Spread #5 Review

Posted January 23, 2015 by Dennis Burns in Comic Books

Written by: Justin Jordan

Art by: Kyle Strahm

Publisher: Image

I knew that the spread was really going to hit the fan in issue 5, the penultimate issue of this first arc, but Jordan and Strahm still managed to surprise me. Jordan has mentioned in recent backmatter some of his influences going into this book, though they’ve never been as obvious as in this issue. Issue 5 is a bloody, climactic battle not unlike Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. The chaos and presence of multiple fronts of fighting are all here, along with Hope (the baby who also happens to narrate the whole thing), the fragile lynchpin on which the whole ugly world is resting.

Spread is right in Jordan’s wheelhouse: violent, tough and quiet protagonists, gory, bombastic and verbose villains, and bloody. Did I mention the violence and the gore? If you are familiar with Jordan’s work on Luther Strode, then this should come as no surprise to you. Instead of Tradd Moore on penciling duties, however, this series costars Kyle Strahm. I wasn’t familiar with Strahm before this series, but he is proving more than capable at depicting a post-apocalyptic world covered in blood, bones, and the occasional projectile vomit stream.

While I enjoy this comic quite a bit I am eager to learn more about the world itself. So far, Jordan and co. have been creating characters and bonds between them, though this characterization and narration sometimes gets in the way of the world-building. The trading outpost has been a great step towards remedying this fact, if only to give the reader a small glimpse into what is left of society. No, by his very nature and Hope’s admission, is a badass but a very quiet one at that. Jordan specifically writes that this is why his narration is done by Hope, because otherwise we’d often be left wondering why something happened or how. This narration usually propels the story forward, but it also gets in the way at times. Jordan mentions what a fine line narration has to walk; unfortunately in this issue it stumbles a bit. As a reader, I didn’t believe that No might abandon the group in the midst of a battle, but I don’t need to be told that by our young narrator either.

Ravello, once again, steals the show in this issue. He’s pretty, verbose, and deadly. What more could you want in a villain? He’s left in quite a predicament at the end of this issue, I only hope that Jordan keeps him around past this first arc, because he really is a great mix of menace and humor. I especially liked it when Ravello says that he’ll monologue as much as he wants to, it’s his fight. Again, Jordan always seems to find a way to mix just the right amount of levity and menace.

Spread is a good comic book about the end of the world, crazy monsters, and a lone tough guy who may have just found the cure for the whole mess. Of course, the cure is also a person that said quiet tough guy will probably grow to love and care for. While the story is familiar, Jordan and Strahm are changing it just enough to keep me hooked. I am excited to learn more about the world and our three main characters—assuming they survive the mess they’ve been left in. If you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic story that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has some of the best fight scenes since Jordan’s own Luther Strode, then look no further—Spread should be added to your pull list immediately.   

About the Author

Dennis Burns

I am a teacher, husband, father of a 2 year old boy, and a dog owner. I love coffee, comics, video games, and the occasional tennis match. I currently live in Korea, where my wife and I teach at an international school.