to be honest; Spawn is not my favourite character in this series. Iím addicted to Sam and Twitch, so itís always a treat for me to see the two working their way into a Spawn story. I will say I'm a bit disappointed with the new design Brian Haberlin created for Sam and Twitch as well. To me Sam is a lazy, fat bastard who doesnít know where the shower is. And Twitch is a strange nerd that, if he wasnít a cop, he probably would be a psychopath. They are drawn way too sweet for my taste.
Murman: Exactly my point. So what say you about the story arc itself? Obviously, Clown was just a pawn in the game Mammon was revealed to be playing, but what game is it? I thought with God and Satan being banished to another plane of reality, Spawn was head honcho now. What in the world is Hell still doing around?
Form: The "Armageddon" arc established that there is no Heaven or Hell, only Creative and Destructive powers. Maybe that is what happening here?
Murman: Man, I don't know. I still have the feeling that things are on a more supernatural-type level as opposed to super hero. I agree with you. I'm just not sure how I feel about this new twist. It's almost like wanting to have your cake and eat it too. Are we dealing with eternal consequences or are we just going for all out creepy hysteria?
Form: I say let the Mayhem begin!
Murman: I foresaw this new world that Al created to be something that didn't include the afterlife. No God, no Satan, no Heaven or Hell. I realize Spawn didn't really want to change much about the world, but I do remember him saying to the Man of Miracles that he didn't want any eternal consequences for humans. They would live, die, and decide their own fate. What say you, Mart?
Form: It puzzles me too. Ha Ha. But thatís a good thing because it keeps you wanting to read more of the book. Besides that, I think we have to keep in mind what Al/Spawn is. Just to sum it up, he is human, dead and a creature for Hell made from sticky-green-stuff. So Chris do you see anything in there that resembles the word God? Only a God can create a new world in my mind. Is Spawn really capable of creating new life?
Murman: There was a panel where Clown transformed into the Violator again and took a bite out of Al. He proclaimed, "Power of a God, my ass!" That says to me that others around Spawn know what happened with the world, and it's not everything we thought it was. I know in issues #163 and #164 he created life, because he brought everyone back from the dead. Is that power gone now? Who knows.
Form: Well maybe Twitch knows? But Sam, he is just looking for the South Beach diet.
Murman: So in what direction do you see this headed? Will we see more battles between angels and demons again? Will Spawn have to retake his "super hero" mantle that he was first given by McFarlane years ago? Will Clown be back? I find myself with more questions than answers after reading this issue. That, in no way, is a bad thing either.
Form: I think looking at the sales numbers, they will stay with this and not redo McFarlane's "Super hero" anytime soon. Iím definitely into Spawn again.
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