Script: Todd McFarlane
Art: Jason Shawn Alexander, Todd McFarlane
Plot: Todd McFarlane, Jon Goff
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Colors: Peter Steigerwald
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina
Publisher: Image Comics
Francesco Mattina is back, baby! But first things first. The celebratory 300th Spawn issue extravaganza comes to an end. Throughout the last issues, we saw a lot of new characters, themes, and other stuff introduced. The previous issue was a bit of a downer after all the hype. Some ideas looked and felt very outdated, and it seemed as if the bold new era was nothing else but hot air and went straight back to the ’90s. Therefore, the beginning of the new arc “Hell Hunt” was a mixed bag. But this issue feels different, right from the get-go.
Cover A is, once again, drawn by the master himself: Francesco Mattina. Did I mention that I love his Spawn covers? I could talk about his series of covers (which started somewhere around Issue #283) for hours — comparing them, analyzing them, and writing a fan fiction story to connect all those magnificent ideas which lie underneath their surface. Just look at the cover of the current Spawn iteration; it quite literally screams at the reader.
The white background always adds a surreal touch to those kinds of covers. Then we have the one panel at the center, bats flying through the air. What is that? An homage to the Image logo? Probably. But also a window to another world–worlds Al opened up when he released all the energy a couple of issues ago. Do we have a Spawn multiverse, and that is why all those different Spawn-creatures crawl into our world? What other things and monsters have been released in that one moment when many worlds connected for a brief moment and became one?
The background alone tells us one hell of a story, but what about Spawn? He kneels on the floor. Spikes come out from all kinds of body parts. He screams, necroplasm drools and evaporates from his body. The necroplasm on the floor, as well as parts of the costume, feel like acid. Smoke can be found all over the scene, and the goo destroys his face. What is Al fighting? His costume? Has something infiltrated/poisoned his it?
This cover is another impressive addition to the Spawn library. Well done, Mr. Mattina.
Another thing that fascinates me about those covers is the fact that all the themes of the story can also be found within this one page. Slowly McFarlane introduces Al and us to the new, opened-up Spawn universe. The slow pacing of the story fits the current situation perfectly. First, he meets Jessica Priest (again) and learns of her new powers. Powers he allegedly planted within various people all around the globe (nice retcon, by the way). I will not go into detail here, but this might get very interesting very quickly. Let’s see where the story goes.
We also get a glimpse at other players’ strategies and what they have been up to — another excellent example of how a Spawn can be captured on the page. Jason Shawn Alexander is a beast, and I love everything about his artwork. And speaking of artwork, I also quite like the double-page spreads of the Spawn-Power-Meter. The design and bright green color have a hypnotizing experience.
One thing I found to be a little strange within the story was Al himself. He was a bit too quiet and passive in this issue. For a lot of months, we watched him being active, doing things, and threatening people. Now he barely says a word, which seems a bit off.
Finally, we get two backstories at the end of this issue — both with very different vibes. I am a bit concerned, but also intrigued. As I said, let’s see where the story takes us. That’s it for now; have fun reading this newest issue of Spawn!