Rating: 4/5 – Al Simmons is Back. But is He Better than Ever?
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas
When I reviewed the 250th issue of Spawn I had recommended for new readers, or readers looking to get back into the Spawn Universe, to wait until the next issue. The reason being that the story was the concluding chapter about a Spawn that wasn’t Al Simmons, the man behind the symbiote mask since issue number one. It was a new character introduced just before issue two-hundred which I had very little familiarity with since I stopped reading Spawn around issue one-hundred. Before issue 251 of Spawn hits the shelves with its new direction and new creative team, the Spawn: Resurrection one shot is meant to introduce and reintroduce readers into the world before taking over the Spawn series proper. So how does it do in setting the stage for the next big chapter? Well, pretty darn good actually!
The story opens with God. Or, a talking dog that seems to be God. He walks us through the creation of the universe and life, while also taking us on a tour of Al Simmon’s past that serves as a refresher to those that have been away for a while, or those who are new to the character. Writer Paul Jenkins writes it so as it doesn’t just feel like a longer recap, but integrates it smoothly into the story. Although the parts of the story that deal with current politics like the Ferguson shooting and civil rights feel preachy and at times one sided, Jenkins balances the real world with that of heaven and hell effectively. Jenkins wraps the story around a mystery of just who’s been toying with Al Simmons’ life since before and after his suicide, and gives him a clear mission that seems to serve what will be the the main storyline going forward.
I think Jonboy was the right artist selected for a character like Spawn. He’s got such an energetic line and he’s pouring a lot of detail into each panel. Not only that, but where as Spawn has recently looked dark and scratchy, Jonboy’s art although darker in tone, is clean and clear. The pencil lines never try to be too realistic, but instead embrace the craziness of the story with just a hint of exaggeration and slightly off expressions. Although I’m not crazy about the updates to the costume including the mask’s teeth, the addition of the manga-like sword is a nice touch, and makes for a cool visual package.
After reading this issue I’m looking forward to Paul Jenkins and Jonboy’s new direction for the longtime Image character. It’s been a while since I’ve read Spawn consistently and this new creative team has done enough to bring me back for at least their first first arc. Hopefully Jenkins will tone down his political views and commentary in future issues so it feels less preachy and neutral. If you’ve been waiting to get back into Spawn, this is the issue to do so. It provides enough of the past to get you ready for the future. Al Simmons is back and it looks as though he may be back and better than ever.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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