I never manage to read the books you guys review the same week as you review them, but it just so happens I have read this (because Image gave me a copy), so I have some comments:
Overall, I liked this more than I thought I would. When I looked at the cover a billion times while posting press releases, all I could think was "Why can't McFarlane design a character that doesn't look like Venom?" I mean, let's be honest, Spawn looks like Venom. Haunt looks like Spawn. Maybe it's the love he seems to have for black and white costumes, I don't know. In any case, the cover didn't interest me in the book, but Kirkman's involvement did.
I see a lot of comments in this thread about how Kirkman takes a while to get going, but I think Kirkman's writing here is an exemplary use of the comic book medium. A few times in this book (for instance when I got to the page when the brothers are talking in the limo at the funeral), I had to stop and say "did I miss something?" But then I realized that I'm just not used to writers utilizing the comic book medium to its full potential.
In too many books, writers try too hard to write the comic like a movie, where we see every scene spelled out for us, but in a comic, we are able to see snapshots of the action and fill in the blanks between panels and pages with our minds. Kirkman forces the reader to do this with his writing here, and by doing so, forces the readers to exercise comic book reading muscles that have sadly atrophied in recent years due to the comic industry's cinematic identity crisis. This is a good thing.
The first issue fed us enough of a story to feel satisfied, and yet of course ended on a cliffhanger that demands we pick up the next issue. You can't ask much more than that of the writing. As for the art, I agree that the color palette makes Ottley's art look way different than it does on Invincible. Still, Ottley is competent is always, a master of his craft like a Ron Lim who can draw in several styles and produce quality work on every project without making it "all about him" with an outrageous style.
So now I score it I guess? Story - 8 Art - 7 Overall - 7.5? A surprisingly strong start with lots of potential on a book that could be a big deal for Image. Can't ask for anything more.
I LOVE BLUD BLOOD! - Rob Liefeld