Batman / Spawn with the Dark Knight's face in the background and the Hellspawn in the foreground.

Batman / Spawn #1 Review

Written by: Todd McFarlane

Art by: Greg Capullo

Inking by: Todd McFarlane

Coloring by: Dave McCaig

Lettering by: Tom Napolitano

Editing by: Ben Abernathy, Marie Javins

Batman / Spawn falling down side by side.

Batman / Spawn is a rare book where I think it would have been better with no narration. Maybe even no dialogue. I say this because Greg Capullo reminds us why he may just be the best artist to ever draw both of these characters. His art shows a story of how Batman and Spawn come together in their mutual mourning (and lack of therapy). Todd McFarlane’s writing tells us the story.

When you’re writing, one of the things you want to do is show, not tell. You don’t want to tell the audience why something is happening, you want to show it. You don’t want to tell the audience how characters are developing, you want to show it. And you don’t want to tell the audience the themes of the story all the time, you want to show them. Batman / Spawn commits the cardinal sin of constantly telling the audience what is happening as we try to read it as it happens. The worst thing is, the ‘telling’ going on doesn’t make much sense.

Was Batman Meeting Spawn a Good Idea?

Batman / Spawn swinging through the sky.

This issue makes it seem like Batman and Spawn having a crossover is a bad idea. Batman needs some bullshit way to be able to fight to Spawn with the dead zones, and Spawn needs some bullshit reason… to do anything. They don’t get along, but they don’t have real tension either. Both characters just spit their ideologies at each, ideologies the readers already know. They have little reason to stick together or trust each other, they just do and then barely get mad when they’re opposing views come into conflict.

Also, I don’t know if the dead zone concept is from the Spawn comic, admittedly. I don’t think it matters, because it feels lame in the way Kryptonite can be lame. It’s a plot device that truly only sets up two thematically cool moments. Moments, mind you, that are undercut by the narration telling you what you’re supposed to be getting out of each panel.

Should You Skip It?

Batman / Spawn side by side.

This left the plot feeling very bland, and not very interesting. The ending sets up a sequel with an interesting premise at that, but it feels unearned. Honestly, if Greg Capullo wasn’t such a tour de force with every page, this book would just be okay. Capullo catapults Batman / Spawn into something that still feels special when the narrative isn’t. His panels do an excellent job of illustrating what the characters are about. The way he contrasts them against each, especially on splash pages, works better than any narration or dialogue. He clearly understands them on a deeply emotional level, and he captures their differences in ways that highlight their similarities.

All-in-all, these crossover books don’t happen as often as I would like, which does inherently make this book special. The art just barely makes the whole thing worth it, but if you’re expecting a decent story, it’s not there. It’s not even much of an action flick. Take with that what you will.

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