Spawn 301 Review – Road to 400

Introduction

After the insanity of 300, is Spawn 301 any good? We made it to 300 and survived. Barely, but here we are on the other side. Is it too early to start the countdown to 400? Well, if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. Chris and I have texted a few times over the past few months about how fresh the book still feels after over 20 years under more or less strictly Uncle Todd’s control.

I’m not sure that last sentence is grammatically correct. Or, even proper English. But, it does get to my next point quite nicely. Spawn 300 promises a new beginning for the character. I haven’t read all of the intervening books, but I imagine that after so much time and so many issues, there have been other “new beginnings” for our Hellspawn. I’m pretty sure that Al wasn’t Spawn for a while in the 100s or 200s, but I’m not positive.

What makes this one different is (a) I’m here to witness it and (b) I’m all in for it. I loved the story that they started in 300. 301 picks up where that one leaves off and sets the stage for the future quite nicely. Let’s start that countdown and talk some about Spawn 301.

The Decent (Who is this ninja and JSA’s art is improving)

Who the heck is this ninja? The final pages in both 300 and 301 have told the story of a Ninja or Shinobi (does that just mean ninja?) or Samurai or something. I’m not sure of the official title of the character, but it has been an intriguing little vignette. Can’t wait to see how it fits into the greater story.

Jason Shawn Alexander I’ve been critical of his art for much of his run. I did enjoy the aesthetic for the Dark Horror storyline as it added to the overall creep factor. However, as Chris said, getting to have Greg Capullo back on the title for a limited run has shown just how starkly JSA differs from that. It’s just not the art that I grew up with. With that being said, it’s still not the same, but it has been getting better in these issues. I hope that continues.

The Good (Spawn has an army and that cover is sweet)

That Cover Tho The actual cover of the issue is pretty nice. What makes it more so is in the background is a shadow of the first issue’s cover. I thought that was a nice touch since they seem to be bringing back what makes Spawn great.

The Spawn Army This new Spawn looks an awful like the old Spawn. He’s raiding military installations for the weapons. He’s converting old villains into allies. It’s good that somethings might change, but what’s old is always going to end up being new again eventually.

The Great (Capullo! and the new story!)

Greg Capullo Chris texted me that he was ruined for any other artist on Spawn after seeing Greg Capullo’s art in Spawn 300. While I’m just as much a fan as anyone, I’m going to take the optimists approach on the art as you read earlier. It’s not the exact same, but as long as the story is strong, I will tolerate the art. Still good to see Greg Capullo back on the book I discovered him.

Here for this story I’ve already talked a little bit about how the story is being rebooted (or reimagined (or reinvented( or whatever))) starting with issue 300. Also, as I just insinuated in the last section, it looks an awful lot like the old Spawn. One thing that I wrote here is that it is reminiscent of Buffy, too. I forgot what I meant, but it is just that Spawn sacrificed himself and it looks like he unleashed his power into others similar to how Buffy woke up all the slayers. This is going to be fun.

The Verdict

Just like the other things from my youth that have come back in slightly newer variations, Spawn 300 and Spawn 301 are a welcome and comforting presence in a sometimes scary world. I can’t wait to see how things progress going forward and we only have 99 more issues until #400! See you in 10 years!

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