The eternal war between heaven and hell came to a brief halt when Spawn closed the portals to these planes. Now, a small rift has appeared, allowing Spawn’s enemies to escape. First to appear are Kincaid and Jason Wynn, who form a terrorist cult named Psalms 137 to lure Spawn into their trap. Their sigil takes the Hellspawn-turned-vigilante on a journey from his childhood neighborhood in Detroit to the forests of Botswana where he realizes Psalms 137’s goal. Published by Image Comics, King Spawn #7 sets the scene where Al Simmons’ rogues’ gallery has united to anoint him as the ruler of all realities and to widen the rift, allowing supernatural forces to take over Earth.

King Spawn #7, written by Sean Lewis and Todd McFarlane with artwork from Javi Fernandez, Thomas Nachlik, and FCO Plascencia, brings Simmons back to the place where he first began his crimefighting career: New York City. The story opens with Spawn and his former army mate Terry Fitzgerald fighting the mercenary forces of the Exodus Foundation, the company bankrolling Psalms 137. In reality, all of these are a front for Spawn’s enemies who are waiting to see the Hellspawn ascend the throne made from the bones of his fallen adversaries. As Spawn approaches the cabal, in-fighting breaks out between Mammon and Black Azreal that ends in a fatal encounter, revealing the true mastermind.

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King Spawn #7 retains the raw, violent energy that the series started with but lacks the noir influences of its predecessors. Award-winning playwright Sean Lewis has co-created several acclaimed titles for Image Comics, such as The Scorched and The Few. He has a knack for understanding the heart of his characters, but his flair for the dramatic often overshadows the need for depth in the plot. The book delves deep into exposition and takes the entire length of the issue to help build the story and set up potential futures for the series. This gives the issue too little time for plot progression, leaving the narrative in an incoherent state. However, the barrage of fiery action coupled with the unexpected cameos more or less makes up for it.

The artwork of King Spawn #7 presents one of the most gruesome, gory spectacles to ever grace the pages of a comic book. Everything about the pencil work screams of tremendous power and fist-clenching tension. The ink hatchings are equally up to the task, giving the panels the darkness that they seek. Artists Javi Fernandez and Thomas Nachlik work together to give the comic book a dark, gloomy atmosphere. Colorist FCO Plascencia, meanwhile, whips up a storm using bright primary colors in juxtaposition with muted earthly tones to set the aesthetic of the book. Plascencia’s colors look gorgeous in wide panels and imposing splash pages, making the book appealing for fans.

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King Spawn #7 is a macabre tale with stunning artwork and heavy world-building that takes the rage-filled, undead protagonist on a painful walk through memory lane. For new fans of the comic book, this gives them an opportunity to get acquainted with the characters and their history. Like every other Spawn comic series, the characters in this issue always seem on edge, resorting to violence at the drop of a hat. While historically, that usually follows up with an unexpected turn of events or a narrative link, in this issue it is purely ceremonial. King Spawn #7 ends with the appearance of a major Spawn antagonist, ushering in new prospects of storytelling.

KEEP READING: Todd McFarlane Homages Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 Cover for Spawn Spinoff Variant

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