Comic Review: Spawn: Origins Collection, Vol. 3

Published: December 15th, 2009
Written by: Todd McFarlane
Art by: Todd McFarlane

Image Comics, 160 Pages

Review:

Since I flew through Spawn: Origins Collection, Vol. 1 & 2, I figured that I’d jump right into the third volume. Plus, the second volume cut off in the middle of a two-part story that carries over into this one.

I guess the biggest takeaway from this volume is that the man behind Al Simmons a.k.a. Spawn’s fate, Jason Wynn, is transformed against his will into another kind of warrior, Anti-Spawn. He is sent to destroy Spawn and the two get locked into battle not knowing who each other is.

The Spawn vs. Anti-Spawn battle is pretty epic and Wynn’s new identity feels like a real foil for Spawn and his powers. Really though, their first confrontation just leaves you wanting more.

Additionally, this volume introduces us to psychoplasm, what it is, how it works and how the substance played a part in Jason Wynn’s betrayal of Al Simmons.

After the Anti-Spawn story, we learn about the Overlap and meet Harold Houdini, who was the Houdini of old, who transported himself to the Overlap and learned true magic. Once he comes into contact with Spawn, he starts to train him on how to better harness his power and how to coexist with his costume, which is a living entity and a symbiote with his body.

Where the last collection is where the series really started to find it’s footing, this is where Spawn, the character, starts to find his, after his battle with Anti-Spawn, his undoing of Simmonsville and his lessons with Houdini. This is where Spawn gets beyond all the brooding over the past and really starts to move forward. Not to say he isn’t still going to brood, he just evolves as a character with more control and a more focused purpose.

At this point, Greg Capullo took over for Todd McFarlane on the art duties of this series. McFarlane was still the creative force behind Spawn but his McFarlane empire was just getting started and focusing all of his attention to just Spawn wasn’t possible.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: The other Spawn: Origins collections and other early Image Comics releases, especially Youngblood and The Savage Dragon.

Comic Review: Spawn: Origins Collection, Vol. 2

Published: November 15th, 2011
Written by: Todd McFarlane
Art by: Todd McFarlane

Image Comics, 192 Pages

Review:

Well, after Spawn: Origins Collection, Vol. 1 left me wanting more, I had to jump right into this second volume.

This collection covers issues 7 through 14 but it omits issue 10, which I actually just read in chronological order because I still have my original Spawn comics up into issue twenty-something.

The first issue in this collection sees Spawn call out Overt-Kill in an effort to finish their intense battle from the previous issue. Spawn is intent on finishing the job and the second meeting between the two is pretty grand.

After that, there is an issue featuring Billy Kincaid and what happens to him after death. It also shows you what the different layers of Hell are like in the Spawn universe.

We then get introduced to Angela, who would become a pretty popular character in the Spawn series and would eventually move on into Marvel Comics, leaving Image and the Spawn series behind. She’s a character with a really weird journey through comic book history but she got her start in Spawn issue 9.

Probably the most important part of this collection is the two issue story arc that covers Spawn confronting his killer. While I remembered this being much more epic when peering back into my 13 year-old self’s memories, it was still a pretty good story but left a lot unresolved.

The final issue included in this collection is the first half of a tale that Violator tells to a group of kids, which then carries on into the first issue of Spawn: Origins Collection, Vol. 3.

This is a better group of stories than the first collection and it helped to enrich the Spawn mythos. Although, the first book is necessary in order to pick this one up. This is where Spawn started to figure out what it was and Todd McFarlane really found his footing in these issues.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: The other Spawn: Origins collections and other early Image Comics releases, especially Youngblood and The Savage Dragon.

Comic Review: Spawn: Origins Collection, Vol. 1

Published: May 19th, 2009
Written by: Todd McFarlane
Art by: Todd McFarlane

Image Comics, 160 Pages

Review:

Having just revisited the original miniseries for The Savage Dragon, I wanted to return to this original Image Comics title and relive the experience that enchanted me as a kid in the summer where I found myself wedged between seventh and eighth grade.

Spawn is only one of two original Image titles to have a really long lasting run that went beyond two decades. In fact, it is still published today. The other title that has outlasted everything else is The Savage Dragon.

These Spawn: Origins books are reprints of the original Spawn stories. This first collection covers issues 1 through 6. Reading this now was actually really cool, as it brought me back to that place I was when my thirteen year-old mind first picked these up. I actually still own the first twenty-something issues of Spawn.

The only real problem with reading these as a collection, is that there isn’t a narrative that holds it all together as one story. Each issue continued the overall saga but each can also be read as its own standalone tale. We do meet Spawn, those he loves, as well as the villains Violator, Malebolgia, Billy Kincaid and Overt-Kill. This collection just sort of ends where it ends and leaves it wide open to keep going forward in the series, as nothing is really resolved but ultimately, I’m just really pumped to get into volume two.

Revisiting the earliest Spawn stories, two decades later, was a better experience than revisiting The Savage Dragon. I feel like these have aged better than a lot of the other early Image Comics stuff that had a tendency to embrace some of the bad ’90s comic book tropes.

Spawn was the most iconic Image Comics character to come out of the original launch titles in 1992. He is still the most iconic Image Comics character today and that’s including characters from The Walking Dead, which became Image’s biggest powerhouse series.

This collection does a good job of reminding us of how cool and how important Spawn was when he debuted in 1992.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: The other Spawn: Origins collections and other early Image Comics releases, especially Youngblood and The Savage Dragon.

Documentary Review: The Image Revolution (2014)

Release Date: January 25th, 2014 (Amazing Arizona Comic Con)
Directed by: Patrick Meaney

Respect Films, Sequart, 81 Minutes

Review:

The cool thing about The Image Revolution is that it covers the coolest time in comic book publishing history and, as a fan, I lived through this when it was happening and it was honestly, the coolest thing that my young middle school brain got to experience. I used the word “cool” a lot in that run-on sentence but that’s what the early ’90s were all about: cool.

Image Comics was, by far, the coolest comic book company to ever exist. When seven of Marvel Comics’ top dogs left the company to breakout on their own and go independent, it was like the comic industry’s version of the punk rock revolution.

Here you have Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino and Whilce Portacio: all heavy hitter creators at Marvel, bucking the system and forever changing the game. These guys were superstars within the industry and after their revolution, became rock stars in pop culture.

This documentary covers why these guys felt the need to kiss away their steady careers and stick it to the man. It also follows the formation of Image Comics, the struggles they faced and how even after things seemed to fall apart, these guys all sort of found each other again, despite their young rebellious attitudes, their fallouts and their intense competition with one another. It also shows how each artist formed their own studios, what that meant and how all of this built a solid foundation for new and emerging talents to ply their trade independently. And truthfully, without Image Comics and what these guys did, there probably wouldn’t be The Walking Dead or McFarlane Toys.

This is an exciting documentary for fans of the comic book industry, especially Generation Xers that were savvy to this story, back in the day. It’s really cool seeing these guys, all these years later, reflecting on the details of how this all went down. While comic industry reporting was great back in the early ’90s and my friends and I knew the story, some details were unknown until now.