While any live-action 'Spawn'
sequel has yet to appear, the animated TV series moves steadily on, with
the third series now coming out on video. It's perhaps the most satisfying
one so far; we've now got past the initial scene-setting, and the plots
here seem more complex and well-crafted. I use the plural, as there are
multiple intertwined threads including angelic bounty-hunter Jade, the mask
of Ghengis Khan, and a corrupt cop. In contrast to most American cartoons,
real acting appears to be going on, with Dysart as mentor
Cogliostro particularly effective, and the likes of Ronny Cox and Jennifer Jason Leigh also appear. Despite a
chink of light for Spawn at the end of the series, the tone in both script
and animation is fairly grim, and it's gratifyingly cheerless stuff, aided
and abetted by a rumbling growl of a score. Not easy viewing, by any means,
yet certainly compelling; I found myself irresistably drawn to watch all
six episodes in one sitting.
Interesting to contrast the US and UK releases of the show: the former
on one tape in a movie format, the latter spread over three cassettes. The
problem with the American edition is that discrete episodes (such as the
first, entirely devoted to a Mafia hitman agonising over killing his
friend) seem a little disjointed as part of a "film". However, this is
outweighted by cost considerations. The whole series here will cost almost
forty quid, and you can pick up the American edition for little more than a
tenner. Ah, the joys of the Internet... [Vol.1 is released on Sept.
6th by Medusa, Vol.2 follows on Oct. 4th, and Vol.3 on Nov. 1st: 12.99