Review – Batman/Spawn #1 – Haunted Gotham

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Batman/Spawn #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman/Spawn #1 – Todd McFarlane, Writer; Greg Capullo, Artist; Dave McCaig, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: The age of the comic book crossover led to some crazy events, including a series of DC/Marvel crossovers featuring elite characters and creative teams. Those days are largely over now, due to the mouse shutting down all crossovers with the characters, but we still get a large number of DC crossovers with other properties—most famously a trilogy featuring Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, this crossover with the popular Spawn franchise from Image Comics may just be the biggest one in a long time. With iconic Batman and Haunt artist Greg Capullo on board and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane writing, it’s a huge event—but to enjoy it, you probably need to enjoy Spawn.

Parallels. Via DC Comics.

The Spawn line of books, based around an undead soldier who becomes a demonic superhero, has over three hundred issues of lore to it, and I was expecting a continuity-dense read. While there were references here I didn’t really understand, I was surprised that there were so little of the iconic Spawn characters as well. It’s really just Al Simmons, the title character, as he seeks to avenge the death of his late wife Wanda—who seems to have died the same day and time as Batman’s mother Martha. This is an odd central plot, with the Court of Owls—a group that Capullo originated the design for—as the central villains. And while they lurk in the background with their signature Talons, it’s really the two heroes who seem to be in the most conflict.

Batman and Spawn are not natural allies, and the two nearly try to kill each other before eventually working together. It’s hard to figure out where this fits in continuity, with Joker appearing in a way that dates back almost ten years to a mostly-forgotten plot. The art is great, but this issue suffers from feeling much more like a Spawn issue guest-starring Batman than a DC comic—the writing style is very distinctly McFarlane and can be a little ponderous, and Batman’s dialogue sometimes feels distinctly off—being willing to sacrifice Spawn to the Court at one point, for instance. This works best as a fusion of Greg Capullo’s two most famous properties, and a brilliant showcase for his art.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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