Gunslinger Spawn #17 Review

Writer: Todd McFarlane

Artists: Brett Booth & Adelso Corona

Colorist: Ivan Nunes

Letterer: Tom Orzechowski

Cover Artists: Simone Bianchi & Franchesco Tomaselli

Publisher: Image

Price: 2.99

Release Date: February 15, 2023

Reviewer: David Dunham

Thrust through time into the present day, Gunslinger Spawn learns that some of his enemies still live. Yet the forces of Heaven and Hell hound him. Can he survive their constant attacks? Let’s charge into Gunslinger Spawn #17 and find out!

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With narrative boxes, dialogue balloons, and helpful footnotes, writer Todd McFarlane brings us up to speed on Gunslinger Spawn’s past without slowing down his battle with the Heavenly Host. Sound effects help us feel the pulverizing impacts as angels deliver blow after punishing blow. Reeling from the attacks, he interacts with someone from his past. This hallucination brings to mind Jake Lonergan in Cowboys & Aliens.

Gunslinger’s taken a host body and a name: Javier. He’s gained an ally in the hero Focus. He feels guilt for those he failed and concern for friends in danger. He may not be a good man—let alone a hero—but he protects those he cares about if he can. McFarlane grounds this titanic battle in real-world events. Earthly politics and war take on a supernatural flavor. This air of heightened reality may not convince atheists, agnostics, or even most believers of Judeo-Christian teachings. Yet it links this series with our chaotic times. We hear of someone named McCormick. How does he relate to all this? And what about Javier’s desperate final act? Is it fanciful or believable? Who cares? It’s fun!


Yellow upper-case letters in brown narrative boxes ground us as the battle tears the ground apart. Clad in Romanesque armor, the angels remind us of the stylized heroes and villains that propelled Image to Number One thirty years ago. So what if the angels can unleash their heavenly fury upon Gunslinger Spawn? Spurts and jets of blood show their vulnerability. Exposed portions of their faces reveal their pain as Javier fights back. Direction lines trace pulverizing blows that never obscure the furious detail of their muscles and wings. Javier’s ally Focus seems a creature of living metal, all shades of blues that reflect light and absorb darkness. Colorful, dynamic dialogue balloons hint at the power and emotions of each combatant.

A fusion of rock guitarist Slash and Soloman Kane on acid, Gunslinger Spawn’s brown and black clothes bristle with arms, chains, and skulls. A black Top Hat rides his head and a red jacket flutters and whips as he rebounds from constant attacks. Yet he’s no Stephen Strange. We glimpse his burned, scarred face thanks to a torn mask. His eyes blaze with ethereal light as he slashes with his knife and fires his six-shooters. Is he a nightmare or the living embodiment of fury? Perhaps a few panels could have sacrificed detail for clarity. One character–seen only once–may come off more as a type than an individual. But those seem like minor concerns against panels and pages choked with larger-than-life characters and such astonishing art.

Nor does coloring take a prayer break in Gunslinger Spawn #17. Ivan Nunes weaves a rich tapestry of color that adds reality to the characters, the cloudy sky, and even the rocky ground on which Javier and the angels battle. Speedster Focus tears blue lines in the air and leaves rivulets of blue flowing in his wake. Green light hazes and crackles off Javier’s white glowing eyes, and areas of skin, clothing, armor, and weapons reveal degrees of illumination and shadow. White streaks accompany direction lines from angelic blows. Javier’s boots cast the dirt beneath his feet into the fractured air like paint splatters. Brett Booth, Adelso Corona, and Ivan Nunes deliver a masterful blend of characters, actions, and settings that hurtle you through twenty pages of coursing, writhing energy.

Final Thoughts

Gunslinger Spawn #17 rends asunder the veil separating contemporary events from supernatural struggles. Jaw-dropping art rides a revelatory story for a rock-and-roll thrill ride that will leave you breathless, reeling, and gasping for more.



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