Oliver Davis reviews Spawn #236…
“Having survived the first round of his showdown with the K7-Leetha, Jim seeks to make amends for past sins. But his struggle for control is only just beginning. While Jim is distracted, his enemies continue to further their own efforts as Clown and Bludd have a showdown. And another familiar face returns in a most unexpected role…”
Jim Downing’s Spawn doesn’t get much attention in #236. He bookends the issue, appearing in a brief epilogue to the events of #235, where he was trapped in the “white zone,” at the start, and a poignant, meditative monologue atop a bridge at the end. The big emo.
The rest of the issue concerns Spawn’s antagonists: the recently returned vampire, Bludd, and old foe Clown. The former is after Jim’s suit, while the latter is simply after God. They have similar goals, but there isn’t much honour between the two.
The issue’s central scene is a terrific, sparring of wits duologue between them both. It doesn’t take soon for betrayal. Clown’s main weapon against God, a fallen angel named Victoria, is revealed as now under Bludd’s control. She’s been turned into a vampire angel. Yeah, a vampire angel. Just let it sink in how cool that is for a moment.
Particular mention must go to Tom Orzechowski’s lettering here, an often overlooked element in comics. Upon realising he has been crossed, Clown whimpers a tiny ‘no’. Both its size, dwarfed within a sparse, echoey word balloon, and its lower-case selection (the rest of the issue is in capitals) makes for a perfect inflection of tone. The word almost ejects unbidden from under your own breath when reading.
But the big reveal is Clown’s other secret weapon, and how maybe he wasn’t as crossed as he first appeared. Something emerges from the shadows, almost Lovecraftian in its submerged shade, “ANOTHER WARRIOR OF GOD’S WHO’S BEEN BITTEN…MY REDEEMER.”
He sounds important.