Todd McFarlane’s Gunslinger Spawn has been a blast so far, tapping into the raw power of the early Spawn comics all while setting the titular gunslinger as an independent character within its universe. It’s been working quite well, thanks in part to McFarlane’s approach to character development via badass moments drenched in blood and violence.
The star of the show in this new series, though, is Brett Booth’s art. It’s gotten to the point that I can’t imagine anyone else taking on this Spawn other than him. In fact, Booth should draw Gunslinger Spawn till the end of time, and then continue doing so when time starts up again.
Issue #2 starts with the angel vs. gunslinger face-off that closed the first entry. A generations old feud is paving the Gunslinger’s path of destruction as he looks for the relatives of the man that left him to die back in his place of origin. Angels have descended to put a stop to his revenge mission, but they only seem to anger this Spawn even more. Ripped angel wings and shotgun blasts ensue.
The scripting is relentlessly fast-paced, with characters exchanging plot points through snappy banter and doing a fair bit of worldbuilding during action sequences. It keeps the story from feeling heavy-handed, although things feel a bit thin in the narrative department. It might become somewhat more complex as more playing blocks get thrown into the mix, but so far it’s pretty straightforward revenge tale.
Booth’s art on the other hand does wonders to elevate the storytelling, making each panel explode with detail and expression. It’s not enough to just say his work is kinetic. It’s moves and transitions like it has a life of its own. Characters derived from the original Spawn already possess that iconic quality found in the original design. Booth captures with the Gunslinger, but he adds a whole other level of presence to the character that allows him to forge a more unique identity.
Part of what makes this work is how brutal Booth’s pencils can be when capturing the rage and the emotion behind the Gunslinger’s actions. Al Simmons’ Spawn possess those same things, but there’s a sadness to him that shapes his existence differently. Booth’s Gunslinger has tragedy in his backstory, but red hot anger is his emotional anchor. This is a man that breathes heavy and walks with malice in his footsteps. Booth captures that all the time and it’s nothing short of impressive.
Gunslinger Spawn #2 is another great showcase of Brett Booth’s skills and they’re enough to warrant a purchase. The story itself might need a bit more kick to rise to the occasion, especially in the ‘man out of time’ aspects of it where the Gunslinger pokes fun at modern practices (which seems a bit forced), but the necessary elements for success are there. While the story catches up, though, you can just sit back and enjoy the art.
Story: Todd McFarlane Art: Brett Booth
Inks: Adelso Corona Colors: Andrew Dalhouse Lettering: Tom Orzechowski
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy for Booth’s art and look for his original pages at conventions!
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free review copy