After the mixed results of last month’s issue, I am happy to report that SPAWN #255 is a return to form for Image Comics’ longest-running title.

This is most evident in the art department. Jonboy’s pencils are tight as ever, while Laura Martin’s return as the book’s sole colorist lends the entire issue the consistency of tone and quality missing in #254. Scenes are rendered with an admirable balance of color and shading, creating that brooding and eye-catching vibe that helped classic SPAWN issues stand out among the visually oversaturated superhero books of the 90’s. The overall look is that of modern techniques creating old school awesomeness.

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Speaking of “old school,” issue 255 is written by none other than Todd McFarlane, creator of SPAWN and champion of creator-owned comics since the early 90’s. While I do not know why Paul Jenkins is absent from writing duties this time around, I can say that McFarlane turns in a solid script which, like the art, should feel utterly classic to fans familiar with his early work on the series.

READ: OUR REVIEW OF ODY-C #6, ANOTHER STRONG SERIES FROM IMAGE COMICS!

Al Simmons, still in the presence of the demon lady introduced in last month’s issue, receives another tempting offer from Hell, opting instead to injure demon so he might intentionally earn her master’s ire. Afterwards, Al attends Wanda’s funeral in secret, a scene that hits me right in the proverbial “feels.”

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He later confronts a  distraught Terry Blake, Wanda’s husband and father to their children, in the hope of learning the circumstances of Wanda’s death. It’s an emotional scene that firmly establishes the book’s dramatic side. While Al departs to find some answers, the shape-changing demon lady returns to her master–a giant figure drawn by McFarlane–to inform him of Spawn’s non-cooperation.

Only in SPAWN does it make perfect sense to transition from bloody demon battles to a dramatic conversation between characters who wouldn’t be out of place in a soap opera, then back to demon stuff.

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As a long-time fan of all things SPAWN,  I appreciate how the current creative team has melded classic and modern aspects of comic book design to craft a book that feels “old school” while holding its own against the offerings of today’s market. This issue brought back to me the excitement I felt when reading SPAWN: RESURRECTION, the enthusiasm with which I was looking to the future of comics’ most enduring creator-owned title.

I’ll happily stay on board as SPAWN continues its dark saga.

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