REVIEW: ‘Spawn’s Universe,’ Issue #1

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Spawns Universe #1

Spawn’s Universe #1, published by Image Comics, is the initial salvo in a shared universe featuring the hellish antihero and his allies. The 74-page special is written by Todd McFarlane and divided into four chapters. Jim Cheung illustrates the main story, with Stephen Segovia handles art duties for a tale focused on Medival Spawn and Marcio Takara illustrating a story focused on Jessica Priest/She-Spawn. Rounding out the artists is Brett Booth, who illustrates a Gunslinger Spawn story. McFarlane and Adelso Corona handle inking duties. FCO Plascencia, Andrew Dalhouse, and Peter Steigerwald serve as colorists for the issue. Tom Orzechowski letters the issue along with Andworld Design.

In the main story, Spawn heads back to Omega Island in order to end the war with Heaven and Hell once and for all. However, once he gets there he encounters a new enemy named Disruptor as well as his former mentor Cogliostro and the Gunslinger Spawn. Medieval Spawn’s chapter sees him battling a wizard who has managed to summon a massive dragon. The She-Spawn chapter has Jessica bidding farewell to her mother and daughter before preparing for the war against Heaven and Hell. Finally, the Gunslinger Spawn story follows the hellish cowboy as he awakens from an attempt on his life.

McFarlane has said that 2021 will be the “Year of Spawn,” with Spawn’s Universe leading to three new titles: King SpawnGunslinger Spawn, and The Scorched. With this one-shot, he launches a multitude of plot points that no doubt will be continued in those upcoming series. Some of those plot points tie back into the events of the record-setting Spawn #300. Others stretch back to the very beginning of the series. While this can be a bit complicated for folks who haven’t read the original Spawn title, the main series sets up a new roster of foes for Al Simmons, including Cogliostro, who undergoes a new transformation.

In the main story, Cheung delivers his usual amazing artwork. I’ve long been a fan of Cheung’s work since his stint on Young Avengers, and he proves to be just as adept at depicting Spawn’s violent way of combat as he is the characters of the Marvel and DC universes. A two-page spread by Cheung features Spawn dueling a legion of angels, with his cape and chains whipping his opponents into brick walls with bone-crunching force. Another image sees Spawn and the cybernetically enhanced gorilla Cy-Gor rushing into battle, with guns literally blazing. Cheung’s design for Disruptor resembles a cross between an iron maiden and a Knight Templar, with the colorists giving him a cold blue and gunmetal grey color scheme to contrast with Spawn’s black and white costume.

The Medieval Spawn and She-Spawn stories are also standouts, with McFarlane taking a more emotional turn in the latter story. Takara’s art only briefly features Jessica in her She-Spawn costume, as she bids a tearful goodbye to her family. This story marks a contrast between her and Simmons, as he never got to bid his wife Wanda farewell before his untimely murder. And it’s even more heartwrenching as she’ll never be able to see her family due to the war she’s embroiled in.

Medieval Spawn has his own tragic backstory, as he seeks vengeance for the deaths of his comrades. Segovia brings an appropriate splash of dark fantasy to his illustrations, with Medieval Spawn sporting his trademark spiked armor and broadsword; the dragon he faces nearly takes up the entirety of the page, with its acidic green scales and glowing yellow eyes signifying the scale of the threat it poses. The story that didn’t really stick with me was the Gunslinger Spawn tale, which I chalk up to the art. Booth’s art is an acquired taste, as it’s very much a product of the ’90s; the hyper detailing and angles in his work really aren’t my cup of tea.

Spawn’s Universe #1 acts as the supersized debut for a new shared universe featuring the hellish antihero, along with his allies and enemies. With Spawn’s 30th anniversary on the horizon, McFarlane is showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to his signature creation.

Spawn’s Universe #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Spawn's Universe
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TL;DR

Spawn’s Universe #1 acts as the supersized debut for a new shared universe featuring the hellish antihero, along with his allies and enemies. With Spawn’s 30th anniversary on the horizon, McFarlane is showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to his signature creation.