During his fight with Malebolgia last issue, several truths were revealed to Jim. After accepting them he’s pretty ticked off at Heaven and Hell, because the people who have meant the most to him are at risk due to their war. He decides to go on the offensive and seek out some answers, but ends up succumbing to the symbiote’s bloodlust. However, a familiar face has entered the game, and his impact on the new Hellspawn’s life should be very interesting.
From Jim’s search for who he really is to Sam and Twitch’s investigation, Spawn has been impressing with every issue. There’s no way anyone who saw Jim way back in the second issue of Spawn could have expected the character to be this integral to the mythos. McFarlane is not only giving us a new guy in the costume, but each step in his development has been meticulous. Slowly unfolding more like a horror crime drama than just another comic book superhero story. Much of this issue is Jim’s inner dialog as we see him coming to grips with who and what he currently is. This also helps to catch the reader up in case you’ve missed a few issues, though I’d still suggest going back and checking those out, as well. As much as McFarlane lets the action and visceral nature of the book shine, it’s the character development that’s taken place that has given this new direction such a strong foundation.
Ever since Kudranski became the regular artist on Spawn, he’s put his stamp on this title. He consistently nails the dark, visceral, and dangerous world these characters inhabit. This issue was no different, and even added something extra for those of us who have read Spawn #1. By page six it’s evident that for this 20th anniversary issue, Kudranski was using the page layout from that first issue of Spawn. This is confirmed later on when you read the interview with McFarlane. After seeing what this guy has done with this series, it’s this writer’s opinion that Kudranski is the perfect artist for Spawn.
It’s been a slow and steady build since Jim Downing became the newest Hellspawn, but this creative team has made sure that the story has been more than worth it. One could argue that we could have had more bells and whistles thrown in with this celebratory issue, but more focus on the story isn’t too bad. There is a 20 year time line along with a cover gallery, and a pretty good interview as well. Another bonus for the 20th anniversary of Spawn are the various alternate covers that pay homage to Youngblood #1 and Savage Dragon #1, but with a bit of Spawn flavor thrown in.