Tag Archives: Image Comics

February 2024 Independent Comics I Love

Introduction

After missing my order last month, February 2024 independent comics exist again only in the Spawn Extended Comic Universe (SECU – tm, me?). By the looks of it, TMNT 150 got pushed back by a month and I just put it on my list for next month. Therefore, prepare for my journey through the SECU for this month.

Scorched #24

Script/Plot: John Layman (with Uncle Todd on “Additional Script”, Artist: Stephen Segovia. A few issues ago, this one was my favorite of all the titles in the SECU. Yep, I’m gonna overuse that until it’s dead by the end of the article. Sorry, I miss TMNT. In regards to this issue, it serves its purpose as a bridge to show the new dynamics of the team and introduce a new character, The Viscerator. My verdict: Decent.

King Spawn #28/#30

Script/Plot: Uncle Todd, Art: Javi Fernandez. Not sure why they sent two nonsequential issues of King Spawn, but here we are. The first shows Al traveling through hell with the corpse of a demon that he killed. A few conflicts that are easily resolved and apparently the journey continues in the missing issue. Because, then, Al faces off with Wanda as his companion on the journey. I enjoyed this part of the story and Uncle Todd promises a big payoff in number 350. Also, I enjoy Javi Fernandez’s art. My verdict: Good.

Spawn #348

Story/Plot: Rory McConville with Todd McFarlane on additional script, Art: Carlo Barberi. All of these issues feel slightly underwhelming. It took until this issue and the connection to King Spawn that I understood. They’re setting us up for the big conclusion in a couple of issues. I suppose I made the initial connection in Scorched when I called it a bridge article. Well, the whole of it right now feels like a bridge. But, again, great art. My verdict: Good.

Verdict

So, the SECU (okay, I used it less than anticipated) brought mostly just a bridge (I used that more than anticipated, though, trying to avoid “filler”) between the previous story and a promised payoff in Spawn 350. February 2024 independent comics was missing something. Yes, that’s just another reason for me to write that TMNT never showed this month.

Images courtesy of the mothership.

December 2023 Independent Comics I Love

Introduction

The comics arrived in the mail as they always do. I wrote the plans in my book for this week. Independent on Monday. DC on Wednesday. Marvel on Friday. Then, this week came and went with no comic reviews posted to the page. Recognizing my oversight, I gave you a bonus article yesterday about the Marvel SNAP new season. Then, I reworked the plan to post all of the reviews this weekend starting with today and December 2023 Independent Comics.

In addition to the Spawniverse and TMNT that usually populate this article, DCBS sent me two copies of a new book entitled Unnatural Order. So, I tossed it into the pile and you get another bonus of an additional book reviewed in this article. With no further delay, let’s get into the books.

Unnatural Order #1

Writer: Christopher Yost, Artist: Val Rodrigues. From the back cover: After the fall of the Britons and the Roman invasion of Hibernia, the captive known only as the druid is released, sending a darkness across the world. An age of horrors, of fire and entrails, as the innocdnt burn in the wicker fields, those who would resist learn of the existence of a man who even the druid fears. for it is this prisoner, a soldier from a different time, who alone knows that druid’s secret. This is not how the world is supposed to be. They deliver on that and more in this first issue. I’ll give them that. Wild story that caught my attention. But, I’m not sure if I’ll read it or not. Might have to give it another shot to see if it’s my style of book. My verdict: Decent.

Gunslinger Spawn #26

Writer: Uncle Todd. Artist: Dexter Soy. The book got away from what makes it fun/interesting. Okay, that’s not entirely true. They just got sloppy. Rushed story and art. Repeated typos. The last two issues have been much cleaner. My verdict: Not as good a follow up to the great last issue, but still very good.

King Spawn #27

Writer: Uncle Todd. Artist: Javi Fernandez. Goes on a deep dive into Al’s past and explores how that past set him on his path to become Spawn. My verdict: It wants to be great. But, it feels either too cliche or hits too close to home for me. Almost great.

Scorched #23

Writer: John Layman. Artist: Stephen Segovia. Spawn faces off against Gaia for the soul of She-Spawn. He wins, but at what cost? Another one where I like the idea and execution, but minor flaws. My verdict: My favorite of the three and just a hair from being great.

Spawn #347

Writer: Rory McConville with additional plot from Uncle Todd. Artist: Carlo Barberi. Continues the story of the previous issues. Solid issue that advances the story and keeps things moving. Also starts to tie in the supporting issues. Solid book, but lags behind the supporting titles right now. My verdict: Good.

TMNT #147

Writer: Sophie Campbell. Artist: Vincenzo Federici. My favorite book not named She-Hulk right now. This issue is fun and funny and it fills some of the blanks at the end. Plus, a shout out to prehistoric Northampton, Massachusetts. My verdict: Great

The Verdict

Independent comics December 2023 brings some great stories. The Spawniverse is rounding into shape again. The Turtles are great as they always have been since I started reading the title during Armageddon Game. The jury remains out on Unnatural Order, but I have faith that it will be a good story if I keep reading it.

Spawn images taken from the mothership. TMNT book snapped from IDW. Unnatural Order courtesy of Vault.

September 2023 Independent Comics I Love

Introduction

I mentioned, in a YouTube video that I still haven’t edited and released, that I spent the better part of the last week sick. I said to two of my classes today that I finally feel like myself again after a week. So, I’m digging out from under work at school and here on the page. Therefore, the September 2023 independent comics article comes at the beginning of Spooktober.

You probably noticed that I never changed the banner for Spooktober even. Again, bear with me over the next week, especially, because it’s a busy one. Last night, we had a soccer game for Aiden. Today, thankfully, nothing. But, tomorrow is dress rehearsal for lip sync. Then, Thursday is lip sync. Friday is homecoming parade and game. Saturday is homecoming dance. Plus, the muffler pipe on my car finally rotted out. So, yeah, I’ll get there. Give me time.

Gunslinger Spawn #24

Writer: Uncle Todd, Artist: Brett Booth. I wish I brought better news in this first article in almost a week. Last time, I wrote about how this title felt rushed. I even found a typo in the book. I saw at least one more in this issue. Not only that, but my copy doesn’t even have the Spawn part of the title. While not as bad as Spider-Man right now, I see cracks in the armor over at McFarlane productions. In addition to the production errors, the story just bounces all over the place. Too much for my ADHD. My verdict: Decent.

Scorched #21

Writer Sean Lewis with Uncle Todd on “Additional Script”, Artist: Dexter Soy with guest Carlo Barberi on the reporter’s page. More focused than Gunslinger, the story still bounces a bit at the beginning until it settles down. Once it does, the book resembles the fun that’s missing from Gunslinger right now. Maybe they only have enough juice to fill one book right now. Fair enough. My verdict: Good.

Spawn #345

Writer: Rory McConville with Uncle Todd on Additional Script, Artist: Carlo Barberi. I make no secret of my distaste for the Heaven and Hell war angle of the story. I’ve said over and over. I know that it is a key part of the book. It just personally does nothing for me as a storyline. I always preferred Al as the avenging angel of sorts who fights for the downtrodden on Earth. With that being said, I liked this issue a lot. They’re clearly focusing on this title as the main story. That explains the slight dip in quality in the supporting books. My verdict: Good, bordering on great. If they keep it up, it might be my favorite story since Dark Horror.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #143

Writer: Sophie Campbell with Kevin Eastman as Story Consulting, Artist: Gavin Smith. The most consistently good comic in the bunch right now. Even after the inevitable let down after the amazing Armageddon Game, it still brings a strong story. The pace continues to ramp up in this issue in all aspects of the story. Every single issue I read makes me sad that I never collected this book before now. My verdict: So close to great.

The Verdict

As usual, September 2023 independent comics brings a mixed bag. While the art on all of the Spawn books is amazing, the stories on the supporting issues are uneven. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, though, remains good. As long as that’s true, I look forward to the next installment of books.

Spawn images taken from the mother ship. TMNT from IDW.

August 2023 Independent Comics I Love

Introduction

I scheduled this article for yesterday. Then, yesterday required me to pick up Aiden from soccer, make dinner (I thought for two days), and record Episode 1 of the reboot of the reboot of 2 Guys Gaming podcast. Then, Quinn and I planned to camp tonight and tomorrow night. But, I screwed that up and apparently never booked the site. So, we are home and I am writing the August 2023 independent comics article.

I mean, this week already went through a few iterations. The end of the summer always messes with me and my timing. Finally, I settled on making it the comics week and moving some other things around. With DC Comics on a “Knight Terrors” break, I luckily received a DC Manga Sampler and that gave me plenty to discuss. This article continues the trend of Spawn Universe and TMNT.

Gunslinger Spawn #23

Writer: Uncle Todd. Artist: Brett Booth. A coupel of issues ago when I picked this book up and started reading it, I infered (or outright said), “Violator fighting a T-Rex? What more do you want?” Well, a couple of issues later, I can’t exactly answer that question other than with, well, “More.” This story thudded back to the ground in this issue. The pacing felt off, I noticed at least one typo, and the writing just comes off as rushed. My Verdict: Decent

King Spawn #25

Writer: Uncle Todd. Artist: Javi Fernandez. Up until now, this one topped my list of the Spawniverse titles. Granted, it still does, but with Scorched oddly not showing up in my box this month, that list reads as much shorter. And, this one suffers from the same rushed feeling as Gunslinger this month. I noticed a typo in this one, too, and the Spawn/Clown routine leaves me wondering what the heck is happening right now. Perhaps they bit off more than they can chew. I’ll chalk it up to growing pains right now. My verdict: Decent.

Spawn #344

Writer: Rory McConville. Artist: Carlo Barberi. This one actually anchored the Spawniverse this month. I think it’s been quite a while since we could say that. Sure, it insists on dragging the Heaven/Hell war out. Some people might be into that. I am not. Other than that, though, it explains Spawn’s actions in King Spawn and sets up for his intervention to hopefully end Heaven’s and Hell’s machination for the forseeable future. Maybe Scorched fills in some of the details, too, and that’s what I’m missing this month. My verdict: Good.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #142

Writer: Sophie Campbell (with Story Consulting by Kevin Eastman. Artist: Gavin Smith. I wrote that the book took a bit of a dip after Armageddon Game. It was to be expected. That story ramped things up to 11 (or maybe even 12 or 13) and anything after, by comparison, seems tame. Well, it didn’t take long for them to start ratcheting things up again. I blew through this book because the pacing felt so urgent. The turtles deal with the after effects of Armageddon Game and feel the family fracturing a bit as a result. Sophie Campbell just knows how to write this book. I can’t wait for next month. My verdict: Good, bordering on Great.

The Verdict

August 2023 Independent Comics fell off a bit from previous months. The Spawn books, other than the main title, felt rushed and up against a deadline. But, TMNT more than made up for the drop in quality. That book alone makes me excited for what’s coming in September.

Spawn covers taken from Image comics website.

July 2023 Independent Comics I Love

Introduction

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.

Scorched 20

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.

Spawn 343

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.

TMNT 141

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.

The Verdict

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.

Independent Comics I Love April 2023

Introduction

I last wrote a comics review just over 2 years ago. According to the headline of that one, March of 2021. What bring them back, suddenly, almost two years to the day? Why does anything happen around here? I get an idea, bake it about half way, then unleash it on an unsuspecting public. And, so, Independent Comics I Love April 2023.

When I started writing (remember the half baked part), I wondered if April 2023 represented the actual release date of these comics. I receive an automatically pulled list of comics from Discount Comic Book Service every month. So, while these comics arrived on my doorstep at the end of April, they very well could have been released as long ago as January or February and I’d never know the difference.

Note: Some research led me to the conclusion that all of these comics have April release dates. So, score one for the good guys.

Code Name Ric Flair Magic Eightball (Scout Comics)

(James Haick III – Writer, Raphael Loureiro – Artist) I noticed this comic in my news feed, perhaps, a couple of months ago. I remember that I texted Chris about it in some form or fashion. He showed no interest if I remember correctly. Me, on the other hand, as a wrestling geek from a young age, I knew that I had to have the book. After reading it, what can I say? Ric Flair, noted womanizer, alcoholic, and drug addict is given a pass by the book. All of the man’s very human flaws are written off as necessary to his secret life as a double agent. I never expected great literature out of this book, but it could have been handled so differently and much better. I think the book is supposed to be read as satire. Maybe that’s me giving it too much credit. Because, if so, the satire is clumsy.

Spawn #340 (Image Comics)

(Rory McConville – Writer with Uncle Todd given “additional script” credit, Carlo Barberi – Artist) I never read Spawn for the story. Sure, I enjoyed the story, but I never read the book because of the story. Todd McFarlane, and later Greg Capullo, Philip Tan, and Angel Medina, draw such a detailed and rich universe that I can’t help but be drawn into it. The story, while very good in parts, rarely was the driving force behind the book for me. That changed a few years ago when I started collecting again. I loved the Dark Horror story and then slogged through some of the stories after that where Spawn becomes a terrorist agent because the US government was infiltrated by demons or something. I

loved issue 300 and the promised “reboot” of Spawn’s powers. Then things went up and down. Finally, I stopped writing reviews for some reason or another. The point of this all is that I don’t know how I feel about this story. Again, I love the art. But, this story of Spawn and Haunt infiltrating heaven feels a little too much like the Enemy of the State story. Who knows? Maybe if I read some of the back issues I neglected, it makes more sense. Stay tuned.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #139 (IDW Publishing)

(Sophie Campbell – Writer with additional credit to Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz, Fero Pe – Artist) I need to come clean and admit I haven’t read this on yet. I texted Chris a couple of months ago. While perusing the comics at That’s Entertainment, I found the TMNT Armageddon Game imprint and started flipping through the issues. They hooked me with the story, but not having had time until now to sit down and read the books, I don’t want to spoil the story for me. But, consider this a success that instead of simply one book on my independent reading list (Spawn), I now have three for this month.

The Verdict

Admittedly, my return to review writing with independent comics I love April 2023 is a bit rocky. Two books that didn’t live up to expectation and one that I haven’t even read yet. But, I plan to catch up on Spawn to try to get hyped for the next couple of issues. I also need to read the Armageddon Game to see if that one lives up to the hype I created in my head. Until Wednesday, fellow comic fans!

Love Letter to Spawn 314

Introduction

Well, as expected, Spawn 314 represents another step in the recent history of the roller coaster of quality. Up for a few months, down for a few months, back up for a few months. The last few issues looked to be building to something. You can draw your own conclusions before I reveal my thoughts.

Trust me.

See, I told you. Right back. Spawn 314 is boring. It is the first issue of Spawn that I haven’t read cover to cover. I skimmed through the fight with Hulk Spawn (more on that later) or whatever. I completely ignored the soliloquy from Omega Spawn that covered way too many pages. I saw hate a few weeks ago for a page that Donny Cates wrote for Venom because it was just 9 panels of Eddie’s face. I’ll take that over whatever this issue was any day.

You might argue against the title of the article Never mind that “Love Letter to Spawn ***” grew out of my attempt to turn my “Headline Analyzer” green. And, it worked. Nevertheless, I still love Spawn. I will always love Spawn in the same way that I love Mario and Sonic. The book introduced me to more “adult” themed comics and started my life long (and consistent again) collection of them. Why, then, don’t I love Spawn 314?

The Great

The Art: I think I mentioned in the last article that the art isn’t on Capullo level. Then again, recent Capullo art isn’t exactly at his level. I don’t even like this art as much as I liked Ken Lashley’s short recent tenure. However, the covers are amazing as always. The interior art looks great, too, and I focused on that as I ignored the text for the most part.

The Good

The Story: Up to this issue, the story got better and better with each issue. I went from not caring about She Spawn, Cy-Gor, or Overtkill to actively enjoying their contributions to the story. The story, as I just said, also improved over that same time period. Then, wit this one issue, it fell so far. Hopefully, in the end, it doesn’t even matter. Yes, I understand it’s a poor interpretation of the lyrics. And, I apologize, Linkin Park fans.

The Decent

Omega Spawn: In the last section, I said that I couldn’t have cared less about the supporting characters at the beginning of this most recent arc. I recently just said the same about Omega Spawn and the Hulk Spawn or whatever it’s called. The fight meant nothing to me. The subsequent explanation felt empty. Who knows? Maybe Uncle Todd is smarter than I am again and he has a way to make me care about this story, too.

The Verdict

Spawn 314 bored me. I hope this represents simply a filler issue and that the next issues serve the same purpose as more recent issues. They need to flesh out the Omega Spawn and give me a reason to care about his existence. I mean, I’m not one to tell someone how to do their jobs. However, if Uncle Todd wants me to sing his praises next month, he needs to round this story out better.

Love Letter to Spawn 313

Introduction

The longest running independent comic just keeps on going. Spawn 313 and counting. I’m going to sound like a bit of a broken record here. It’s been up and down for our man Spawn. However, I will spare you the gritty details. If you want to know where the ups and downs are, you can go back about 30 or so issues to get my take on Al Simmons’ recent history.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s a bumpy ride.

More recently, I ended the previous Spawn issue review article by saying that I’m enjoying the book again and I couldn’t wait for this issue. As I do every month, I read Spawn 313 first. While usually just a practical decision because it’s the only independent book that I still read, so it makes for an easy start to comics week each month, this month I actually read this month with some degree of anticipation.

Sorry for that run on sentence. It happens around here sometimes. I honestly just wasn’t sure where I was going with the thought after I started it. Let’s see if I can’t salvage something from the nonsense. To be fair, I do have some practice.

The Great

The Story: I admit that when this story began I was considering taking a break from Spawn. The up and down that I discussed in the introduction was more up than down. Put simply, I wasn’t enjoying the book very much. Uncle Todd has redeemed himself slightly with the last couple of issues.

I think the main reason for the improvement in the story is that the supporting characters have been much stronger recently. I mean, they’ve been mentioning Cy-Gor and Overtkill for the last 2 or 3 years with little to no payoff. The payoff for these guys hasn’t been huge, but it has been something. He even got me to enjoy Gunslinger Spawn and I never though that would happen. Keep the momentum going.

The Good

The Art: I don’t talk much about art in these articles. Mostly if it’s an artist I enjoy or if the art is great (or more often, terrible), I will say a work or two about it. However, the art is one of the things that brought me to Spawn all those years ago. In a time of Rob Liefeld, Spawn brought us the beauty of Todd McFarlane’s pencils.

The art in this issue isn’t McFarlane or Capullo level. Heck, I wouldn’t even put it in the same category as Ken Lashley from a few issues ago. But, it is serviceable. It doesn’t detract from the story like Jason Shawn Alexander’s art did for a few issues. Sorry, JSA. I know you’ve become a punching bag for the page. I never meant for that to happen.

The Decent

Slow Moving: I think part of my frustration with Spawn is the slow pace of the stories. I mentioned earlier that Cy-Gor and Overtkill have been in the pages of the book for 2 (maybe even 3 years) as ancillary characters that were meant to induce nostalgia in preparation for the soft reboot of 300? I guess.

Like I said, there was some payoff for those guys finally in this issue. One of them got their face bashes in by a massive Hellspawn on a beach. Don’t get me wrong. I do like the story. I just wish Uncle Todd would pick up the pace a bit.

The Verdict

Spawn 313 does continue the forward momentum mentioned in the previous article. The story is still slow moving, which can be frustrating. However, Uncle Todd is giving other characters a chance to shine, which is nice. Also, the art has more often than not been excellent for the past year. I will sign off with the eternal hopes that all continues next month.

Love Letter to Spawn 312

Introduction

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.

The eternal question of this year. Did Covid make things crappy. Or, have things always been crappy and Covid just made us realize it?

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.

The Great

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.

The Good

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 Decent

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.

The Verdict

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.

Love Letter to Spawn 310 and 311

Introduction

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.

Sad trombone sounds…

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 Great

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.

The Good

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.

The Verdict

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.