Gunslinger Spawn copyedited, part 4

Todd McFarlane is a mega-millionaire with success undreamt of. I’m just some guy. But as I’ve been buying and reading – and enjoying! – Gunslinger Spawn, I’m struck with how the dialogue and captions are something of a mess. Hence, here’s my attempt to copyedit Gunslinger Spawn.

After time-traveling from the Old West to the present, Gunslinger Spawn has befriended teenage Taylor and attacked by enemy angels. Matters are then complicated when Taylor learns his father, Bartlett, is working with the angels. After Taylor’s dad slaps him (!), Taylor joins the fight in this panel:

This is a classic mixed metaphor, the same kind your high school English teacher used to warn you about. How can Taylor be both a banshee and a missile? What’s that image going to evoke in readers’ minds? I’d say this caption is not needed at all. Taylor’s action and the word balloon gets the idea across by themselves.

The battle climaxes with these captions:

My suggestion:

“Throughout time, there are few truths agreed upon by Heaven and Hell. One is that there is no greater disgrace than removing both wings from an angel.”

This could be simplified even more, but I’ll keep some of the heightened speech because this is the fight’s big finish. Then the next caption:

Remove the “disgrace” line, as it is repetitive from the previous sentence:

“It causes insanity, and then it causes certain death.”

Despite causing insanity, Gunslinger tries to interrogate the angel in this panel:

The “takes his last breath” line could be considered a cliché. Also, do these supernatural beings need air to breathe? My suggestion:

“Gunslinger knows he only has a few minutes before this one dies.”

Or, for continuity:

“Gunslinger knows he only has a few minutes before this one loses his mind and dies.”

Next, the comic starts tying up story threads. Gunslinger reveals Bartlett is a descendant of his enemies from the Old West. Taylor picks up a gun and aims it at his dead, confronting him about his dad’s behavior and why his mother left. Bartlett says this:

“I don’t have time for this” is an odd thing to say during an armed standoff with blood and corpses all around. Does he have somewhere else to be? Shorten it to:

“Stop your whining!”

Although Gunslinger is armed as well, he insists Taylor pull the trigger. On the next page: 

“Eternity seems to pass” could be considered another cliché. Shorten this to:

“Taylor stares down his father. And then…”

I added the “And then…” to build tension as the action flows into the second panel.

In the end, Gunslinger kills Bartlett before Bartlett can shoot Taylor. A traumatized Taylor breaks down in tears, saying he hates Gunslinger. Gunslinger says, “It’ll pass.” In the next panel we see it does:

It’s too bad we don’t see any of this “long night of talking.” I’ll accept that in comics, there’s only so many pages and so much space to deal with. But a strength of ongoing comics is that future issues can flash back to Taylor and Gunslinger’s conversation any time, if needed.

Next, there’s a couple of pages of humor as Gunslinger is perplexed by indoor plumbing. I’m not a fan of this crude humor, but I’ll go with it because I know it’s part of the Todd McFarlane vibe. (Remember Boof and the Bruise Crew?)

The comic ends by revealing that Taylor buried Barlett nearby. I like the detail of an angel’s feather atop the grave. Does this suggest that Bartlett might crawl out of that grave someday? Stranger things have happened in Spawn comics.  

This concludes Gunslinger Spawn’s first storyline. Taylor gets the main character arc. He starts out in one place in his life, only to have everything change for him over the course of two issues. He experiences violence and darkness, but he doesn’t give into it. Gunslinger, meanwhile, has a consistent motivation to return to his own time and then seek further revenge on the Bartlett family. We’ll see where his character development goes from here.

Come back next week for issue #3!

* * * *

Want more? Check out my new ongoing serial, THE SUBTERKNIGHTS, on Kindle Vella. A man searches for his missing sister in a sprawling city full of far-out tech and secret magic. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid full of action, romance, mystery, and laughs. The first three chapters are FREE! Click here for a list of all my books and serials.

About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH.
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