Flashback, Part I (Spawn #12) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Flashback, Part I
Series: Spawn #12
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

Spawn is drawn to the top of the Church again. He ponders how the devil twists people’s souls with his secret weapon, people’s weakness to love. He recalls only being in a church once, which was to marry Wanda. He recalls Terry being there and how he was his best friend. How could Terry betray him and marry Wanda he wonders.

In Washington, D.C., CIA chief Jason Wynn is told by his henchmen that Terry is the number one suspect of compiling damaging information against his bosses and stolen goods. He orders his henchman to have several henchmen make the point clear that he knows about Terry’s secret dealings. He then tells the henchmen to watch him to see where he goes once he’s scarred.

In New York City, Spawn dresses in civilian clothes as he goes to visit Wanda’s blind Granny Blake. He tells her there is an afterlife and he expects her to reach Heaven. He leaves without the heart to tell her that he made it to Hell.

At New York City Police Headquarters, Twitch and Sam discuss how they are now on probation for what happened with Kincaid. Sam mentions it would be a good opportunity to follow up on the lead of the man in the red cape they spotted at Billy’s. He’s heard that he may have been involved in the bum incidents as well.

In Queens, New York, Wanda, Terry, and Cyan walk home to find several of Jason Wynn’s henchman waiting there. One remarks to Terry that he has a nice family and it would be a shame if anything happened to them.

Elsewhere, the bums celebrate the safety Spawn has given them. The celebration takes an ugly turn when a bum tries on Spawn’s mask, only to be nearly strangled by it. Spawn pulls it off and warns them he has no control over his suit and that the suit will attempt to protect itself.

Spawn suddenly experiences another flashback. He realizes that the American flag he keeps seeing in his visions represent his killer. The grim reaper he keeps seeing he realizes is the face paint of his killer. He keeps finding himself drawn to not just the church, but the chapel. He identifies his killer as Chapel.

My Thoughts:

Finally, things move forward a tiny step. I cannot imagine what kids went through who were originally reading this one issue each month. With this issue it would have been a whole year’s worth of comics, and for what? We know Spawn was a special forces guy who was betrayed and was brought back to life to work for a demon. Oh, and that he wuvvssssss Wanda. Dear spacecow, that’s hammered at us in every single issue. Just in case we forgot I guess.

I will say that it was nice to be introduced to another villain, one with a skull face mask, who apparently is the one who killed Spawn in the first place. And we meet their former boss. So, Bad Guys, Assemble! Throw in a couple of Power Twin Rings and we’re ready for a real fracas.

I was talking with SavageDave in the comments of the last issue of Spawn and it made me realize I think I’m going to try to hang onto this series until new years. Then when I’m evaluating what to do for 2022 I’ll make a firm decision to continue this series or not. I’m also trying to not be as hard nosed about the books I read as it affects me in other ways too.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Infernal Express (Adventures of the Royal Occultist #3) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Infernal Express
Series: Adventures of the Royal Occultist #3
Author: Josh Reynolds
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 199
Words: 68.5K



Synopsis:

St. Cyprian is coerced into taking the remains of Dracula and giving them to the Turks and jannissaries, Dracula’s ancient enemies. A cult of Dracula wants the remains for themselves so as to raise their lord from the dead. The jannissaries also want the remains as they don’t trust St. Cyprian to be able to keep the remains safe from others. And finally, the secret vampire society wants the remains so they can lock them away and keep Dracula from ever rising again. Oh, and Lucy Harker, a half-vampire, thinks she’s the only one who can deal with her daddy’s remains.

All of this ends up taking place on a train towards Constantinople, through land barely over World War One. St Cyprian is an idiot and gets infected by Dracula so he has to contend with enemies within and without. Eventually he, his protege Ebe and Lucy get the remains to a sacred monastary with a pool of holy water. St Cyprian cleanses himself from the vampire taint and then throws the remains of Dracula into the holy water, which while not eradicating him, will hold him captive.

During all of this Dracula shows St Cyprian a future where the Old Ones have returned to Earth and humanity is on the brink of extinction, not from fighting the Old Ones, but from worshiping them. St. Cyprian has seen this vision in the previous stories so he knows Dracula isn’t making this up. So St Cyprian must find a way to prevent this future without allowing a monster like Dracula to use it for his own ends.

My Thoughts:

Another fun entry in the Royal Occultist series. At the end of the book was the prologue and chapter 1 of Book 4, which was untitled. When I contacted the author, he told me there had been issues with the publishing company so book 4 was never published and he didn’t know when it would be. I’m guessing rights were involved.

This was extremely action packed from beginning to end and it did make me wonder how St Cyprian has lived as long as he has. He certainly doesn’t seem to know half of what he should and as for him trying to teach Ebe anything, that girl seems to think she doesn’t need any teaching. It’s frustrating to read about but also so true to life.

I thought Reynolds did a good job with handling the Dracula lore in such a way that it fit right into the Royal Occultist world but also putting his own unique spin on it. Making Dracula a being that is on par with the archangels in terms of power was clever.

With no more books, I’m done with this series. It was light and fun and if Reynolds ever writes more, I’ll be reading them.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Home (Spawn #11) ★★☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Home
Series: Spawn #11
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

Spawn wakes up in the alley. His homeless friends Boots and Billy worry about him as he keeps moaning about some aardvark.[1] Spawn tells his homeless friends that he finds a need to protect them and his home, in the same way Boots protects the only thing he has.. his boots.

Soon a woman screams for help, as Spawn hears explosions nearby. He finds the woman but is unable to saver her in time as he takes a hit that blows through his body. Everyone is shocked when Spawn stands back up with a basketball sized hole through his chest.

The attacker, Boomer, runs off into the night and Spawn secretly chases him to find out where he came from. He finds the Nerds Gang headquarters where the Nerds discuss hating their rival gang the Creeps Gang.

Spawn finds he is outclassed and outmatched in guns and retreats. Spawn uses his military and strategic planning to goading each side into a final confrontation.

The plan works perfectly, leaving only the Nerd enforcer Byron still standing – until Spawn arrives. Unable to penetrate Byron’s armor, Spawn teleports himself inside and rips his way out, reducing the villain to a bloody head.

My Thoughts:

This comic series is really suffering in comparison to both Asterix AND Bone. While it doesn’t seem quite fair to compare this to Asterix, which is twice as long and not released “on schedule”, Bone is just as short. The art is rough and sketchy with very rough outlines in many cases and even Spawn gets the rough treatment if he’s not showcasing some sort of Spiderman swinging pose.

Then you have the “story”. Some gang warfare is happening in the alley where Spawn and his group of bums live and Spawn sets up both gangs against each other and then kills the lone survivor. It did nothing to further Spawn’s supposed investigation into who he was and didn’t advance any plot point that I could see. I am getting a bit impatient at this point with just how much McFarlane is dragging out the storyline.

It is making me wonder if it is this particular franchise or something about monthly released comics that just doesn’t work for me. It might be a bit of both too.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Jade Suit of Death (Adventures of the Royal Occultist #2) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Jade Suit of Death
Series: Adventures of the Royal Occultist #2
Author: Josh Reynolds
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 190
Words: 70K



Synopsis:

St. Cyprian is hired to recover an occultic artifact for one of his acquaintences. Said artifact has been stolen by a group of thugs who appear to have the power of controlling a demon. Turns out one of the occultic clubs has decided to use whatever power they can grab to change the course of history and to make Britain an Empire in perpetuity.

The jade suit encases an original werewolf and the acquaintence was hoping to study it to see if he could cure himself, as he has been bitten himself.

St. Cyprian and his assistant must track down the jade suit and stop the splinter group from peforming an equinox ceremony binding the werewolf to the leader of the group, thus allowing her nigh unlimited power. Of course they succeed.

My Thoughts:

This was another great entry but also brought to light something that had been niggling at me in the first book. Reynolds kind of rushes his endings. The buildup is fantastic. He sets things up great and does a good job of describing everything leading up to the end but the climactic battle and the aftermath, it’s always gone through extremely quickly. I have to admit I suspect it comes from his franchise fiction writing. It really reminded me of how a lot of the Forgotten Realms books/series ended. Other than that, I was perfectly satisfied with how this story went.

The idea that the “plague” contained by the jade suit was out of control lycanthropy was really interesting and definitely turned the expectations of the reader, ie, me, on its head. The inclusion of the “Hairy Hands” and Baphomet as well as the splinter group of rogue occultists definitely made for a full house when it came to villainy. In a lot of ways it didn’t seem so much that St. Cyprian overcame the villains as that he performed magical ju-jitsu and used everyone against the others. He came across as the Millennial Ideal of lets work together instead of the Gen X of One Warrior Overcoming All Odds.

A larger overall threat was hinted at but I’m not sure that Reynolds will be able to pull that off with just one more book. I guess I’ll just have to read it and find out 😀

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Angela (Spawn #9) ★★☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Angela
Series: Spawn #9
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

800 years ago in a journal entry, Angela reads about Hellspawn and Heaven’s goal of exterminating them. She reads about the rules specified are only for Hellspawn in Living Realms, and those in Beyond Realms are not to be touched unless an official declaration of war is made with Hell.

The entry explains the best way to kill a Hellspawn is when it is still new and unadjusted to it’s carapace. That is when they are cronally confused, and new at using their powers. Because of this, they are also brash and use way too much power as opposed to a more experience Hellspawn. For this reason, while they are most vulnerable as a new Hellspawn, they are also potentially more dangerous or unpredictable. The journal explains that these Hellspawn sent to Earth, usually once every 100 years, and no more than one at a time, are potential officers in Malebolgia’s future war. The Living Realm acts as a trial to see if they are fit to lead. The best way to kill them, is a surprise attack, but beware their suit, or carapace, as they are equally wiley in their younger years.

Angela recalls posing as a young woman in distress in the 12th century. When Medieval Spawn, a new hellspawn at the time spots her, She asks him to take her to a remote location to save her sister from an ogre. Angela recalls reading how new Hellspawn are drawn to help people when they are first reborn. In the cave, she surprises him from behind and strikes him with her Dimensional Lance to kill him.

In the present day, Spawn speaks with a Count Cogliostro who not only knows his name, but knows about Hell and how it operates. Cogliostro requests Spawn to summon beer as a training and reward exercise and he does.

Angela appears at work, where she meets Gabrielle who informs her Raphaela has left her in charge of this world. Angela shows little regard for her talking down on her for being a freelancer and reveals she has a hunting permit. Gabrielle admits she can’t stop her from hunting but she requests it to be quick and clean.

Later, as Spawn and Cogliostro continue their discussion, Angela appears behind them. As she attacks, Spawn disappears in a pool. Angela, undeterred, follows in but is shot back to heaven when she realizes she is overpowered. Spawn picks up the lance left behind as Cogliostro urgently warns him to stop. As Spawn presses a button, he disappears in a while light and his Necroplasm is reset to 0000. Cogliostro mourns he was a good kid, just not very bright

My Thoughts:

In one of the previous reviews I had asked if there were going to be angels in this series, since there were demons. Well, this issue answered that question.

There are angels and apparently they are all hot chicks parading around in skimpy outfits killing hellspawns with big ass swords and spears. The odd thing is that Angela, the angel we are watching, is so badly drawn that while she’s barely clothed, she’s more grotesque than erotic and beyond the long hair it’s hard to call her a female. I am thankful that McFarlane didn’t go down the Boris Vallejo/Frank Frazzetta route in terms of art but still, I was almost as grossed out by her as I was by Spawn’s burned body.

This volume was straight up info dumping about hellspawns and some hints about angelic society. We also get a hint that there is supposed to be a “special” hellspawn and that maybe our Spawn was it. Given that the volume ends with Spawn’s magic being drained down to zero and then teleported away, we’ll see if that hint turns out to be real or not.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

In Heaven (Spawn #8) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: In Heaven
Series: Spawn #8
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

Billy Kincaid is reborn in Hell. He drops out of a green goo and immediately kills animals to cover his naked body. He is continually and randomly terrorized by flashbacks of Spawn killing him.

He runs into a half-naked woman and small group of individuals. A small girl explains to them about the culture of hell as they are systematically picked off. A Soul-Trapper takes people off to the Sixth Sphere of Hell to sing for them. Others are picked off by the Prime Nomad to serve as hardware in a macro computer on the 10th, and highest sphere of hell.

As Billy sleeps, he’s continually haunted by the vision of Spawn and wakes up. As he looks at the small girl, he decides to kill her to satisfy his itch. The girls sheds her skin and congratulates Billy for finally passing the test.

The Vindicator reveals his true form as one of the five Phlebiac Brothers. He escorts Billy to the Eighth Sphere of Hell where he will serve in Malebolgia’s army. When Billy sees the costume he has to wear resembles Spawn’s, he freaks out and runs away. Vindicator casually explains the suit is a K3-Myrlu suit that is a continually evolving parasite that will combine with his central nervous system for life

My Thoughts:

Things get interesting, finally. Of course, McFarlane also mixes in some serious fan service (the big boobed, taut buttocked blonde chick) so it was a real mixed bag for me.

Following in the tradition of Dante, McFarlane appears to have set up hell with 10 levels and Malebolgia’s is the eighth. Billy the child killer is recruited for his army and gets a spawn uniform. I’ve included a picture because seeing a fat spawn is ludicrous 😀 I put it up on dropbox so if you click it it should open to a full size pix, For those who want to take a close up look at McFarlane’s style.

Getting some world building and knowledge about this particular comic universe was good. I’m annoyed that Billy the Child Killer is used as the fulcrum but at least I have some idea who or what Malebolgia is and a framework of reference. As a reader it is frustrating to have the information doled out like this to me. The comic book format itself makes anything else impossible but it is easy to see why there are omnibus editions and story arcs combined.

With this volume, my interest has been piqued and Spawn’s going to get another month to survive. It makes me feel rather Malebolgian in fact, whaahahahahaaaaha.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Payback, Part II (Spawn #7) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Payback, Part II
Series: Spawn #7
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

Spawn hurries his scavenger mission as US troops burst into the room. Rather than fight them, he teleports away to save their lives.

Re-appering in the alley, a drunk bum helps him and offers him alcohol. When the bum takes off Spawn’s mask he’s not too surprised by Al’s look. Spawn realizes they accept him and don’t care about outside appearances. Spawn cries out and experiences a flashback, he can’t recall his killer’s face but is given hints. He keeps seeing pictures of the grim reaper in his mind. The grim reaper tells him it was a pleasure killing him and he would have done it even if he wasn’t getting paid for it. Snapping back to reality, he runs from the alleyway.

Antonio Twistelli asks who OvertKill will work for if Bartino dies.

In Queens, New York, Wanda Blake wakes up screaming, “Stop! Don’t kill him!” Terry Fitzgerald comforts her and tells her he’ll check Al’s files again when she pleads that he was murdered and didn’t die in action.

Spawn decides to take on the Mafia. He takes off the cape as it would only get in the way. Unknown to him, the cape follows him as he walks away.

Wanda is curious about when Al visited her in disguise.[1] When she checks at the local pound, she learns that no man matching her description of the man works there. She begins pondering if Terry is in trouble and the man was spying on them.

Spawn breaks into a highrise mob building where he threatens Twistelli. He tells him to deliver a message to Overtkill to meet him in battle at the nearby park.

Overtkill shows up at the park and is quickly destroyed by the ballistics Spawn brought with him.

My Thoughts:

Oh for feth’s sake! The comic starts of with Spawn having, and I quote “an AK 830 Rocket Launcher”. FROM A UNITED STATES ARMY BASE!!!!!!! Just in case you don’t know why I’m so annoyed, the designation “AK” stands for “Automatic Kalashnikov” and are products of the Soviet Union. Other countries do make AK’s, but they are the guns of thugs, drug dealers and other scum. United States army bases would not have something like this on hand, they’d have real guns. I can’t tell if McFarlane is being ignorant (which he is) or if he’s thumbing his nose at the American Military (also quite possible. Most comic artists are scumbag commie traitors in one form or another).

Last issue Spawn’s chains showed some volition and in this issue it’s his cape. So his whole costume has power that apparently he’s not aware of. We’ll have to see how it all works together. Spawn takes on the cyborg Overtkill even though it really feels like he’s more of a robot ala Terminator.

I am realizing my biggest issue is that I am expecting these comics to follow the rules of our world. They ostensibly take place in our world, so they should follow the rules, even if supernatural planes of existance are part of it. Spawn toting around 3 guns, each as big as him, while looking wicked cool, is also wicked stupid. If this was in a fantasy setting or another world or something I could probably let things like the guns go, but I just can’t.

Right now, Spawn is dicking around with small potatoes while the main roast is burning in the oven. As a reader I’m still waiting for the big picture to be revealed. I’m sure that is being done on purpose by McFarlane, but I don’t have to like it. This is going to be the last issue I give a 3star rating too. After this, the books start at 2 and have to impress me to get any higher. I’m done being Mr Nice Guy.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Payback, Part I (Spawn #6) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Payback, Part I
Series: Spawn #6
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

In Sicily, OvertKill takes down a building for the mafia. When the military shows up, he quickly dispatches them after taking several rounds of bullets and explosive damage. He leaves virtually unscathed.

Freddy, a hobo, gives up Spawn’s location in exchange for drugs. However, the mobsters kill him before completing their end of the bargain. The mobsters report back to Antonio Twistelli.

Meanwhile, in the alley several homeless people offer comfort to Spawn. They invite him to sit next to them and share his story. They don’t want Spawn to be afraid of them as he always sits aloof. Spawn tells them his backstory with Wanda and Cyan.

When two mobster start wasting random bums looking for Spawn, Al shows up and takes them out.

At a meeting with the mobsters, Gavino recommends Overtkill to take out Spawn.

That evening, the two square off. While Overtkill easily overpowers him, Spawn does trick him into messing up his robot hand before being rendered near-death. Spawn refuses to use his powers to spare them as long as possible so that he can continue to live on earth and ask questions about his past.

Overtkill walks away, unaware that Spawn is still alive. Spawn heals himself with his Necroplasm and heads to a warehouse to pick up guns and ballistics.

My Thoughts:

We’re introduced to a badguy named OvertKill as he takes on the Italian Army and pretty much crushes them singlehandedly. Meanwhile, back in the USA Spawn has been blamed for the deaths of the mafia members that the Violator first killed. The Dons hire OvertKill and he starts killing the homeless until Spawn confronts him. After a few punches thrown, OvertKill is revealed as cyborg and thinks he has killed Spawn. Spawn realizes his powers are limited and as such raids an army base for supplies. He was Special Forces before he died and came back with magic powers and he’s going to fight like the man he used to be.

As a new villain, OvertKill leaves a lot to be desired. His face is wide open to attack and besides being big and brawny and enhanced as a cyborg, I’m not really sure why he’s such a problem. One sniper round would deal with him easily. And the fight between him and Spawn really made me wonder just how far Spawn had fallen. I realize it’s been 5 years, but he fights like a little girl instead of the special forces guy he is. And the ending, where he gets all armed up, talk about show boating. A special forces guy IS the weapon, the guns are just accessories.

Spawn’s chains do something of their own volition but all we get from Spawn is a “Oh, I guess I’ll check on that later”. Welp, on to the next issue.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Justice (Spawn #5) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Justice
Series: Spawn #5
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

At the Windgate Institution, Billy Kincaid is read his rights and claimed to be a cured man. He is being released from jail after good behavior. Billy smiles as he coyly still dreams of killing small children. He was placed in prison for 22 years, out in 10 on good behavior, for being caught with the murder of a Senator’s daughter, Amanda Jennings. He had pulled out her teeth and placed maggots into her wounds in a heinous crime. At that moment, he half-fantasizes how he’s killed at least 29 children by luring them to his ice cream truck and then abducting them and how he’s bid his time to be released so he could return to his activities.

As he leaves, Billy sings about ice cream and Sam Burke, who was standing behind him, screams that he’s insane and not actually cured. Sam believes that the murder of Amanda Jennings was not an isolated incident. Sam thinks about how he’s always played by the law, but the law sometimes doesn’t win.

That evening, the news reports about the release of Billy Kincaid.

In Queens, Wanda puts Cyan to sleep in her crib, while Spawn falls asleep in the alleyway amongst trash and rubble.

Sam and Twitch Williams discuss the release of Billy at the New York City Police Headquarters. They agree to perform a midnight stakeout to see if Billy has reformed.

Billy takes Sherlee Johnson, finger paints

Cyan excited to see Wanda after day care.

Bums get hit by cops, cry about Billy. Spawn over hears, recalls how he was hired by Jennings for a hit on Kincaid. Cops go to him first. Problem was they found all the mutilated bodies but evidence went missing, and then the shack blew up. Jason Wynn then told everyone to drop the case.

With Sam and Twitch on stakeout outside Billy’s house, Spawn sneaks in through the back. When he spots Sherlee Johnson’s bloody dress, he moves into the house. Twitch spots a caped figure in the back and they both move in. Inside the house they find the evidence but no Billy.

At New York City Police Headquarters, Sam and Twitch begin plotting their search for Billy. When they walk into a back room, they find Billy Kincaid’s body, bloodied and strung up with chains and a note. It reads, “Boy’s screamed and girls screamed, so I made him scream… and scream… and scream….”

My Thoughts:

This is where the violence ramps up and set off one of my own personal issues, triggers I guess they call them nowadays. Violence against children. The badguy in this volume is not a super or a demon or anything, he’s just the worst kind of human you can imagine, one who preys on children. He’s a serial killer of children and gets out of jail on a technicality of some sort or another.

My issue is that he immediately kills another child. There was nothing sexual, thank God, but it really left me shaken and wondering if I wanted to continue this series. I realize McFarlane did it for shock value, but that just makes him a scumbag in my books, not a good comic artist.

Plotwise, it gives Spawn a purpose and drives him towards the anti-hero narrative. He kills the pervert and I for one was all for that bit of vigilante justice. However, ending picture encapsulates the heart of violence of this comic and I have to wonder if I want to continue reading.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Anarch (WH40K: Gaunt’s Ghosts #15) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot , Librarything & Bookype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Anarch
Series: WH40K: Gaunt’s Ghosts #15
Author: Dan Abnett
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 372
Words: 137.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia & Me

On the forge world of Urdesh, the massed forces of the Imperial Crusade engage in a final bloody battle with the Archenemy commander known as the Anarch, and his elite warriors – the barbaric Sons of Sek. A victory for either side will decide more than just the fate of Urdesh… it will determine the outcome of the entire Sabbat Worlds Crusade. Ibram Gaunt – now serving at the right hand of Warmaster Macaroth – finds himself at the very heart of the struggle. His regiment, the Tanith First “Ghosts”, holds the vital key to ultimate success. But as the forces of the Imperium and Chaos square up for the final, large-scale confrontation, Gaunt discovers that the greatest threat of all may come from inside rather than out.

Mkoll, the Ghost’s top scout, is captured by the enemy and frees himself and 3 others. They make their way to where Sek himself is giving the final orders for the fight and ambush him. He escapes using the warp, but Mkoll follows and kills him. He makes sure to take his head as proof.

While this is going on, The Tanith are trapped in their barracks by one of the children who turns out to be a Woe Machine and a creature of chaos able to control physical reality. It’s a blood bath but Gaunt and an Inquisitor manage to defeat her. Only to find out that her older brother is also a plant. Neither of the kids realized what they were and so the older boy, now a Ghost himself, goes insane and gives in to his nature. He goes after War Master Macaroth himself and is barely stopped from destroying the whole leadership of the Crusade.

With Sek’s death and Macaroth’s survival, the Army of Humanity wins the Sabbath Crusade. Gaunt is now a big time officer and the Ghosts are his special regiment. No more little fights for them.

My Thoughts:

This was a good ending to the series. Gaunt is now a Big Cheese and as such won’t be leading from the front anymore. The Ghosts are a real mix of actual Ghosts, Vergastites and Belladons so them becoming Gaunt’s fist is good so they don’t get ground up and spit out like most of the Army of Humanity.

I did NOT like the little girl and the young Ghost being Woe Machines. They were never human, were simply in disguise but thought they were human the entire time. Having that ripped away from them was unpleasant to read about and even worse to contemplate. It definitely put the “grimdark” into this book. It was one of the main reasons I was glad this series ended here. I didn’t want to read more of this type of thing.

Overall, I have enjoyed this Gaunt’s Ghosts series. It has been great ground pounder action with almost no space ship battles. It was a fantastic entry for me into the Warhmmer40k universe since the Horus Heresy series left me dead cold. Gaunt himself was a good character to root for even while not hogging the spotlight. Plenty of other Ghosts survive each book for us to get attached to, but at the same time Abnett has no problem killing them off. That’s war for you after all.

My next WH40K series will be the Ciaphas Cain series. Cain is another Commisar, so I’m hoping it will be all ground pounder action as well. But with how this Gaunt’s Ghosts series ended, I need a breather from the bleakness of Warhammer40k and so am going to start a different Mil-SF series altogether. Probably get back to the Warhammer40k universe some time in late ’22 or early ’23. Preventing burn out is every book blogger’s duty after all.

Rating: 3 out of 5.