Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Comics Review: "GUNSLINGER SPAWN #1" On Target

IMAGE COMICS/Todd McFarlane Productions

STORY: Todd McFarlane with Alex Kot
PENCILS: Brett Booth with Thomas Nachlik; Philip Tan; Kevin Keane
INKS: Adelso Corona with Daniel Henriques
COLORS: Andrew Dalhouse with Nikos Koutsis; Marcello Iozzoli; Marcelo Maiolo; FCO Plascencia
LETTERS: Tom Orzechowski
EDITOR: Thomas Healy
COVER:  Brett Booth and Todd McFarlane with FCO Plascencia
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Todd McFarlane with FCO Plascencia; Greg Capullo with Jonathan Glapion; Jason Shawn Alexander; Robert Kirkman and Todd McFarlane with Nick Koutsis; Tonton Revolver; Brett Booth and Todd McFarlane with FCO Plascencia; Greg Capullo
56pp, Color, $5.99 U.S. (October 2021)

Rated: “T/ Teen”

Spawn created by Todd McFarlane

Spawn is a superhero/antihero character that stars in the long-running comic book series, Spawn.  Created by writer-artist Todd McFarlane, Spawn first appeared in Spawn #1 (cover dated: May 1992).

Spawn was Albert Francis “Al” Simmons.  A career military man who becomes a highly capable assassin and dies a violent death.  He makes a deal with the devil, Malebolgia, in order to return to the living realm to see his wife one last time.  However, Al returns with almost no memories accept that his name is Al Simmons, and he learns that he is now a “Hellspawn” in service of Malebolgia.  Rebelling, Al Simmons, now “Spawn,” finds a new purpose in stopping evil.

Back in February (2021), Todd McFarlane announced his plans to build a larger, multi-character, interconnected, comic book universe based around his Spawn comic book – a “Spawn Universe.”  McFarlane also announced four new comic book titles coming out in 2021, with three of them continuing as regular monthly titles.  The second of the three titles, Gunslinger Spawn, has arrived.

Gunslinger Spawn is written by Todd McFarlane; drawn by Brett Booth (pencils) and Adelso Corona (inks); colored by Andrew Dalhouse; lettered by Tom Orzechowski.  Gunslinger Spawn finds one of the Spawn Universe's most popular characters navigating the world of 2021.

As Gunslinger Spawn #1, Gunslinger Spawn isn't in the mood to answer Spawn's questions.  He takes off on motorcycle, not sure how the thing works.  In need of help with the danged thing, Gunslinger meets Taylor Bartlett, a young gas station attendant.  God's warriors, however, don't wait for bike repair.  Will Gunslinger Spawn's 200-year-old past come back to haunt him as he navigates the strange world of 2021?

THE LOWDOWN:  I read Spawn #1 back in 1992.  I became a fan and followed the series for another five or six years.  2021 finds me reading a Spawn title first-issue for only the second time since I read Curse of the Spawn #1 back in 1996.  [King Spawn was the first]

I find myself quite intrigued by Gunslinger Spawn as a character, and I like that Todd McFarlane introduces someone, Taylor Bartlett, who could become a good supporting character.  As for the art, I have always had mixed feelings about Brett Booth's work.  Here, his compositions are too cluttered, and I don't think that Adelso Corona's inking helps, although Andrew Dalhouse's coloring does.

The first backup story is drawn by Thomas Nachlik, and in it, McFarlane offers a tale of classic, brutal, Spawn justice.  Gunslinger Spawn pays a man back in kind for the murder of another man and woman's sons.  This is a great, five-page short story that actually packs more punch than the main story.  The second story, a dark tale expertly drawn by Philip Tan, details the blood cost Gunslinger pays for the ammunition he needs to slay his non-human enemies.

The third story, drawn by Kevin Keane, opens in 1853, five years after the end of the Mexican-American War.  It is set in Nogales, a town located on territory that was once Mexico's.  Gunslinger protects a 12-year-old boy from an asshole, which may be the start of a longer story.

Despite my few reservations about the main story, I enjoyed Gunslinger Spawn #1 overall, especially because of the short stories.  I'll be back for more.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Spawn will want to read Gunslinger Spawn.

[This comic book includes three back-up stories and “Spawning Ground” Presents “The Breakdown,” which features an interview of Brett Booth.]


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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