Not your same old Hellspawn
Spawn 178 by David Hine and Brian Haberlin
Something like 15-20 years ago, a ton of people my age were flocking to their comic shops. There was a huge explosion of books that people thought were going to be worth a trillion dollars in ten years. There was the launch of X-Men #1 by Jim Lee, X-Force by Rob Liefeld, the Death of Superman. Shortly after that, there was the launch of Image Comics, which saw the best creators from Marvel jump ship and start their own company. That brought us titles like WildC.A.T.S, Savage Dragon, Youngblood and a whole bunch of others. Those were basically clones of the books that the creators were working on over at Marvel, and those clones ending up getting clones of their own. One of the titles that stood out, though, was Spawn. Readers were fascinated with the assassinated soldier turned hellborne warrior.
I mostly liked it because of the pretty pictures. The concept was fairly unique, but I found that the execution was pretty much like everything else. Spawn, who had all these amazing abilities, just spent most of his time being depressed and getting into superhero battles. He fought a huge cyborg guy (Overtkill) and a giant monkey (Cy-Gor). I'm over-simplifying, of course, but it just didn't seem like they were reaching for the full potential of the stories that could have been told. That's like getting a bad-ass Alienware-type computer and using it to run Tetris.
That has changed in recent years, particularly since Todd McFarlane handed the creative reigns to David Hine. Now, if you're not familiar with David Hine (which I'm guessing most of you aren't), you need to check out his series, Strange Embrace. Now that was out there.
Hine has been really expanding on the mythos behind Spawn and revealing a lot of Al Simmons' history. And now, I think the book is where it should be. It's dark, not just on a superficial level. By that, I mean that it used to be a book that was pretending to be dark. Now it's dealing with true evil: humanity. Whoah.
Actually, I made that sound a lot more somber than it is. No, I don't think that humanity sucks and is capable of nothing. What I'm saying is that the book explores how evil we can be in the wrong circumstances. Back in the day, we thought that Al Simmons was just a bad-ass assassin and he got shafted when he was killed. We've recently discovered that he wasn't exactly a nice guy.
The people that Spawn has been encountering are also as disturbing as quad-laser ceiling cat. In the last arc, there was this kid living in a bubble. Due to some previous events, he ended up able to send corporeal psychic projections outside of his bubble. Now, if I could do that, I would sneak into government facilities and steal secrets to sell to rival countries. Or maybe pay a visit to the set of Watchmen and watch some of the filming. Or maybe pop up in the Krispy Kreme Kitchen. Hmm... donuts.
But this kid used that awesome ability to kill some contestants that won some art contest that he entered. That's beyond vindictive, it's just childish. What a damn waste. At least do the obvious and use it to check out some chicks. I mean, seriously, if you had that power, how would you use it?
This particular issue is a stand-alone story, so it's a good jumping-on point for people that haven't been reading the book. It sets up some pretty cool that gets you interested for the next issue and beyond. There's plenty of blood and gore for those are into that sort of thing. There's also some vampire ancestor thing and an MMA fight between a cupcake and shell pasta. No, wait, the MMA fight was me playing with my dinner last night, so scratch that part.
Who should read this book:
People who enjoyed Spawn back in the day.
People who want something beyond standard superhero fare.
People who are not allergic to Kryptonite.