This has been one rollercoaster of a series since the apparent death of Al Simmons and the emergence of Jim Downing as the new Spawn. McFarlane takes things a bit further here as yet another layer is added, while some are pulled back in the battle between Heaven, Hell, and those in-between who scheme for their own desires. One of them is a classic character in this series, as Cogliostro is attempting to put Jim in the know of what his place is in this battle. This would be a little easier if Jim wasn’t already fed up with both sides manipulating him along with fighting the symbiote for control.
McFarlane brings the meeting between Cogliostro and Jim to a close, which means the story can move a bit further now. Since Cog showed up in issue 237, his motives have been questionable and McFarlane does a nice job of bringing that to light here. He has the symbiote itself challenge Cog’s motives, and it’s been one eye opening read seeing how McFarlane challenges what you perceive as “good” and “evil.” By keeping the motives of key characters in a grey area he keeps things from being predictable. Though it might have been better had their talk not been spread out over four issues, what we find out is pertinent to the story line. There are bits of action thrown in during their talk that keep things from getting boring, and McFarlane has a knack for keeping the dialogue intense and worth reading.
Ever since Kudranski came onto this title he’s taken the visual storytelling to a fantastic level. It’s not just dark and moody, but there’s a visceral feel to the panels when things get bloody and violent. He makes sure you’re in tune with the narrative so that you’re immediately drawn further into the world of Spawn with the turn of each page. With the assistance of FCO Plascencia on colors this is some of the best artwork this title has seen, which is saying a lot considering the talent this title has seen over the years.
The reveals in this issue just lead to more questions, but one thing is for sure, and that’s Jim is in for one hell of a fight. With this meeting with Cogliostro finally over here’s hoping things speed up a bit and the cliffhanger is a turning point for the story. Despite the slow pacing at times, Kudranski and McFarlane have been doing superb work since teaming up, and it’s the best that Spawn has been in a while.
Till next time!