A new era has only just begun in the pages of Spawn and already the tension is mounting. For this Image comic, past plotlines are finally coming together and I couldn’t be happier. For longtime fans of the comic like myself, there’s a certain feeling of joy that comes with knowing the series has made it to its 20th anniversary. That’s 20 long years the comic has been around! In Spawn #221 we find the current Hellspawn Jim Downing getting closer to solving the elaborate mystery of his forgotten past and his ties to the mysterious “The Project” which somehow turned Jim into a Hellspawn in the first place. Though we don’t get any answers this issue, #221 definitely is setting the stage for some huge revelations in store for Jim. Todd McFarlane returning to pen the series that made him a household name is certainly welcomed.
That mentioned, this issue is pretty straightforward, with heavy dialougue and a dark tone established very early on. The opening begins with a very vivid and creepy nightmare from the main character Jim Downing. Major kudos to artist Syzmon Kudranski for providing some truly exceptional artwork in the first few pages. The whole nightmarish sequence really highlights Jim’s struggle with his sanity as the suit he now relies on more than ever is taking over. Ultimately, we discover he is addicted to the power it gives him as it was briefly alluded to in previous issues.
Moving on, Jim’s waking life doesn’t seem to fare much better. Despite his ever growing popularity with the media, his sanity amidst living a double life is starting to wear thin, very thin. It’s a concept explored in other superhero comics, the struggle to find a balance between alter-ego and secret identity posing as a significant plotline. The only difference is Spawn or rather Jim is no hero. He doesn’t like the role nor does he enjoy the media frenzy and illegal merchandising surrounding his name. He is only a man trying to piece together his past.
Yep, being considered a savior to hundreds if not thousands of people is difficult indeed when you never wanted to be. This has become a recurring theme ever since Jim took up the mantle of Spawn and it definitely will continue to be a prominent one as his story unfolds. He is afterall on everyone’s radar. I can’t see that changing any time soon. Things definitely pick up a bit from here as Jim manically tries to dig up answers to his past in files he acquired about the mysterious and elusive “The Project.” It’s the whole “find a blank wall and paste all the information you compiled” situation that highlights Jim’s descent into madness.
So yeah, he’s that far gone folks. This especially works here for the reader’s case in particular because we all have been wondering just who the heck Jim is and most importantly how he connects with the earlier arcs of the Spawn series if you’ve been following this long. If not then that’s understandable as this new arc is meant to take Spawn in new directions by being very welcoming to new readers.
The issue culminated in the return of a Spawn villain alum, Tremor! Along with his return came startling news for Jim, as Tremor revealed that he is the product of “The Project.” This revelation will likely pose some interesting questions and further revelations as we move forward with the story.
All-in-all Spawn #221 lived up to its hype. Again, not much went on in this issue, but the stage is merely set to include some substantial answers ahead for Jim. And of course that’s not a bad thing when you have a comic based on such an obscure main character. One thing is for sure though, we’re all along for the ride, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.