(w) Todd McFarlane, Scott Snyder (a) Todd McFarlane, Jason Shawn Alexander, Greg Capullo, J. Scott Campbell
Spawn. Since the launch of the series in 1992, the brainchild of Todd McFarlane has been a staple of the comics industry. Not only that, but it gave fledgling publisher Image comics a character to hitch itself to. DC has Superman. Marvel has Spider-Man. And Image has Spawn. But unlike those other two characters, this antihero is completely owned by its creator. 27 years after its first issue comes Spawn #300, marking a remarkable feat for an independently published, creator-owned series. But despite all of its achievements, Spawn #300 is still a comic book which begs a simple question – is it good? In a word, yes.
The most notable thing about this issue is that, for all its pomp and circumstance, it tells a pretty decent story that is integral to ongoing narrative of the series. While it still falls into the trap of breaking the issue into multiple chapters with different art styles, it never really detracts from the actual story. Even the one chapter written by Scott Snyder doesn’t stand out from the other chapters.
Even though the story is pretty decent, there will be no confusing McFarlane (and in this case, Snyder too) with the likes of Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman. The dialogue is as clunky and heavy-handed as it was back in 1992. However, McFarlane does a commendable job in making this issue accessible to the curious many who have not kept up-to-date over the years. Moreover, it keeps readers engaged and interested in the series’ future – or at least for Spawn #301.
Just like when it launched, the real star of this issue is the art. McFarlane contributes a couple pages along with Greg Capullo, J. Scott Campbell, and series’ regular Jason Shawn Alexander. While Alexander’s use of digital effects is markedly different from the more traditional pencils and inks of the other three, it’s used effectively throughout the issue as a “glue” to keep the issue together. In fact, it is the art of Campbell that truly stands out from the others – and not in a good way. Campbell has made a career of cheesecake pinups of gorgeous women, and those sensibilities are on display here. Thankfully, this distraction lasts only a few pages. Aside from this, the gothic, moody art found in this issue are truly outstanding.
Spawn #300 is a delightfully average issue. While the script leaves a lot to be desired, the core concepts found within the narrative is rather solid. The art team, with one exception, bring their A-game, making this a beautiful issue to look at. In all, it’s a rather fitting issue for Spawn to hit this milestone.