Jack Four (Polity #21) ★★★★☆

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Title: Jack Four
Series: Polity #21
Authors: Neal Asher
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 334
Words: 139K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover

Created to die – determined to live . . .

Jack Four – one of twenty human clones – has been created to be sold. His purchasers are the alien prador and they only want him for their experimentation program. But there is something different about Jack. No clone should possess the knowledge that’s been loaded into his mind. And no normal citizen of humanity’s Polity worlds would have this information.

The prador’s king has been mutated by the Spatterjay virus into a creature even more monstrous than the prador themselves. And his children, the King’s Guard, have undergone similar changes. They were infected by the virus during the last humans-versus-prador war, now lapsed into an uneasy truce. But the prador are always looking for new weapons – and their experimentation program might give them the edge they seek.

Suzeal trades human slaves out of the Stratogaster Space Station, re-engineering them to serve the prador. She thinks the rewards are worth the risks, but all that is about to change. The Station was once a zoo, containing monsters from across known space. All the monsters now dwell on the planet below, but they aren’t as contained as they seem. And a vengeful clone may be the worst danger of all.

My Thoughts:

Asher has never been shy about biological functions in his stories, what with jain tech invading like a cancer or the spatterjay turning someones tongue into a leech that wants to eat you to giant crabs mating. But in this book he seems to have an obsession with poop and the main character, Jack Four, is constantly voiding his bowels and Asher lets us know about it more than is necessary. Maybe Asher was having issues of his own and so it was on his mind? I don’t know but if you do read this book, be prepared for bowel voiding like it is some sort of contest, hahahaha!

In this story, Asher brings most of his most dangerous creations (Jay Hoop level of hoopers, hooders and other monsters from his various books) altogether and has a prador scientist messing around with them trying to make them even more dangerous. The biggest scary was the prador trying to re-weaponize the hooders as war machines and thralled under prador control. It is scary as all get out but also immensely satisfying when the hooders overcome the thralling and turn on everybody.

It is pretty obvious (at least to me) who Jack Four was based on once you meet the template early on. I was wracking my brains to see if we’d been introduced to any Jacks who were ECS agents in earlier books but there my mind fails. I could probably go find some sort of Polity character list but I don’t care THAT much.

By the end of the book I was exhausted. This felt like it was a non-stop ultra violent sprint. From Jack Four’s awakening to the very end, the pace is relentless and Jack is on the run. With the runs a lot of the time (if you know what I mean) BA DUM TISH!

While I am pretty sure this is supposed to be a standalone Polity story, it is possible that this will turn into a trilogy. I hope it doesn’t though. Asher is pretty good about telling one book stories and this is just fine the way it is.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Department 19 (Department 19 #1) ★✬☆☆☆

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: Department 19
Series: Department 19 #1
Authors: Will Hill
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Pages: 379
Words: 133K



Synopsis:

From the inside cover

Jamie Carpenter’s life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein’s monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.

Department 19 takes us through history, across Europe, and beyond – from the cobbled streets of Victorian London to prohibition-era New York, from the icy wastes of Arctic Russia to the treacherous mountains of Transylvania. Part modern thriller, part classic horror, it’s packed with mystery, mayhem, and a level of suspense that makes a Darren Shan novel look like a romantic comedy.

My Thoughts:

I went into this hoping for a rollicking good ride of monster killing. Instead, I get the following:

  • there was no profanity EXCEPT taking God or Jesus’ name in vain. It was a constant barrage of breaking the 4th Commandment. It had me close to dnf’ing on that alone
  • whiny 16 year old boy “knows things” (not even psychically, but just because he said so) so they must be right and everybody acts on it, even when they say they won’t
  • He’s never fired a gun in his life and has been physically bullied by other teens, but once he’s had 24hrs of training, he’s a vampire killing machine that sets a new record in the “simulation”
  • a vampire girl is supposed to kill him and then lies and deceives him for her own purposes, but she really loves him and they make out, so she’s all ok
  • a 200 year old super secret military organization just lets him requisition troops, guns, helicopters, whatever and ignores him instead of locking him up whenever he throws a teenage tempter tantrum “because of his mom”

I think that’s enough. I knew this was Young Adult (definitely not middle grade due to the graphic nature of some of the violence) but I was kind of hoping it would be Monster Hunters International for teens. Nope. What I got was Anakin Skywalker (mommy issues and all) hunting vampires. The final nail in the coffin (because a book this bad needs at least one good/bad joke) was how Jamie kills the boss vampire in the end. Now, you have to remember that vampires have been shown, IN THIS BOOK, to have super hearing, are super fast and strong and can survive being dropped from an airplane and crashing headfirst into the ground. So Jamie uses a crossbow to pull a big cross onto the most powerful vampire in the world and the vampire doesn’t realize what he’s doing, doesn’t hear the cross creaking and falling, nor does he move out of the way and once it brains him, he just lies there, dead. It was the most ridiculous thing I had (almost) ever read.

I don’t recommend this for Christians because of the blasphemy, I don’t recommend this for teens because of the graphic violence and I don’t recommend it for adults because of how stupid it is.

So much for this series!

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Myths, Part II (Spawn #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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Myths, Part II
Series: Spawn #15
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

The Clown’s story continues. Medieval Spawn survives the Violator’s blast, but he is horribly disfigured. Even in this state, however, he is able to best Violator with the help of his living suit’s imprisoning tendrils. The Violator’s severed head is hoisted aloft as a grisly trophy of their demonic battle. Ironically, the woman he sought to protect from the Violator is sickened by Spawn’s true form and flees in flight.

The Spawn lays in an alley peacefully resting. When the owner comes out mad that bums in his alley are begging and foraging for scraps, the owner physically pushes Spawn around. Spawn is fed up with people trying to tell him what to do. He beats the man down and barks that this is now spawn territory. The man cowers away.

In Queens, New York, Terry Fitzgerald lays awake, terrified as the mob’s men have threatened his family again and he doesn’t know what to do.

My Thoughts:

So this whole “Myths” story was standing St. George and the Dragon on it’s head. With the Violator being the dragon and Medieval Spawn being St. George. It really pissed me off that the Princess runs away from Medieval Spawn when he reveals his tortured form. I can understand that she doesn’t want to get all “Hugs & Kisses” with him but to run away from him after he’d saved her life and killed the Violator that was torturing her? It also raised the question, to me, of WHY was Medieval Spawn all burnt up too? It doesn’t happen to every Spawn because we saw the fat child killer who became a Spawn candidate still in “prime” condition. And speaking of Medieval Spawn.

Below is an illustration of the fantastic work that McFarlane can do, when he wants to. It is a great illustration of the talents he has. The problem with it is that it simply makes the times where he rough sketches things in that much more noticeable.

Part of me can understand not doing this level of work for every panel but at the same time, why not? Why isn’t McFarlane putting out his best for the whole issue? Why does this particular spread get the love treatment while Terry in his boxers looks almost like a crayon drawing at the end?

Between everything that I’ve experienced with this comic in these 15 issues, nothing has made me want to continue. I don’t like Spawn. I don’t like his human Al Simmons. I don’t like the 2 cops. I don’t like the badguys and I don’t like Wanda. I don’t like the city or the situations and I don’t like the universe portrayed. So I’m done with Spawn. 15 issues is enough of “testing the waters”. Any more testing and I’d be asking for Jaws to come chomp me up into little itty bitty pieces.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Myths, Part I (Spawn #14) ★★☆☆☆

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: Myths, Part I
Series: Spawn #14
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

The Clown, being a master of self-promotion, tells the story of a long-ago clash with Medieval Spawn to a small lot of alley kids. He portrays the ancient warrior in the worst possible light and describing him as evil. He takes creative liberties explaining he was the hero of the story. During a battle, a kick from Spawn’s horse sends Violator flying, something snaps inside him and he unleashes a gout of mystical fire. The Violator cackles in triumph over the smoking form of his fallen foe.

Spawn curses himself for letting his emotions get the best of him. Now that Chapel knows he’s still alive, he can no longer remain a shadow. People may discover he’s still alive and come for him.

My Thoughts:

We get the Violator, still in clown form, telling a group of boys a story about his battle with another Spawn 800 years ago. The words he says are at complete odds with the pictures drawn so you know he’s lying out of his teeth. It would seem another Spawn had defied Malebolgia, thus giving us the hint that our Spawn might be treading in the footsteps of another like him.

I have to admit, I don’t think I’m going to make it to the end of the year with this series. It is just too stupid. I’ve mentioned this before, but Spawn is supposed to be a Special Forces kind of guy. He doesn’t let his emotions rule him but so far, that is ALL he’s done in all 14 issues. One stupid mistake or decision after another because of his emotions. It’s not that I want him to be emotionless but I don’t want to see him ruled by his emotions and McFarlane doesn’t go down that route.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Flashback, Part II (Spawn #13) ★★☆☆☆

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 II
Series: Spawn #13
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

Spawn recalls playing a baseball game and breaking his ankle. All he can remember is how beautiful she was and how they made love until the sun came up the next morning.

Spawn decides to focus on finding the man who killed him, Chapel.

At Youngblood headquarters, Badrock is on guard duty but distracted by video games. When Spawn trips a silent alarms, he finds Chapel along with teammates Diehard and Shaft. Spawn teleports himself and Chapel to Botswana to complete his fight.

Terry Fitzgerald finds it hard to fall asleep. Now that two men have harassed him, he knows he’s on a watch list which is hard to get on. Yet he can’t figure out why they’d be checking into him.

Twitch Williams and Sam Burke rejoice in their investigation finally being lifted for the murder of Billy Kincaid.

In Botswana, Chapel recalls the orders from Jason Wynn to take out his target when things got hairy. Snapping back into the present, he wrestles with Spawn and exchanges punches. Spawn drives the point home by disfiguring the Chapel’s face with a horrific brand, that resembles the facial warpaint he wore when he murdered Al. As Spawn leaves Chapel, he activates the Youngblood tracking mechanism.

Eight hours later, Shaft and Badrock arrive and ask what Spawn said to him. With a disgusted and angry look, Chapel simply replies with, “Nothing” as he gets on their plane to leave.

My Thoughts:

So Spawn hunts down the guy who killed him originally. He infiltrates the Youngblood’s headquarters (Youngblood’s were Image’s version of the Justice League or the Avengers), teleports Chapel back to where Chapel killed him and proceeds to pummel the ever living daylight out of him. Spawn uses his magic to give Chapel a skull face like his old costume and then leaves him to be found.

The fight boiled down to a couple of punches thrown and the two of them angrily exchanging macho “I’m tougher than you” stupid talk. It was actually kind of embarrassing to read. It also brought home the point that McFarlane is deliberately writing for teenagers. Instead of showcasing Spawn getting some good intel from the badguy the focus is them fighting and Spawn getting his revenge. I’m sure in future volumes Spawn will use the intel from this guy but it will be of the “remember when I beat the crap out of my old killer, well, he told me….” variety.

On a complete side note. I’ve never read the Youngblood comics but after this little introduction I definitely won’t be. I get the “grim and gritty” vibe from them and I’d bet my bottom dollar that the comics are filled with questionable morals about human life and heroism in general.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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.