So, I want to start this review of Spread #2 in a strange place: the end. The back matter after this issue is a note from Justin Jordan qualifying what he calls “the elephant in the room,” which is the Saga-esque approach this story takes to narration. He also mentions similarities to Last of Us and his measuring stick points of inspiration in Lone Wolf and Cub and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Still no mention of The Stuff, however, so maybe that’s just my own trip. I don’t think he needed to do this, but I’m glad he did, if for no other reason than people like me (in my last review and on the CBMFP podcast) called him out on it. Good on him, I say, and fair enough as a commentary on the pitfalls of the creative process. Also, if the other sources of information he mentions in regard to future issue of Spread are any indication, we are in for a fucking whirlwind, and I am more excited than ever to be covering this book.
Focusing on the present, however, this issue sees No and baby Hope run afoul of a couple of slave traders (thus expanding the ick of this book’s fallen society) and a big chunk of the Spread, which is interestingly summoned by the mysterious misfit in the suit from the end of last issue. I can’t wait to see that ugly bastard’s connection to all of this, though I kind of hope he just ends up being a man-shaped bag of tentacle yuck.
As “Team No Hope” adds another survivor to their budding little family - one who will end up being a very important (if batshit crazy) part of Hope’s life - we check in on another side of the world and a pretty, pretty man named Ravello. I’m not sure if he was named after the idyllic Southern Italian hamlet once frequented by such luminaries as Gore Vidal and Truman Capote, but it probably doesn’t matter, which makes this sentence unnecessary. You’re welcome.
Ravello is basically the blonde, male version of Tina Turner’s Aunty Entity in Thunderdome: a seemingly precious prima donna who rules a rough-and-tumble border town populated by mutilated human scum, and is actually an arm-breaking, kung-fu badass. Personally, I like having a beautiful antagonist in an ugly world; it adds a nice bit of twisted measure and panache to everything.
Most of the art from Kyle Strahm continues to be absolutely exceptional. I mean, if the cover of this issue alone doesn’t inspire you to at least take a look, you might need to get right with Jesus, know what I mean? The interior art follows suit with a stylish strangle that this time makes me think of what might happen if Rob Guillory and Tradd Moore’s art had a sexy (yet also kind of gross) threesome with Simon Bisley’s.
It’s willowy and lithe, placing less emphasis on anatomical possibility and proportionality, and more on a grotesque but dynamic kineticism that is as brutal and ugly as the world Jordan and Strahm have created. There are only a few consistency hiccups (in the form of oddly-placed nipples) at the start, but the detail of which Strahm and Sobreiro (on colors) are capable is downright astounding, and addictive enough to keep me coming back for more.
I continue to dig this book for its interesting, stomach-churning post-apocalyptic story, Jordan’s minimalist approach to dialogue and Strahm and Sobreiro’s gnarly art. Spread it on, Bastards!
Writer: Justin Jordan Artist: Kyle Strahm Colorist: Felipe Sobreiro Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 8/6/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital