MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4 by Brian Haberlin and Brian Holguin
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4 succeeds most in the realistic and highly detailed artstyle, the careful attention to our heroes' personalities, and the fun yet dark team-up atmosphere. Where it falls, though, comes from its rushed perspective. This final entry in the miniseries simply tries to do too much in too short a space.
85 %
Rushed Adventure
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Though from different Image imprints, the SPAWN and WITCHBLADE series put the company on the map. Both have printed hundreds of issues each, and their supernatural horror roots gives these stories a welcome grittiness. As such, combining these properties only makes sense. Now, in MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4, the epic miniseries finally reaches its end. But with so much history and popularity backing this story up, does the finale fall a little short?

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The time has finally come for the team-up of the century to happen. King Valon, the medieval Spawn, has found the source of the demon attacks. His former lover and fiancee has joined an unholy trinity of witches, and together, they have set the countryside ablaze. Only Valon and the young host for the Witchblade, Starling, can stop them. However, they will need all of their power to stop this present darkness, and as secrets come to light, no one will leave this battle unscathed.

Damnation and Entropy

MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4
MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4, Page 1. Courtesy of Image Comics

The MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE miniseries has felt rather patient. Writers Brian Holguin and Brian Haberlin have crafted a slowly evolving tale that has seemed truly epic until this point. The story mirrored the same wondrous and frightening atmosphere as LORD OF THE RINGS. For the most part, MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4 captures that same feeling. The way these writers tackle this vicious fight sequence feels climactic and brutal. The fight becomes deeply satisfying when Starling and Valon join forces. I also really enjoyed the context these writers put in this story. They allowed it to slip outside of canon, if need be. They placed it in the realm of legend, allowing future writers to choose whether or not to include it.

I did feel as if this story simply went way too fast. From page one, MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4 suffers in ways that previous issues haven’t. In those stories, information slowly came to the reader. They gave us time to chew on the story and enjoy the fight sequences. Here, it all feels so rushed. You could feel that Holguin and Haberlin have so much more of this story to tell. With this rushed feeling, though, the new information we get feels a bit anticlimactic. We don’t have time to process any of it before the issue’s end. I even felt that the final fight could have lasted longer. For all the build up thus far, the battle with the Unholy Trinity barely takes up any space. This series has not been afraid of gory, gritty fights. I don’t understand why they stepped back in this final issue.

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The Hero’s Journey

MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4
MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4, Page 2. Courtesy of Image Comics

I suppose this rushed feeling can be applied to the characterization of MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4. The focus never really falls on our heroes and their thoughts and emotions. However, I didn’t feel as if this was a problem. Up until this point, Valon, Starling, and Sea Hawk, our three main characters, have received some decent, well-rounded character arcs. Nothing great, but enough. I’ve come to care about these characters, and to see their basic interactions feels rather satisfying. This section of the story isn’t meant to be an intricate character analysis. It simply looks to examine these characters in this time of deep stress. For the most part, it succeeds at that.

I didn’t feel as happy with the characterization of the villains. The Unholy Trinity really didn’t feel that compelling. They didn’t have any true motivation. They were there to look cool and to be villainous. In some ways, this works. It gives these characters a chance to really exercise their combative muscles without any deep thought. Still, I wanted a lot more from these powerful witches. MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4 does suffer a little from their lack of characterization. They might as well have remained a faceless, monstrous entity. As they stand now, I have so many more questions than answers about their purpose.

Living and Breathing

MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4
MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4, Page 3. Courtesy of Image Comics

If nothing else draws readers to MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4, then Brian Haberlin’s art will. His style is utterly beautiful, keeping a deep realism at its core. The amount of detail he includes in every page is nothing short of incredible. The chainmail of Spawn’s armor alone must take hours of work just to capture that much detail. But Haberlin did it, and it gives this story a great deal of worth. I especially love his monster design. The final appearance of the Unholy Trinity looks perfectly grotesque and nightmarish. More importantly, he captures the combat sequences in really elaborate and dynamic ways. That final fight scene sings simply because Haberlin put his pen to it.

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MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4: Final Thoughts

This miniseries has come to an end, and despite its problems, MEDIEVAL SPAWN AND WITCHBLADE #4 is a fun team-up story. In the end, the problems of this issue could be fixed with a fifth entry in the series. The way it stands now, too much important information goes to waste due to the rushed nature of the story. However, that doesn’t detract from the things that work so well for this story. The atmosphere is absolutely perfect. This is a dark story, filled with supernatural horrors unlike any I have seen in comics before. It really is a dark joy to page through and see this world come to life. Plus, as the ending seems to suggest a continuation of Valon’s story, I am excited to see how this story further impacts the world of Spawn.

One Comment

  1. Brian Haberlin

    August 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    There was a editorial miscommunication with this issue. The last page is not what it was intended to look like. If you download the AR app we put the correct page in it. The page is correct in digital formats and for upcoming Trade.

    Best,

    Brian Haberlin

    Reply

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