It’s been a while since we’ve seen Victoria, but our defeated angel has been offered a deal from Clown. Having had her wings ripped from her many issues ago, he’s offering to give them back in exchange for some information. Which all ties back to when Al Simmons took his life and transferred his power to Jim Downing, making him the new Hellspawn!
Since the appearance of the newest Hellspawn, this series has taken on an entirely different feel. This is a good thing since it’s what we were promised by McFarlane, and he’s been delivering ever since. This particular issue is pretty much a slaughter fest by the symbiote. However, Clown’s conversation with Victoria throughout carries a lot of weight and gives you a nice distraction from Kudranski’s great looking artwork. He’s building towards something dark here by establishing the symbiote as being as much of a character here as the others. Sure, we’ve known the suit is alive, but lately McFarlane has given it a purpose and direction that comes into direct conflict with Heaven, Hell, and the player’s that fight for and against both.
For over thirty issues Szymon Kudranski has visually changed the look of Spawn and it’s definitely for the better! He’s been as much responsible for the new feel as McFarlane has been. There is a consistent dark grittiness here that shows how Spawn has evolved, and Kudranski’s visual style successfully takes it from the usual superhero look that you will appreciate. If you have not seen this young man’s work then you’re doing yourself a great disservice.
For the most part this is a solid jumping on point for an unfamiliar reader. The narrative explains quite a bit, and there’s several references to key issues. If you have been reading Spawn then you already know how layered and great this story has become. If you have not, then I’d suggest you go and do some catching up. You should not expect the same thing you got twenty years ago, because McFarlane’s character has grown and gone through some actual change that’s all for the better!