Spawn #229

by Sean Tonelli on March 13, 2013

Spawn 229
I am a child of the nineties, a proper one; I actually came into my teens in the nineties, so I remember things, things like Spawn. Oh, those we’re the glory days of Spawn, a cool anti-hero who looks like a bad-ass Spider-Man, carried huge guns, had awesome toys and even a great video game. I remember making my Nana buy me the HBO cartoon series based on Spawn proclaiming ‘it’s only a cartoon!’ despite the Youth Restricted Viewing sticker courtesy of Blockbuster (RIP). But after all the dust settled, times have changed as well as my tastes. I now look back on my time spent with Spawn and I ask ‘was it always awful?’

Spawn #229 kicks off a new arc and I thought it would be a great time to get re-acquainted with an old friend. I heard rumblings on the web of Spawn’s meteoric fall from grace and I was curious to see just how far the mighty can fall. Spawn was once Image Comics flagship book and now it seems an afterthought, a courtesy to McFarlane to keep his comic cred. I hadn’t even known that Al Simmons wasn't even Spawn anymore; that honour goes to Jim Downing. Apparently the Spawn suit is now a symbiote that acts outside of the owners wishes and is going around eating various bad doers while Downing sleeps. Spawn #229 finds Downing trying to be a symbol for good in the community despite the evil symbiote’s actions. Meanwhile in an underground sex club, a group of vampires begin to wage war on humanity. I guess? I wasn’t sure what was going on. The plot was a barebones set up for the new arc and I couldn’t even tell what it was trying to do.

A lot can be said about McFarlane’s dubious career. He is a very talented artist and I feel like he used to be a talented writer as well, but this issue is not showing it. The characters have no voice and talk as if they know they have to advance the plot. It’s as if McFarlane has no trust in the artist to help convey the story and what makes matter’s worse is that this is a very talkative issue. Each panel is just loaded with bland speech after bland speech.

Kudranski’s art isn’t helping anyone either. After seeing McFarlane’s excellent cover I was quickly disappointed by what was held inside. The pages are dark and the characters are stiff and wooden. Faces have little to no expression and they barely move. It reminds me of early 00’s 3D animation, like MTV’s Spider-Man. One page even repeated the same panel four times. Yup, four wide panels of a guy sitting in a prison cell, slightly moving his head. Yew.

Spawn #229 isn’t the worst comic I’ve read, though I can’t think of a worse one off the top of my head. The story is bland, the art is uninspired and I cannot recommend this book. Great cover though! Oh well Spawn, we’ll always have SNES.

Spawn #229
Writer: Todd McFarlane
Art: Szymon Kudranski
Cover: Todd McFarlane
Publisher: Image Comics

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A Look Inside