Written by Devin Arscott
The Spawn Universe has expanded once more, and it’s hotter than ever with the stunning debut of The Scorched, the first team comic set in the Spawn mythos. The Scorched follows four of his allies; She-Spawn, Redeemer, Gunslinger Spawn, and Medieval Spawn, as they bring the pain in their search for Plague Spawn. I’ll be the first person to say that this book hits you with such 90s nostalgia that I swore I’ve read this book before and is very much a Spawn book even without the main character headlining the title.
Jumping into the first few pages, Sean Lewis establishes the overall plot of the title, which is to find the Plague Spawn, before going into the team’s origin. Initially, Spawn brought everyone together to wipe out a cell of the Psalm 137 Military Division based somewhere in Russia. As the group (Minus Gunslinger) slaughters the opposition, Spawn leaves She-Spawn and the others to clean up the mess as he gifts them the entire fortress to act as their base of operations. Left to their own devices, She-Spawn gives the team a new mission and the head off to recruit the last piece of the puzzle for this black ops team of hard-hitting hellspawns. My favorite part of the group coming together has to be when Gunslinger burns the corpses of his enemies to form the name that he gave the group, which made for one badass Splash Page.
There are a lot of action scenes packed tightly into most of the book, with great expressive art from both Stephen Segovia and Paulo Siqueira, paired with the vivid and vibrant colors from the dual-coloring team of Ulises Arreola and Nikos Koutsis. As someone who’s been anticipating this release, I couldn’t be any happier with this expansion of Spawn’s world, and I think the entire creative team functions very well together as it stands. Todd McFarlane placed good faith in these creators, and for good reason. We are most likely in for an even wilder ride once the team has passed Spawn’s test, as there’s a big war brewing, and The Scorched are going to be the ones at the front of it all when the time comes.
Another thing that made me happy reading this comic is that not a single character sounds dull or portrayed as uninteresting. I adore the chemistry between everyone, from Gunslinger’s ruthlessness to She-Spawn showing her softer side. It made for top-notch reading. Each character bounces off one another with such organic dialogue that enhances the book. Heck! Even Spawn sounds like he would when Todd writes the dialogue in the main title, which is a testament to how well crafted this comic was. As a comic writer myself, I believe that tight dialogue really can set the tone of a book, so when it is done poorly and feels clunky or forced, it can ruin even the best of comics, no matter how good the art is. Trust me; there are tons of examples in both the past and present comic material.
Now I will say that there was at least one downside of this issue, which the comic editing side of my brain could not stop mulling over. On page 44 of this issue, Gunslinger uses the incorrect word when he asks his teammates if they noticed things were off in the area. I just could not fathom that nobody caught that he said, “Hey!…Did you here that?” instead of “Hey!…Did you hear that?”.
I’m sure that someone has noticed and will correct it for the trade paperback release in the future, but boy, that really did bother me, and I think it’s hilarious. If anyone at Image reads this, please know that I’m always available to edit a Spawn book in the future and will keep this from happening. Kidding, of course…or am I?
All jokes aside, though, as a 90s kid who loves Spawn, this book has lots of potential to be the best book in the Spawn Universe, giving us that nonstop action with a solid plot that many of us crave. As far as reader friendliness, I’d say that if you’re new to the Spawn side of Image, then it’s best to get familiar with things and start from an earlier point to get a feel for the cast, but for those Spawn fanatics out there you can jump headfirst into this no problem. Here’s to a bright, Scorched future, my friends!