Updated: Apr 11, 2019
A great start to a new storyline... but little else.
Spawn is a character that is considered divisive by some and beloved by others. His history traces back to the depths of the '90s comic boom and beyond with video games, animated shows, and even a movie under his belt. It's probably a safe bet to declare Spawn a cultural institution.
Personally speaking, I’ve been a casual Spawn fan for some time now. I read the early comics, watched the movie and cartoon... even played a few of the games. It is with this context that I come to Spawn #295.
It’s important to note that this is the first issue of Spawn I have read in some time. So I will not be making very many critiques on the larger contextualizing story. That being said, I found the narrative of this issue to be interesting, if not a bit wordy. McFarlane's writing has improved immensely since his days writing Spider-Man for Marvel Comics. Even with the improvements, I cannot help but find his writing to be somewhat... lacking. Not terrible by any means. Just seems to come up short. There was a genuinely surprising twist towards the end. It didn’t come entirely out of left field but was still surprising.
One thing I will praise is Todd’s ability to tell an ongoing story. To still be weaving the tale of Spawn almost thirty years after his first appearance is truly something. And yet here we are. McFarlane's ability to keep adding new wrinkles and still make it all look planned makes me want to be a better writer. This fact alone makes the comic more than tolerable. In fact, I’d wager that this story would fair better when stacked alongside the other parts to this tale. The book feels like a prologue to greater events than a singular story.
The art is of course phenomenal. I really liked its ethereal feel. For a comic that deals in the ongoing conflict between Heaven and Hell, I find it to be quite appropriate. It’s simultaneously blurry, yet also sharp, like someone put vaseline over the lens through which we see the story. Normally to me this would be a bad thing. Fortunately, in this case it helps to tie the entire book together.
For me, Spawn has always been more of an experience than a story to be told. By that measure the books shines with flying colors. All aspects seem to compliment each other, which makes for a unified read. If this is why you enjoy Spawn than you are in good hands. Otherwise….
Spawn #295 seems to function well as part of a greater whole. Given my lack of knowledge of both what has happened and what is still to come I cannot make a comment on the larger storytelling. The art is of course amazing but that is to be expected from such an esteemed artist that is Todd McFarlane. Overall, the experience is best described as "haunting"; it really stays with you.
I give the book 8/10. Sets up the larger story very well. Art is on par with the series usual stellar quality. If you are a fan, you will find this book perfectly serviceable. If you are not, I believe there is still enjoyment to be had. Buy it.