After the audio issue in the last episode, we decided to get together and record in person this time. Other than the gain on the microphone being a bit low while recording (easily remedied), everything came out much better. Enjoy 2 Guys Get Spooky.
First, we talk about childhood trauma related to horror movies. Then, we discuss a few other franchises before moving on to our favorite horror movie of all time. We both agree that it is Shaun of the Dead.
There’s a brief talk about television shows, mainly the Walking Dead. We both agree that the show never was that good and we even lost faith in the comic. But, Chris mentions some other comics that he likes in the horror genre. I never read many horror comics, so I let him take the wheel in this segment.
Finally, we talk about video games. Chris tells a story from when he first saw me playing Fatal Frame. We both think it is probably the scariest game out there. Chris hates Resident Evil much more than I do, so I let him get that out of his system.
Finally, we wrap up with the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror. No matter how much you think the Simpsons sucks now, the Halloween episode never disappoints. Thanks for listening to 2 Guys Get Spooky and we’ll talk to you again in a few weeks to discuss the new Ixalan set from Magic the Gathering.
Usually, we lead off comics week every month with independent comics. Then, we move on to DC and finish the week with Marvel. Sometimes, we set aside an article for a landmark issue. This week, things look very different for two reasons. First, DC released their Knight Terrors event. Therefore, I received about 50 DC books this month. I also forgot to order most of the number 2 issues from next month. So, I still start this week with July 2023 independent comics.
However, because of the ordering SNAFU, Marvel Comics comes on Tuesday. Then, we travel to Cape Cod for our annual trip on Wednesday and come back next week. So, because of both of these reasons, DC Comics this month and next will probably be reviewed in two parts next month after I go to the local comic store to pick up the second issues.
Gunslinger Spawn #22
Script/Plot: Uncle Todd, Art: Brett Booth. In my introduction to the book last month, Gunslinger brought dinosaurs vs. demons. What do Uncle Todd and company do to top that this month? They give us the epic battles between Gunslinger and Clown and T-Rex and Violator. Worth the price of admission and left me off on a cliffhanger. My Verdict: Great.
King Spawn #24
Script/Plot: Sean Lewis (with Uncle Todd on additional script, Art: Javi Fernandez. I picked the right time to pick up these books. This one continues the “Dark Horror” story from the main title. As one of my favorite stories from the last decade of comics, I welcome the additional content. Plus, clown makes an appearance. My Verdict: Great.
Script/Plot: Sean Lewis (with Uncle Todd on additional script. Art: Stephen Segovia. This story interests me less than the other ones in the ongoing. I thought it was interesting that I joined the comic right after they buried the cover hero for the story, She-Spawn. She resurrected at the end of the last book and they introduced her new for at the end of this one, so maybe I’ll like it better with that angle. My verdict: Good.
Script/Plot: Rory McConville (with Uncle Todd on additional script. Art: Carlo Barberi. They started this one by laying off the Heaven/Hell war a bit, which I appreciate. Of all the storylines in the Spawniverse, I think that one’s the weakest. So, when they come back to it at the end, the issue lost some appeal for me. But, they seem to maybe be setting up a crossover with Gunslinger, so that could be fun. My verdict: Good.
Story: Sophie Campbell (with Kevin Eastman as story consultant), Art: Gavin Smith. As you all know, I joined the Turtles during the Armageddon Game story. I’m glad I did. I often avoided the comic because they sold it as a “grittier” version of the team that I remember from my youth. That may be true, but I still recognize these guys. I thought there might be a drop off from the event books, but not by much. This story is fun and engaging and quick moving so far. Can’t wait to see where it goes. My verdict: Good, bordering on great.
July 2023 independent comics brings a good to great slate of books for the second month in a row. Even if I don’t like all of the Spawn storylines, I still enjoy the writing and art. I stayed away from the extended Spawniverse because I didn’t want to fan boy too hard and thought they might just be more of the same. I should have known better. And, I already talked about my mistake of not reading TMNT. Join us again next month to see where the books take us!
Note: All Spawn images taken from the main Image site.
I mentioned in my previous Spawn review that I hoped there might be a payoff to the long setup. I can’t promise that it is here in Spawn 312. However, it does feel much closer after this issue. I mean, things actually happened. Silly that’s the barometer but that’s where we are right now.
I hate to mention Covid again. But, it definitely had an impact on things in one way or another. As I covered in a couple of my comics articles last month, it seems like Covid threw the comics world into more chaos than anticipated.
Books are being delayed and cancelled at an alarming rate. Creative teams looked haphazard for the better part of the last six months. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that we’ve had somewhat consistent comics releases in that time. Things could be worse. After all, Hallmark’s 25 Days of Christmas started three months early this year. So, let’s focus on the positive as we often try to do.
Supporting Cast: Part of my problem with the last issue is that he overpromised and underdelivered. The book promised a huge supporting cast only to have them show up in the last page of the issue and contribute almost nothing to the plot. Well, the main plot revolved around Gunslinger Spawn. She-Spawn had a small, but integral part.
Heck, even Cy-Gor (forgot the robot gorilla’s name in the last review) and Overtkill saw their parts in the story increase in both time and significance. See, I wasn’t being completely cheeky when I said that things happened in this issue. Things actually happened.
Gunslinger Spawn: I already mentioned him in the previous section. However, he deserves a section unto himself after this issue. I never was a fan of many of the “specialty” spawn. Heck, I was even lukewarm to the change from Al to Jim Downing. This is just one of those books where I want my hero to be solitary.
Okay, that sounds weird after I just said that the supporting cast was great. Allow me to explain. I can handle the occasional team up, like Spider-Man. Most of the time, though, I just want Simmons and his story. I won’t say I like Gunslinger Spawn now, but Spawn 312 went a long way to endearing me more to his character. Uncle Todd kept the momentum moving forward as I hoped.
The Story: With all of that being said, it’s not all ectoplasm and symbiotes. Okay, I apologize for that one. I literally spent the last 15 minutes trying to come up with that and that’s the best take. I know. Just bloody awful. Hey, I apologized.
The point of that all is that the story is getting better. However, it still feels like it it moving at a snail’s pace. I get that Uncle Todd has become more deliberate in his old age, but does he really have to emulate Bendis so much? I suppose I should just consider myself lucky that, unlike the current Bendis Superman stories, this one is actually decent.
Spawn 312 represents a continued step in the right direction. After the greatness of the Dark Horror story and then the soft reboot that seemed to be moving things forward, Spawn got a bit stagnant for a few issues there. It might have partially been that the momentum was slowed by the Covid hiatus. Maybe it is just that the book naturally ends up having ups and downs. I mean, most stories are like that, especially one that has been run by the same guy for the last 25 years or so. Whatever the reason, I’m enjoying the book again and I can’t wait for the next issue.
TLDR: I enjoyed Spawn 310 and 311 slightly more than the previous two issues. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the previous two issues. As with anything Spawn related, the issued had good and bad qualities. I very much liked the art, but the story felt too long. There may be a pay off later, but even that felt lacking.
Okay, that picture and caption are slightly damning in the face of the final sentence of the previous paragraph. But, I swear. I enjoy Spawn. It’s the one comic that I have made a pact to somehow collect the entire run. I’m probably (at most) 50 issues short. It’s because I love the book so much that it might seem like I’m hard on Spawn 310 and 311. It’s a tough love.
The Art in 311: I’ve made it known on several occasions that I like the super realistic art in Spawn. With some other titles, I can abide a different art style, but I grew up with Uncle Todd’s and then Greg Capullo’s art on this book. That’s what I want to see from Spawn on a regular basis.
Ken Lashley’s work was amazing in the most recent issues. I think I mentioned last time that I texted Chris to cal it Capullo-esque. I was more than a little upset, therefore, to see a new artist on issue 310. The art wasn’t as sharp. But, that changed with 311. I guess this is just the new reality of post Covid comics this year. Issue to issue changes of writers and artists.
Overpromising and Underdelivering: Again, this might seem like a negative against the book. Perhaps on its surface, so allow me to explain. At the end of issue 310, he promised Overtkill, Gunslinger Spawn, and one other that I’m blanking. Also, I am too lazy to walk downstairs right now to look it up.
All three of those characters made an appearance in the issue as promised. However, they came on in the last few pages of the issue. So, that’s disappointing. The good is that hopefully that sets up for a great issue 312 and maybe even 313. Here’s to hoping.
The Decent (This is Actually More The Ugly)
Anti-vaxxer Messaging?: It surprised me that the first part of issue 310 contained some anti-vaxxer messaging. I can’t say that’s how it was intended. However, the “villain” of the first few pages was a doctor working on a vaccine for a worldwide pandemic that turns out to be poisonous and making people sick.
I’m not sure how Uncle Todd thinks about vaccines. Initially, I was surprised that it was even included in the issue. But, then I remembered that I was confusing Uncle Todd for Ed Boon and his Twitter crusade to spread the word about masking during the pandemic.
During a time of misinformation and attacks on science and medicine, it felt very irresponsible to include this storyline in the comic. I know that it’s fiction and only a comic, but we’ve seen that pop culture and entertainment can heavily influence opinions. Okay, I’m off my soapbox.
Spawn 310 and 311 are overall good. As mentioned in my previous review, they aren’t as good as the Dark Horror story or even the beginning of the soft reboot started in issue 300. With the inclusion of some older villains, that promises to change for at least the next issue. Hopefully Uncle Todd is able to keep the momentum going forward.
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