Writer: Todd McFarlane
Art: Greg Capullo, Dave McCaig, Tom Napolitano, and Todd McFarlane
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: December 13th, 2022
Two dark heroes, cursed by tragedy, find their paths again crossing…but not by choice in this week’s Batman/ Spawn #1 by Todd McFarlane! What sinister foe is at work, pitting the Dark Knight against the Hellspawn? From the shadows of Gotham City to New York City, this epic event is the blockbuster you’ve been waiting almost two decades for!
What an intriguing twist of stories that Todd McFarlane intertwines together between the two main characters. However, the unique twist involving Martha Wayne’s pearls was genius and extremely thought-provoking. My mind kind of went all over the place as soon as I heard that plot thread. “Wait, what if there was something placed in his mother’s pearls that caused her to die that night? What could it have been? And why would Thomas put it there? And what would the Court of Owls need it for?” Dang, now that’s fantastic storytelling. When a writer can throw one small wrench into a story to drive the reader’s mind down half a dozen rabbit holes in the matter of one small sentence. Just WOW! That’s impressive by McFarlane and an angle never explored by any writer to date.
Additionally, I love the narration. The concept of a person almost totally outside the story is foreign to most comics now. The narrator is almost always someone physically in the story. So, hearing the narrator describe Batman’s injuries was solid storytelling. Moreover, the semi-logic behind how the characters become practically even (fighting-wise) is certainly mystical and a bit convoluted… but McFarlane STILL addresses it because it makes logical sense in the story. Spawn should have his way with an unprepared Batman based solely on his powers. Therefore, McFarlane acknowledges this immediately and evens the playing field making the rest of Batman/ Spawn #1 more believable.
Yet, even with these already stellar contextual questions, the one that continues my thought process further was the element of Batman somehow controlling the Court of Owls! Again, imagine that storyline?!?! If Batman went off the rails but became the Grand Master of the Court of Owls (or whatever the head of the Court would be). My point is that once again, McFarlane sends my thoughts and questions down another rabbit hole of possibilities chasing this comic fan to wonder why the &#&@ he’s not writing Batman even if it’s a long-running Elseworld series.
Nevertheless, the carrots continue to drop more and more as the Joker enters the picture along with what appears to be the promise of the Violator. Readers, Batman/ Spawn #1 just continues to deliver little nuggets of intriguing plot threads alongside these pockets of action that will keep you interested. It’s almost as if McFarlane is partially retconning specific background facts of Batman, telling his own unique narrative, and using Spawn as a catalyst.
Now, as an all-inclusive story, Batman/ Spawn does take you on a pretty wild ride. Batman/ Spawn #1 even ends with the potential for more crossover goodness in the future. It appears as though there may have been a switch-a-roo involved that will need to be further investigated by Batman and the Hellspawn. And like any good writer, McFarlane dangles those possibilities right at the end of the issue in hopes to entice readers to get excited for more. Well, if you enjoyed Batman/ Spawn #1 as much as I did, then buy it up, get some of the variants, and do your part to spread the word in hopes DC Comics and Image Comics continue this partnership. Because the more buzz and monetary value they see hemorrhaging from the crossover, the harder it will be to halt future production.
Batman/ Spawn #1 showcases the horror tone that Greg Capullo has always brought to his style of illustrations as well as the brutality he manages to slyly sneak into his stories. Look no further than his Joker from the Death in the Family that he ultimately reinvigorates in these very pages. My goodness is it gross. You’ll want to turn away but you’ll find yourself locked in like watching a train wreck. Moreover, Capullo is all about subtle detail that when given the opportunity to merely graze through the issue, you’ll notice some key aspects of the comic that you never noticed before. For example, there is a moment when Batman and Spawn are at the Bat Cave. And you’ll see Batman taking a drink from a shaker bottle that has the Batman Logo on it. Now, it’s totally unnecessary BUT it’s totally something sly Capullo would sneak into a comic. Nevertheless, I would be foolish not to mention the plethora of exquisite variant covers worth the buy. From throwback homage variants to newly updated hot takes, readers will have the pick of the litter.
Batman/ Spawn #1 is dark, heavy, and oozing with potential that merely scratches the surface. It blends the two universes together well showcasing Batman’s wit, Spawn’s frightening abilities, and the driving force that simultaneously intertwined them both. One much darker and more violent than the other, these two both use the same tactics, however, we realize the true thematic principle differentiating them both is Batman’s humanity. Yet the intriguing plot threads and potential story beats aren’t the only things driving this epic crossover event. Batman/ Spawn #1 is brutal with this sheer frightening intensity manifesting directly from Capullo’s style and rendering. Readers, you will read this and feel instantly transported back to Snyder’s Batman run as well as the McFarlane/ Capullo run on Spawn. And don’t get me started again on the absolute potential of stories dripping from this single, oversized issue.
Furthermore, DC Comics, put McFarlane and Capullo on a Black Label Batman ongoing that places Batman in the center of the Court of Owls investigating his Mother’s death, seeing his Father’s involvement, and arranging Batman as the eventual leader of the Court. Think of the possibilities?!?! This is me merely suggesting providing written proof that I need absolutely no credit for this story. I just want to read the heck out of it! Overall, Batman/ Spawn #1 is a MUST-BUY to any Capullo fan, Snyder Batman fan, Spawn fan, and anyone looking for a dark, violent tale. Don’t wait to pick this up. Find time over your lunch break and go grab this issue as well as some of the outstanding variants. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!