King Spawn launched with an exciting first issue that featured multiple characters, stories, and an exciting new era for Spawn. The first issue opens with an explosion of a school that gave Spawn the task of finding out who did it, only to discover it was a message to him. Now enraged with the notion innocent lives are being lost because of him, Spawn continues to get toyed with in the second issue.
This second issue is a bit slower, but nearly as disturbing as the first issue. Written by Sean Lewis with Javi Fernandez on art — and “additional words” by Todd McFarlane — the book opens with a very scary looking man giving us a sermon. There’s a cultish group preparing to enact terrible atrocities on the world, so it seems, and Spawn’s time is running out to stop them.
Much of this book deals with Spawn’s frustration with not being able to solve the mystery of who is pulling the strings and maybe rushing in too quickly. By Spawn’s side is She-Spawn and Marc, but if he had it his way he’d do this alone, quickly and quietly. Lewis is exploring Spawn’s inability to work with others, which helps show he’s got some growing to do now that he can’t be the loner hero.
Meanwhile, the enemy gets a bit more fleshing out, specifically two of the faithful that does the main villain’s bidding. This all leads to an attack on the Capitol building. It’s quite clear the build-up to this attack is meant to drudge up the fear and chaos we all felt on January 6th, but it doesn’t feel cheap. It’s more like a means to show how the villain is hauntingly similar to what we face today in America. In the end, Spawn is made a sucker and it’ll be interesting to see how Spawn grows from it.
The final sequence has one of the coolest Spawn full-page splashes ever. It features him blocking bullets with his cape, and the use of color by FCO Plascencia is out-of-this-world cool. Mood and atmosphere are on point in key scenes, like the opening headshot, and there’s a rather striking full-page splash of Spawn holding a big gun in front of the American flag that seems to harbor some deeper meaning. Even if not, it doesn’t really matter at face value since he looks so badass.
Art can look a bit stuffy at times, though, with layouts using a blended technique that can look flat and too busy. There are a few uninteresting scenes of characters brooding, or simply walking around in an office-like interior, that don’t quite work.
One page, for instance, has Spawn holding a big gun at the top right. He looks very cool and the lighting is incredible, but the layout features three circle panels made up to look like the targets down Spawn’s rifle. Below that is a city shot with a red blob that is presumably Spawn’s cape, but it’s littered with dialogue, making it even more confusing. That’s followed by a rather boring final panel with Terry in street clothes walking. The page itself feels cluttered, isn’t balanced well from across the page, and has uninteresting bits. That occurs here and there throughout the issue reducing its overall enjoyment level.
King Spawn #2 moves the plot along just enough to keep your interest. Some might take issue with it connecting to the Capitol insurrection, but it is done in a way that carries emotion that doesn’t feel cheap. This book also has multiple gorgeous panels and pages, but can also feel clunky, overly wordy, or oddly laid out. That all adds up to a book that is less than perfect, that isn’t quite kingly, but the crown can still be attained.
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