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King Spawn #16

Review by Paul Bowler

Al Simmons grand design to bring Wanda back is revealed in at last in King Spawn #16 as the Deadzones become a key move in Spawn’s opening gambit. The pieces are all in place. Both friend and foe alike now face the insurmountable challenge ahead as ambition and power in the quest to claim the throne of Hell heats up! This issue of King Spawn has been touted as a great jumping on point for new readers. Indeed, it is exactly that, and the finely orchestrated narrative writer Sean Lewis has established with this series, arguably the jewel in the crown of the Spawn’s Universe of titles, ultimately comes to fruition with King Spawn #16 in a way that is both satisfying for long-term readers and easily accessible for newcomers. Multiple forces have conspired on all sides to influence Spawn: Raven said he was a pawn in his own game, the Clown deemed him a failure, a court of religious zealots call him a King, and even the goddess Gaia claimed he could bring his believed wife, Wanda, back from the dead. Even as his closest friends fell by the wayside, some even betraying him, Spawn’s actions have become more, and more ruthless as his obsession with the throne of Hell consumed him.

Now he has opened the Deadzones just enough to allow himself and his enemies a peek inside at the havoc he has wrought beyond the veil of reality itself. Sean Lewis juggles a cavalcade of plot threads and dark machinations here which have been carefully set out over the last fifteen issues. Its fascinating to learn the cosmic fury and cataclysm Spawn has unleashed since he closed the Deadzones – effectively cutting Heaven and Hell off from those they have tormented and manipulated since time began; while also trapping their minions who didn’t have time to escape back to their own realms here on Earth.

We get a startling insight into the lofty Angels that have become subservient in order to make sacrifices to themselves, demons who are suffering a twisted energy crisis of mass proportions as they no longer have fresh souls to fuel the fires of their depravity, and the dark cabals of man who impotently prostrate their faith to the forces which no longer hold sway over them. Amidst this potent smelting pot of treachery and betrayal, Al’s best friend, Terry, must make a fateful choice, while Spawn assembles those he’s chosen to do his bidding, sending them on a suicide mission with the prize of success the very throne of Hell itself.

From the moment you cast your gaze over this issues ominous looking cover by artists Puppeteer Lee  and Francesco Mattina, you know you are in for something really special from this issue of King Spawn. The interior artwork by Javi Fernandez is quite literally mind-blowing. The epic scope and scale is staggering, as we peel back the veil and observe events cascading  between realities, with glimpse into Heaven, Hell and the infinite beyond as Fernandez channels some classic Kirby inspired cosmic visuals. The result is one hell of a mind-trip through the worlds and times of Spawn, past and present, with each moment carefully framed and grounded in its own reality with Javi Fernandez’s distinct visual style. There’s even a subtle moment of reflection for one character that throws an unexpected curve ball into the mix. This powerful moment, darkly punctuated with shadow over a drink in a seedy backstreet bar is perhaps even more shocking than any of the eyeball popping visual spectacles of multiple realities we spiral through over the course of this issue. The color by FCO Plascencia  and Color Flats by Sheila Saldana provide a sublime  contrast to Fernandez’s art, balancing exuberant tone with wrath filled shadows as the voyage through the intermixed realities of Spawn’s Universe is set out with fervent detail and clarity.

King Spawn #16 is without doubt a standout issue, monumental in scope, visually stunning, and one that elevates the saga of Spawn to a whole new level. The creative team are really firing on all cylinders with this one, and with a surprise arrival of a new Monster-God providing a fittingly epic cliff-hanger, King Spawn is sure to become a must read from here on in. If you like your Spawn unflinchingly brutal, in-your-face dark and gritty, then King Spawn is the comic for you.

Publisher Image Comics

Script / Plot Sean Lewis  / (Additional Script Todd McFarlane)

Art Javi Fernandez / Color FCO Plascencia / Color Flats Sheila Saldana

Lettering Andworld Design / Cover Artists Puppeteer Lee / Francesco Mattina

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook