"Oh that Alan Moore, he's so obssessed with rape he's only gone and written a miniseries all about it!" You might think from the title of this comic. But you'd be so wrong you may as well go hurl yourself in a great big bloody bin, for The Violator is a character from Todd McFarlane's Spawn franchise and this 1994 spin-off mini see's Moore in full on "will write for food" mode. Oh it's undeniably entertaining in a very silly way, everyone's favourite puppet-snake worshipping grumpy-bones takes some very po-faced characters and sends them up something rotten. And it's not offensive and insulting like Voodoo was. But in the end it just passes half a hour pleasantly enough without tickling the old synapses like the best of Moore is wont to do. I touched briefly on The Violator when I looked at Dave Sim's very odd issue of Spawn, but that was a symbolic made-up Violator. This is the real made-up Violator, the servant of Malebolgia who for some reason looks like a fat clown when he is in human form and generally likes to piss Spawn about for no particular reason than for the lulz. Maybe. I tried to make sense of the Spawniverse from wikipedia and went cross-eyed, so I'll just stick to the content of these three issues I think.
What's immediately noticable are the covers. There are no credits on them at all, the only words on them are the title and that's it. You'd have thought they'd trumpet Moore's name but for some reason didn't. The next thing you'll notice is how nice it looks. It's printed on thick, shiny paper stock that really helps the art pop. The art is the final thing you'll notice. By Bart Sears and Mark Pennington, it's a satisfying mix of the gothic and the crazy, helped along by lush, rich computer colouring work.
The story begins with four demons later to be introduced and The Vindicator, The Vaccilator, The Vandaliser and The Vaporiser. The four brothers of The Violator and the only good bit of Spawn/WildC.A.T.s. They are using a pool of human blood to see what is happening on earth to the Violator who has been exiled there and trapped powerless in human form.
The Vandaliser: "I said don't mention him!! He's dishonoured us! He's made the name Phlebiac sound ridiculous!"
Oh it's like that is it Alan? Anyway The Violator is in something of a pickle. His feet are encased in concrete and the mooks of a mobster called Twisterelli are about to throw him into the sea. Twisterelli leaves before they do the deed and just as they start to throw him, he lunges forward and grabs the tie of one of them (a man called Tommy) in his teeth and both of them end up plummeting into the water.
|The Violator and Tommy take a plunge|
Back with the Violator, he's still got Tommy's head jammed on his arm. he runs through a shopping mall and suddenly The Admonisher leaps down and attacks him.
The Admonisher: "I am THE ADMONISHER! And I'm here to give you a darn good telling off!"
|A Wild Admonisher appears!|
The Vandaliser: "Well isn't this nice? Now tell me you don't recognise us! Your own flesh and blood!! Now who's got a hug?"
The Vandaliser goes on to say they are going to kill him for dishonouring their name, "real men don't wear flesh". The Vandaliser hits The Violator around for a bit then tells the Vindicator to create a magical dome around the area so they can deal with The Violator in peace. The Vindicator does so, though both The Admonisher and Twisterelli and his right hand man are trapped inside as well. The Admonisher, thinking the Phlebiac brothers are here to help The Violator attacks them, shooting The Vindicator through the head.
The Vindicator: "Owww! My brain! Hey guys! He shot my brain out! Owww!"
|The Four Phlebiac brothers.|
The Violator: "Right at the end he told me I'd broken his heart. I mean I'd also broken his limbs, his back and his record for 'biggest hole made in a victim'. But that was just like my old man, never givin' me enough credit."
|Some charming family history...|
The Vindicator: "Gee. Do you think this is what humans feel like the first time they see 'Alien'?"
An angry Vandaliser says this is one more thing they owe The Violator, who is finishing his story to Tommy's head by telling him how he and his brothers hooked up with the demon Malebolgia who runs the eighth circle of hell, but that he screwed up, hence his current exile. Then he has an idea and runs off to look for Spawn who he says can help him out.
He then returns to where the fighting is, and still in human form he allows The Vandaliser to pick him up, before changing into his demon form and biting The Vandaliser's hand off. He then rips the Vandaliser's head off and jumps up and down on his body until it's flattened.
|The Violator shows his brother who's boss.|
The Violator disguises Twisterelli's right hand man as him in human form and the brothers fall for it, they take him and the remains of The Vandaliser and escape through the gate with The Admonisher in hot pursuit. Both The Violator and Twisterelli are pleased they fooled their respective foes. The miniseries ends with The Violator climbing to the top of a tall building and some poetic Alan Moore dialogue.
Narrator: "The devil clambers up towards the stars. He hears a million heartbeats from the dreaming buildings far below... the planet and its sleeping hearts are spread before him in the night and the enemies of mankind that there be: by far the worst has come home to roost."
|Hell holds no fear for The Admonisher.|
Oh But Wait... A Special Bonus Thing!
At the back of issue #1 we get an insight into the creative collaboration between Alan Moore and the penciller Bart Sears which is fascinating because we get to see some Alan Moore artwork, to whit, the rough thumbnails he drew for the suggested layouts and how closely Sears stuck to them.
I'd love it if more Alan Moore projects had shown us stuff like this, it shows how even with the commercial stuff he was doing to support the likes of From Hell and Lost Girls, he was still deeply committed to it. Although this makes it even harder to defend the likes of Voodoo and Spawn/Wildc.A.T.s. I just like to pretend in those cases his thumbs were ignored, or that he was losing interest in the Image era of art and writing and didn't supply any. Yeah, I am going with that excuse.