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Rat City #1
Image Comics

Comic Books

‘Rat City’ #1 pushes the legend of Spawn into the future

A truly bold expansion of the Spawn universe.

Reading Rat City #1, I had a singular thought I kept returning to: “This is really cool.” The concept of a futuristic Spawn? Cool. His design? Cool. A creative team that understands what makes Spawn work and applying it to a new character? Very cool. Even the setup has cool baked into it: former soldier Peter Cairn is wounded in the line of duty, and is now attempting to seek out a living – or what passes for it – in the titular Rat City. But the events of Spawn #300-301 wind up rippling across time and space and forever change Cairn’s life in ways he has yet to comprehend.

Writer Erica Schultz has clearly read up on the Spawn mythos, and it shows throughout Rat City #1. “Rat City”, after all, was the name of the alleyways where the hellish anti-hero first made his home. Cairn also shares a few things in common with Al Simmons besides the power of a Hellspawn: both of them were also soldiers. Schultz even layers in some piercing observations about how the government treats veterans, and how some soldiers use war as an excuse to fuel their own bloodlust. It’s an angle that I hope continues throughout the book; having new creators flesh out different parts of the Spawn universe will help Todd McFarlane make sure his creation continues to thrive.

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Artist Ze Carlos helps shape the futuristic world of Rat City, making it stand out from the supernatural world of Spawn. Soldiers have sleek, gunmetal-gray armor; that same material is what Cairn’s legs are composed of, their shape betraying their inhuman origins. Carlos even designs a new Spawn costume for Cairn that incorporates this future technology while still keeping the trademark Spawn design. Spawn even appears-albeit briefly – on the final page, and Carlos makes sure he looks properly imposing.

Interestingly enough, Rat City #1 boasts a trio of colorists in Jay David Ramos (pages 1-20), FCO Plascencia (pages 21-24) and Marcello Iozolli (pages 25-32). All three employ the same use of bright red, neon green and cobalt blue that comprises the futuristic landscape of Rat City. I will say that since he has the majority of pages in the book, it’s Ramos’s work that both sets the overall visuals for this comic. Schultz pulls double duty with lettering the book, and her work is a fair approximation of longtime Spawn letterer Tom Orchezwowski.

Rat City #1 is a truly bold expansion of the Spawn universe, as it takes the elements you’ve come to know and love and puts a futuristic spin on them. The rest of the “New U” should take hints from this debut; it may be Spawn’s world but there’s plenty of room for other characters to stand out.

Rat City #1
‘Rat City’ #1 pushes the legend of Spawn into the future
Rat City #1
Rat City #1 is a truly bold expansion of the Spawn universe, as it takes the elements you've come to know and love and puts a futuristic spin on them. The rest of the "New U" should take hints from this debut; it may be Spawn's world but there's plenty of room for other characters to stand out.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Erica Schultz crafts a futuristic world that has more than a few nods to Spawn lore.
Ze Carlos delivers a cyberpunk-influenced vision that feels unique to the world of Spawn.
Multiple colorists manage to stay in synch, with Jay David Ramos establishing the overall visual tone of the book.
A book that longtime Spawn fans and newcomers will both enjoy
Most of the issue is an extended origin story.
8.5
Great
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