SPAWN #290 Review: let horror reign. Let horror reign in Al’s hell on earth, because his plan that further unfolds in SPAWN #290 is both frightening and effective.
For Eager SPAWN Readers, there are SPOILERS in this article.
SPAWN #290 – Let Horror Reign
Spawn’s ruthless vendetta grows in exciting, unnerving and downright fright-filled ways.
From the start of the six-part ‘Dark Horror Arc’, Jason Shawn Alexander and Todd McFarlane broke new ghastly ground for the character and world of Spawn, whose hell-ish origins were already quite grim and mysterious.
As time has unfolded from those issues to SPAWN #290, the plot grows more intense, more secretive and more expansive.
For once, Al is not being used as a pawn, or being manipulated for another’s gain, whether in heaven, hell, or earth itself.
The hellspawn that is Al Simmons is something more, something no one is quite sure of yet.
What is becoming clearer by the issue, is that the story hinges on Spawn whose rage has pushed him way over the edge, so that anyone who is in some way corrupt and useful to Al need fear for themselves and their families’ sakes.
When Spawn allows The Freak to go and leverage for bank codes with a man’s wife’s engagement ring hidden in the mouth of a doll made out of a human skull, sticks, and a yellow dress with daisies on it, the reader shudders at the site.
It means that Spawn is now unhinged, uninhibited, and eerily calculating.
And make no mistake: the images from Jason Shawn Alexander are visceral.
His art absolutely amazes.
He creatively draws on sound, so that vibrations, the pluck of a tooth from a skull, saws splitting brains open, and the “SNAP” of a telephone pole add realistic dimensions to the pages.
And the expressions, glowing eyes, and even the body language of an enraged Spawn Costume stretched out to greet an old rival in the Violator-Clown add a sense of weight, movement, and grisly detail.
The realism and surrealism balance each other so well that many of the scenes are nightmarish in all the right ways.
In this book, Lee Loughridge is also brilliant, as his colors add bold brightness around the bleak shadows giving focus to the emotions in the story.
And lest we forget, the practically glowing cover by Francesco Mattina is fantastic.
I am a big fan of good writing and great story that reaches for extraordinary heights, and that is what we have here.
The script/plot of Todd McFarlane is as sharp as a battle-ready sword edge.
For now that his ex-wife Wanda has died and Cyan has been exposed as having powers to mirror Al Simmons’, Spawn moves to publicly call out all of the hidden angels and demons trapped on earth to get at them.
He cannot take them all on alone, but he has grown powerful enough to recruit a slew of his oldest, fiercest enemies including Overt-Kill, Cy-gor, the Curse, and The Freak to do his bidding!
Al even refers to this team of horror as “[his] pets”.
The team’s distraction gives Spawn access to the computer terminals that can reveal all of the players in the conspiracy against mankind.
Turn the corner.
When faced with Clown at the issue’s close, Al points out that his face paint markings have changed prompting an apparent power-sucking blow.
But as Spawn is struck and then bloodily stabbed with a sign post, and seemingly drained of his powers, Violator’s teeth come to the surface of his chubby mouth.
The Violator is lurking beneath.
Later on, the Costume removes the metal from the wound and Al’s life returns with a flicker of green in his eye, and he says: “Excellent. He took the bait.”
All the while, the world’s financial markets have just crashed and bedlam surely awaits.
The build-up to SPAWN #300 is just incredible!
Grab a copy of SPAWN #290 from your LCS while you can, folks [Red Shirt Comics had me covered].
“SPAWN #290 Review: Let Horror Reign” was written by R.J. Huneke.
Rick And Morty Vs Dungeons & Dragons #2 DAMAGED: 8D6 combines two of the most fun endeavors for the geek counterculture that has shaken the fringes of the mainstream but is still – BURP – not quite there…or is it?
By that I mean TV’s Rick and Morty, the infamous sci-fi dynamic duo, and the role-playing game of yore, Dungeons & Dragons.
The comic book series for Rick & Morty is a perfect add-on for the show: each comic is like a raucous new episode set in a Rick and Morty continuity.
Jerry is still separated from Beth, for instance.
And Beth sees a Kobold that looks “a little like Jerry” and proceeds to go all Warrior on its ass with a soon-to-be-bloodied battle hammer!
The Rick And Morty Vs Dungeons & Dragons mini-series is truly extraordinary in that it seamlessly combines the two vastly infinite worlds of the show and game.
The attention to detail here, from the belching Rick, to the way in which Grandpa shows his horny grandson trying to learn the game to start out in Third Edition is dead-on and hilarious.
Expeditions lead to many monsters and missions and many treasures and lessons.
All is going swimmingly when Morty, who wants to be a rogue, despite Summer choosing this, is forced to be the Cleric, the party’s Healer, because as Rick says, ”no double dipping on classes, Morty. It’s a dick move.”
And then the Challenge Ratings go up from 2 to 4 to 5.
The XP Gained goes as follows:
2000, 4000, and then as Morty unlocks a chest without asking if there are traps: “Damaged: 8D6” with a “Reflex save for half damage.”
He, Beth and Summer are on fire while Rick is laughing his ass off in the background after they learned their lesson.
Summer, I mean, Winterblade, even gets a great “SNEAK ATTACK” in!
The first issue in the Rick And Morty Vs Dungeons & Dragons series talked about all of the starting rules, in detail, and had a fun set of adventures, virtual and otherwise, in it.
COVER #2 reveals secret Comic-Spy world’s long history, and it is far more extensive and intense than you would expect.
Two issues in, the Jinxworld series COVER, created by David Mack and Brian Michael Bendis, is an absolute gem.
Simply put: COVER #2 is a smart web of a spy thriller!
Max Field could not possibly imagine that his life as a successful comic creator would make for the perfect cover, as the CIA and US intelligence community seek to monitor some very chaotic areas of the world in an extraordinary manner: with a paintbrush rather than a gun . . . at least for now.
Max’s CIA recruiter, Julia, is a big fan of the art form and seems to exude a coy attraction for the creator of Ninja Spy Odyssey.
But she is also an extremely intelligent agent with great wherewithal for societies and, in particular, for managing people.
The writing and story pick up at a great pace.
And COVER’s riveting narrative is told with a menagerie of art styles that feed into and off of each other powerfully.
If you are familiar with David Mack’s work, you know that his unique vision features all manner of mediums in a way that is all his own, and for COVER he dares to tread further and further into new territory.
The colors by Zu Orzu are impactful and essential to the plot as it is revealed on the pages.
Mack and writer Brian Bendis’ words are realistic, tight and effective, and the letters from Carlos M. Mangual provide punch to the right annunciations making for a life-like experience.
The stakes are monumental in COVER #2 . . . right out of the gate.
The art spurred by emotion goes from heavily inked sections emitting fierce emotion and brilliant themes of color that shift to vivid watercolor reminiscing.
Max even seems to lose detail on the page when he is confused and indecisive.
The following look at COVER #2 will have *SPOILERS*
To start, the issue features an all black panel and one ominous line: “Do you think you were the first?”
An impassive face talks of “Nazi hunters, magicians”, and people who he is grouping in with Max as being missing for over forty years.
And out of the blackness there is Max tied to a chair making quips at the interrogator who is a fellow creator that he recognizes, named Essad Sinns.
How did Max go from dinner with Julie the fan and CIA recruiter to being beaten and threatened by a fellow creator turned intelligence op?
That is a question that will need to be explored as the series progresses.
We do seem to get Max squirming in the face of a large knife and spilling his recent history with Julia at the Istanbul comic convention where he is cooperative in gifting Julia’s bugged Limited-Edition Ninja Sword Odyssey pendant to the President of Turkey.
Max’s character was at first reluctant to even stand next to Julia as she surprised him at the airport, incognito.
And his trepidation and symbolic feeling of being lost and unsure of his role in the world is reflected in the pages of his comic book that he creates and are featured via an artist’s silhouette and then stark water color panels telling the tale of the ninja’s son.
As Max has issues with his own father that could be considered hairy and unsettled, the father-son pairing in Max’s comic have a reflective, though far different message.
The son’s teacher was his father.
The father’s teacher left him a tsuba without a sword, and it was this teacher who taught the father how to survive.
One day the father promises he will give his son the sword to fill it.
And he instructs on the new world: the days of the samurai are being replaced with a “new kind of war. Of secrecy and information. Of subtlety.” and the ninja conducts their battles “in between the lines.” [COVER #2]
The making of a sword and the making of a person fulfilling a vital role in the world come across poignantly.
COVER #2’s coming of age sword sequence is marvelous.
When Max starts to get actively involved and inquisitive, the vague visuals from the start of the book become more vivid with bright watercolors and detailed looks at Julia who he is trying to measure up.
She has built quite a relationship with Max, and slips from her diplomatic mask to get personal and rant about the importance of books being lost in today’s world.
The words and art closing COVER #2 have a meaningful message and are incredibly moving.
Rarely does art and writing and storytelling get across such a powerful message in so short a space and do it so personally and beautifully.
Emanating some of Ray Bradbury from Fahrenheit 451, and much more, Julia reveals herself to be the only reader she knows and is even looked down upon for it.
Ignorance in the world, she states, can be solved through the sharing of story.
It is touching and remarkable.
And then Max is back to the present, and gray tones, and is being beaten to a pulp.
COVER #2 is an amazing piece of standalone art.
It is inspiring.
Get this book, in both incredible covers, A by David Mack and B by Bill Sienkiewicz, at your local comic store (Red Shirt anyone) STAT!
When does Issue #3 come out?
“COVER #2 Reveals Secret Comic-Spy World’s Long History” was written byR.J. Huneke.