Review Spawn 201
Spawn #201 ushers a new team onto this Image Comics mainstay. This issue moves Spawn into a new direction with an all new host coming to terms with his powers.
THE NEW SERIES ARTIST – Szymon Kudranski has a nice realistic bend to his art, not hyper realistic but not too stylized. He finds a happy medium between the two and it works well for Spawn. Kudranski also is at home with the shadows as many of the pages have high contrast levels between light and dark. In one place in particular that he uses this well is the first time we see Spawn (fully costumed) in the issue. When Jim (new host) turns into Spawn you see the fully costumed Spawn’s figure meld with the shadowy background. This use of negative space is great and gives Spawn a creepy supernatural tone that I think the character has been missing for the past few years.
Szymon Kudranski’s layouts are great and a fun read. It’s a mix of splash page and traditional paneling that is similar in ways to Japanese comic layouts with a full page layout that establishes a scene with paneling placed just right on the same page to tell the narrative.
DIRECTION – This gets said so much that it has lost a lot of its meaning but this really is a new direction for Spawn. Set up by events from Spawn #200 reviewed here, the new host Jim Downing is doing something the former Spawn host Al Simmons shied away from; media exposure. This issue is set up as an interview with on a national talk show to discuss who he is, because Jim has amnesia, and what he can do. It’s a fantastic way to introduce who he is for people coming onto or returning to the series. Kudos to new writer Will Carlton and Todd McFarlane for plotting a great story device. It’s also nice to see the book return to its occult roots with more demons and vampires, scary vampires too.
NOT SO LOVED
BLOWING BUBBLES – In the middle of this book things get really wordy. So much so that almost one page is taken up completely by word bubbles. It gets a bit distracting going from layouts with well placed word bubbles to three to four pages with almost nothing but word bubbles. Who knew demons and vampires had so much to say.
Spawn hasn’t appealed to me in quite a few years, but if this issue is any indication of where it is headed then I will be glad to hop back on this train. Szymon Kudranski’s art is fresh and invigorating and Will Carlton’s writing is good, but really wordy at times.
If you were looking to jump back onto Spawn this is the issue to do so. Spawn is heading in a new direction and hopefully we can all enjoy the ride.
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