REVIEW: ‘King Spawn,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

King Spawn #1

King Spawn #1 is published by Image Comics in association with Todd McFarlane Productions. The series marks the first step in Spawn’s Universe, a new effort from Spawn creator Todd McFarlane to expand the world of his hellish antihero via three new ongoing comic book series. When a rash of bombings leads to the deaths of children, Spawn begins to investigate. However, he learns that someone else is pulling the strings-someone who has a score to settle with Al Simmons.

The main story is written by Sean Lewis (with McFarlane providing additional dialogue), illustrated by Javier Fernandez, colored by FCO Plascencia, and lettered by Andworld Design. McFarlane also writes a quartet of backup stories: “Haunt” is illustrated by Stephen Segovia, “Nightmare” is illustrated by Marcio Takara, “The Hero” is illustrated by Philip Tan, and Brett Booth returns to illustrate another Gunslinger Spawn story. Adelso Corona & Daniel Henriques provide additional inks. Andrew Dalhouse, Marcelo Maiolo, Peter Steigerwald, and Dave McCaig provide additional colors, while Tom Orzechowski provides additional lettering for the backups.

Lewis is one of the handfuls of writers other than McFarlane to tackle Spawn, and he definitely has a great handle on Spawn. Al Simmons was a soldier in his past life, and he approaches conflicts as Spawn with a soldier’s mentality—identify the threat, track it down, and neutralize it. He even has an army in the form of allies like Jessica Priest/She-Spawn and Marc Rosen. It not only fits with the supernatural elements of the book—whole wars have been waged over religious belief—but the mission statement that Lewis and McFarlane spoke about in the lead-up to the book’s debut. The “King” element of King Spawn is more metaphorical than literal, though it turns out that Spawn’s newest enemy does view him as a king of sorts—albeit one to be dethroned.

Joining Lewis is Fernandez, who brings the creepy atmosphere that one would expect from a Spawn comic. When Spawn first appears, he is standing in the middle of a graveyard, his trademark red cape wrapped around him. Another sequence features Spawn leaping from rooftop to rooftop, becoming a blur of black and red. Plascencia splashes the scenes with shades of grey and black-including the edges of Spawn’s word balloons-which makes this book truly feel scary whenever Spawn emerges from the shadows, all glowing green eyes, and razor sharp teeth.

In the same vein as Spawn’s Universe #1 and Spawn #300, the issue features a collection of stories that introduce new characters such as the hellish Nightmare and a mysterious figure named Komox. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the return of Haunt. McFarlane co-created the character with Robert Kirkman (The Walking DeadInvincible), who soon wound up being tied into Spawn’s mythos. His return may be a hint at the team-up book titled The Scorched, which is slated to debut this December; I’m glad that McFarlane is willing to utilize the character in this grand experiment of his.

King Spawn #1 is the first stepping stone in Spawn’s Universe, launching a new mission for the hellish antihero while introducing new allies and enemies into his crusade. I definitely recommend this book for newcomers to the Spawn franchise, as well as longtime Spawn fans. It also proves that Spawn is more than capable of standing shoulder to shoulder with Marvel and DC’s most popular heroes.

King Spawn #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

King Spawn #1
4.5

TL;DR

King Spawn #1 is the first stepping stone in Spawn’s Universe, launching a new mission for the hellish antihero while introducing new allies and enemies into his crusade. I definitely recommend this book for newcomers to the Spawn franchise, as well as longtime Spawn fans. It also proves that Spawn is more than capable of standing shoulder to shoulder with Marvel and DC’s most popular heroes.