- Spawn (comics)
Spawn Publication information Publisher Image Comics First appearance Spawn #1 (May 1992) Created by Todd McFarlane In-story information Alter ego Albert Francis "Al" Simmons (former)
Team affiliations CIA
United States Marine Corps
Notable aliases The One, Hellspawn Abilities Immortality, Strength, Speed, Agility, Endurance, Healing Factor, Flight, Magical Abilities, Teleportation, Shapeshifting, Necroplasmic Energy Blasts, Resurrection, Empathy
Spawn (Albert Francis "Al" Simmons/Jim Downing) is a fictional comic book superhero who appears in a monthly comic book of the same name published by Image Comics. Created by writer/artist Todd McFarlane, Spawn first appeared in Spawn #1 (May 1992). Spawn was ranked 60th on Wizard magazine's list of the Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time, 50th on Empire magazine's list of The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters and recently 36th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.
The series has spun off several other comics, including Angela, Curse of the Spawn, Sam & Twitch, and the Japanese manga Shadows of Spawn. Spawn was adapted into a 1997 feature film, an HBO animated series lasting from 1997 until 1999, and a series of action figures whose high level of detail made McFarlane Toys known in the toy industry.
Spawn enjoyed considerable popularity upon its initial release in the 1990s. Comic book collecting was enjoying a marked upswing at the time, fueled by the speculator boom looking for the next hot book that would jump in value after its release. McFarlane had also already enjoyed superstar status among comic fans with his work on Spider-Man, which had featured McFarlane's name prominently as both writer and artist. McFarlane's subsequent break with Marvel and the formation of Image Comics was seen by many as a sea-change event, changing the very way in which comics were produced. Wizard Magazine, on May 2008, rated "The Launch of Image Comics" as No.1 in the list of events that rocked the Comic Industry from 1991 to 2008.
The first issue of Spawn was very popular with sales of 1.7 million copies, however, popularity has faded over time. A recent issue, Spawn #174, ranked 99 out of 300 with preorder sales of 22,667. The popularity of the franchise peaked with the 1997 Spawn feature film, which was only a mild commercial success and failed to start a film franchise based on the character.
In October 2008, issue #185, which marked both a new creative direction and Todd McFarlane's return to the book, sold out at the distribution level and warranted a second printing. By issue #191 in May 2009, with estimated sales of 19,803 copies, Spawn had dropped below Top 100 titles sold monthly to comic shops as reported by Diamond Comic Distributors.
As of August 2010 Spawn no longer was ranked in the top 300 sales figures chart reported by Diamond Comic Distributors, issue 200 has been delayed.
On January 12, 2011, issue #200 completely sold out within that single day. This marks the bicentennial issue of the series and features an all-star creative lineup, including Greg Capullo, David Finch, Michael Golden, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Danny Miki, and Ashley Wood all contributing to the anniversary issue. A second printing was released on February 9, 2011. Despite its remarkable sales, it has endured terrible reception from fans and reviewers alike.
Fictional character biography
Mortal life and Untimely death
Albert Francis Simmons was born in Detroit, Michigan as the second of three children (Marc, Al, and Richard) to Esther and Bernard Simmons. Simmons was a very gifted officer of the United States Army, where he attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He later joined the United States Secret Service, which led to his transfer to the Central Intelligence Agency. In the CIA, Simmons was recruited by Director Jason Wynn into a special top-secret covert ops division known as the U.S. Security Group, an elite task force with jurisdiction in all domestic and foreign situations.
Simmons was murdered during a mission in Botswana for the USSG's Operation Knightstrike by fellow mercenary Bruce Stinson (also known as Chapel), at the order of Director Wynn, and was sent to hell because of his life as an assassin. Making a deal with a devil, Simmons agrees to become a Hellspawn and serve Malebolgia if he is allowed to see his wife, Wanda, one last time.
Malebolgia returns Simmons to the world, but with little memory, a badly burned and disfigured body, and magical powers. He is also assigned a watch dog, known as Clown. Simmons slowly realizes that five years have passed. When he decides to visit Wanda for his "one final visit", he shapeshifts his body, but discovers his transformation ability cannot give him his former appearance. He discovers that his wife, Wanda Blake, has since married his best friend, Terry Fitzgerald, and the two have a daughter, Cyan. His life over, Simmons has two choices before him: follow Malebolgia, or renounce the devil.
Now known as Spawn, Al's first few adventures are antihero in nature: he takes down street gangs and organized crime (including their enforcer, Overtkill), and he kills a child molester/murderer named Billy Kincaid. Spawn encounters an "Anti-Spawn", who is actually Jason Wynn (unknown to Al), and the Redeemer (a God-fearing man transformed in a similar fashion as Wynn). He survives an assault by Angela, an angel whose mission is to hunt Hellspawn for sport. Over time, he takes over the alleys that comprise "Rat City" and befriends the homeless within it, becoming their champion. In particular, he befriends an old bum named Cogliostro (Cog), a homeless old man who knows more about Spawn than Spawn himself. Cogliostro and the Clown act as polar guides for Al, trying to convince him to use his powers for good and evil respectively. At one point Spawn encounters Harry Houdini, who teaches Spawn some new tricks and saves Terry from being murdered by the mob. Spawn's face is injured during his time with Houdini prompting him to turn to a loyal bum named Bobby to sew the wound up with a shoelace rather than have Spawn waste precious energy healing it. This shoelace would eventually be removed by Terry Fitzgerald, and later worn as a necklace by Terry's daughter, Cyan Fitzgerald. "Shoestring face" Spawn would remain one of the iconic visuals of the character.
Heaven and Hell
Spawn struggled to find a way to free himself from Hell's control and recapture his humanity. Attacks from both Heaven and Hell were coming faster and faster, and Spawn was on the verge of losing himself to the violence and the evil. Salvation arrived in the form of a mound of festering garbage - The Heap, an emissary of the Greenworld, a power equal to Heaven and Hell that Spawn had never encountered before. They endowed him with a host of new abilities that would enable him to overcome the worst both Heaven and Hell had to offer.
While these powers are not directly described, they appear to give Spawn control over all the elements and other aspects of the natural world. It was explained to him that the Greenworld did not care for the war of Heaven and Hell, but were growing increasingly agitated by the destruction it brought about. They inflicted on him the pains of the Earth, and when he returned, Spawn became "aware" of the world. Spawn did not utilize his powers however, other than listening to the Earth, until he was impaled on the pole of a large sign by the dark god, Urizen. Urizen was wreaking havoc on the world, and after recovering thanks to Angela, Spawn splits the ground open, imprisoning Urizen within the Earth.
The new king of Hell
After defeating Urizen, Spawn learns that the dark god's release was orchestrated by Malebolgia, as part of an elaborate scheme to take total control of all the kingdoms of Hell. Having failed spectacularly, Malebolgia's power is at its lowest ebb. With the help of Angela, Spawn is able to return to Hell and finally destroy his demon master, although Angela's life is lost in the process. Though offered Malebolgia's crown by the sinister Mammon, Spawn declines both the crown and an offer to enter the gates of Heaven. Spawn instead turns his efforts towards stemming the torment of humanity and defeating the evil that exists on Earth.
Overwhelmed by the darkness on Earth, Spawn turns to his old mentor, Cogliostro, with a new plan. He will accept the crown of Hell, and then remake it, turning it from a dark realm of evil into a new paradise that will sweep away all sorrow and sadness on the Earth. Spawn and Cogliostro encounter Redeemer III, and in the subsequent battle, Spawn is dragged to Hell by some Scorpion demons. Mammon hands a box to Cogliostro, who kills himself and ends up in Hell, box in hand. He gives it to Spawn, who opens it and sees a fleeting glimpse of a utopia, along with his wife, and then Cogliostro reveals that he is the biblical Cain, the first murderer, and takes the crown of Hell for himself. Cain uses his newfound power to return Spawn to Earth, alive and well, back in the body of Al Simmons, but separating him from the Hellspawn symbiote.
Wandering the Earth in a daze, Al Simmons is confronted by a young witch named Nyx. With Nyx's help, Al is reunited with his Hellspawn symbiote, and Spawn is reborn. Seemingly human, with a human's frailty and vulnerability, when not shrouded in his costume, Spawn has lost much of his power, but continues with his mission to right the wrongs of the world and seek out peace of mind for himself. However, Mammon continues to plot against him from the shadows. After tempting and betraying Nyx, Mammon gains her magical power over the union between Al Simmons and Spawn, and uses it to rob Al of all of his memories. Al wanders the Earth, searching for something he feels, but cannot remember. During this wandering, Al unwittingly unleashes a band of angels known as the Forgotten, angels who were neutral, taking neither the sides of Heaven or Hell during the Fall. Al learns that Mammon is one of the Forgotten.
With the aid of the Greenworld, Spawn regains his lost memories, and something more. His costume metamorphoses again, seemingly becoming one with his necroplasmic body. Spawn is captured by Mammon and his demonic minions, and tortured horribly so that the secrets his body contains can be revealed. Spawn's discarded heart, torn from his chest in an earlier battle with the Disciple, a mysterious Warrior, transforms into a young boy named Chris. Chris, together with Sam and Twitch, rescue Spawn from Mammon's clutches and return him to Earth. Spawn learns that thousands of human souls are contained within his body, each one capable of being summoned in the form of a Hellspawn. As signs of the end of days wreak havoc across the world, Spawn must find a way to stave off Armageddon, and learn the true nature of Heaven, Hell, and the Earth.
Spawn learns that Wanda's recently born twin children (by way of Terry) are the ones responsible for Armageddon. The twins, who have been displaying destructive and sadistic tendencies for months now, attempt to murder their entire family, when Spawn arrives to stop them. Spawn is unable to destroy the twins, and the unexpected arrival of Zera, the Queen of the Seraphim, reveals the awful truth - Jake Fitzgerald is God, and Katie Fitzgerald is Satan.
It is revealed that both God and Satan were removed from their respective kingdoms and reincarnated as human children by the all-powerful being known as Mother. Mother is the creator of the universe and all its worlds, and God and Satan are two of her many children. She regards them as disappointments, being consumed with destructive hatred towards one another. Mother, who has aided Spawn in the past under the guises of Kali, the Keeper of the Greenworld, and the Man of Miracles, warns Spawn that he alone has the potential to rise above God and Satan, and preserve the human race. She also warns that Armageddon cannot be stopped - it is Earth's destiny.
Spawn is entered into one last final test to prove if he is worthy to preserve the human race: the Disciple. Before his final test, the Mother told Spawn to trust Cyan because she is "wise beyond her years". She also reveals that the Disciple is actually the guard of the portal to the Garden of Eden, where Spawn must eat the Forbidden Fruit in order to save humanity. After Spawn blasts the Disciple into Eden and kills him, it is revealed that there are actually 11 more Disciples, who are based on the Twelve Apostles. Also, because Hellspawns are never meant to enter into the Garden of Eden, Spawn's life will fade away the longer he is in the garden. This is shown through a video game like counter, which Cyan sees through a laptop. With the help of Cyan and the souls within him, Spawn fights each of the Disciples, killing them off one by one as the counter continues to drop to zero until the final Disciple left is Judas Iscariot, whom Spawn is about to kill. However, Cyan yells to Spawn to not kill him. Spawn, remembering what the Mother said about trusting Cyan, does not deal the final blow to Judas. Judas stabs Spawn through the heart and his counter reaches zero.
As Spawn lies slain, Mother appears and plucks a piece of fruit from the Tree of Life. She speaks with Judas, revealing that when she took the form of Jesus, Judas was his most beloved disciple, the only one who had the courage to betray him. Without his death, the life of Jesus would have had no greater meaning. Mother gives the power of the Forbidden Fruit to the lifeless Spawn, resurrecting him in a new form - his cloak and chains are gone, replaced with shining white wings. Mother explains that Cyan was right; Spawn needed to die in order to be resurrected and gain the power to rival God and Satan. Returning to Earth, Spawn finds New York totally destroyed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The slain population of the Earth have become possessed by angels and demons, who are gathering for the final battle. As Spawn races to the place where Armageddon will be fought, he confronts Zera, the Queen of the Seraphim.
During this battle, Spawn shows Zera his true power as equal to God and Satan. Spawn defeats Zera and returns to the battle between Heaven and Hell with her head as a trophy. Spawn arrives at the battle as the last of Heaven's warriors are slain. He believes that he knows one of them. Searching the battle field, Spawn discovers that he knows one of the soldiers as Granny Blake. She realizes that she has been betrayed and misled by her faith without God. Spawn faces off against the Hellspawn of Satan's army, declaring that the Earth realm belongs to him. Calling him a traitor for breaking his oath, the Hellspawn from all the ages converge on their "brother." Spawn battles the Hellspawn, calling upon the Earth to swallow them, returning them to Hell. Hearing of this, Satan sends all of his remaining warriors after Spawn. Fearing that Spawn will unbalance Armageddon, God does the same. These events are watched by Mammon and a cloaked figure, whom Mammon responds to as a subordinate. During their exchange, it is implied that all is going according to their plan, and Mammon says that he should have never been doubted. As Heaven and Hell attack, Spawn with full force that almost destroys the whole universe, calls to himself all the power given to him by the Mother, and in a single display of power destroys the armies of Heaven and Hell, along with the rest of humanity.
Laughing, he dismisses his act as a way to halt the Armageddon itself, leaving God and Satan without soldiers to use in their battle. He then asks the Mother to restore her children to their former glory and powers, but refuses to fight them. They eventually incinerate Spawn, then proceed their endless battle... fighting by themselves, in a barren, scorched Earth.
The reconstructed world
Spawn, now given the powers of a god and the protection of the Mother, gains the power to recreate Earth, restoring everyone to life, but leaving humanity every memory of the Rapture. Both God and Satan have no role in the "new" Earth, because they're trapped in their perception of a barren Earth until they cease their seemingly endless fight, and Spawn, with his last act as a god himself, closes every door between Hell, Heaven, and Earth.
He then asks the Mother to turn him back into Al Simmons, convincing her into letting the former Spawn have the chance to win back Wanda and becoming a fatherly figure for Cyan. A now fully human Simmons returns to his former home, but facing the memories of the miscarriage he inflicted upon Wanda by beating her the last night before dying, he relinquishes humanity once more, accepting to go on in his death as the monster he was always thought to have been in life.
Realizing how Al Simmons himself, not Mammon, claimed the Hellspawn role as penance, Spawn, again in his "red-cowled" costume, once more takes residence in a deserted and barren Rat Alley.
Later a robed figure would tell Mammon of Spawn's defeating of Clown and closing the portal to Hell, which he had wanted Spawn to do, and calls Spawn "my good and faithful servant."
In issue #169, Zera has returned. She is seen again now as a rotting decapitated head immersed in preservative liquids within a glass container. As she was one of God's favorites, she was granted immortality by God. Spawn is summoned by Voodoo priestess Mambo Suzanne while Zera is trying to possess Nyx. Zera uses Nyx's body to successfully do battle with Spawn. Mambo Suzanne, however uses the conflict as a distraction to shatter the glass containing Zera's head and throw the head to streets below. There, demon dogs devour the head until there is nothing left, thereby freeing Nyx from Zera's possession. This issue leads to the recovery of Nyx and Spawn's friendship as well as Nyx's recovery of her powers.
"A Tale of Three Brothers"
In the next arc, "A Tale of Three Brothers" composed of the latest few issues but was the title that ran through issues #170-173, Ab and Zab create a literal hell house where visitors are forced to face their most heinous sins, due to demons called sin eaters that feed on the guilt by making their prey face the evil that they had done. A woman and a minister within the house are both caught in the delusions caused by the sin eaters, and slowly fed on by the demons. Spawn confronts Ab and Zab, but is faced with his own sin against Wanda and his unborn child. Unable to break free from the guilt, he is slowly fed on by a sin eater. Nyx however decides to intervene, overcoming a sin eater and breaking a sin eater's illusion that was subduing Spawn (it is revealed later on that Nyx is becoming more powerful). Spawn then tears apart many of the other sin eaters until he comes upon the minister who is being fed on by a sin eater.
It is then revealed that the minister is Al Simmons' brother, Richard, who was reliving his own worst sin. Spawn, who up to that moment had not yet recovered all his memories as Al Simmons since he became a Hellspawn, decides to allow Richard to relive his sin so that he can peer into his own past. It is then revealed that Mammon, under the guise of a man, Mr. Malefick, had a profound influence on Al Simmons' childhood. It was Mammon/Mr. Malefick (a constant visitor in the Simmons' household and close acquaintance of Al Simmons' mother) that tutored Al Simmons to torture and murder small animals at a very young age as well as hurt his own body, seemingly grooming him to become his servant, who would feel neither glee nor pity in taking another being's life. Malefick had also influenced Richard Simmons to take drugs as well as introducing him to the drug dealer Weasel. It was only Marc Simmons that seemingly was able to save himself from Mammon's influence, but was unable to help his brothers. Richard Simmons' vision of his past climaxed with him stabbing and gravely injuring Weasel (with a knife that was given by Mammon/Malefick) while intoxicated with drugs. Richard calls his brothers to come and help him in his predicament. Al Simmons, not wanting him and his brothers to be implicated in the crime, decides against calling an ambulance that could save the drug dealer's life and instead pulls the knife from Weasel's body and kills him with it. Mammon/Malefick then appears sending the brothers home while he hides the drug dealer's body.
Finding that the sin eater was already killing Richard Simmons, Nyx breaks the illusion while Spawn kills the last sin eater. Spawn then asks Richard about their parents, finding that Richard had neither thought of nor heard from them in years, Spawn determines that Mammon had blocked the memory of their parents and prevented the brothers from even thinking about their parents. Spawn then leaves, but not before Nyx places a spell preventing Ab and Zab from leaving the building and Spawn promises to come back for his brother. Spawn then finds his parents' home which Mammon had hidden under a spell and within it his parents, who were trapped there for many years. There, he is greeted by his mother, who recognizes Al Simmons even in the form of Spawn while Al Simmons' father is shocked.
Al Simmons' mother had conspired with Mammon to give birth to a Hellspawn that would be greater than those which came before, that would remake the world and place all of existence under Mammon/Malefick's power. Al Simmons' father falls into grief for not being able to stop his wife from what she and Mammon had done to his son. When Spawn wonders why his father was chosen to bear him, his father points out a journal from his great-grandfather, passed down from generation to generation... a journal that Al Simmons' mother had prevented her husband from showing their children.
As Spawn is given the journal by his father, Richard Simmons is seen providing the demons Ab and Zab some food, then retiring to his quarters to recall a time in his childhood when he would pretend to be asleep and his father would come weeping and reciting a prayer beside his bed. Mammon/Malefick then appears. Feeling that there can be no redemption for himself, Richard follows Mammon down to a door whereupon entering, Richard is swallowed into the bowels of Hell.
Spawn #174-175 tells the story that is found in the journal. Francis Parker (who later took the name "Henry Simmons"), Al Simmons' great grandfather, was a deserter who was to be lynched alongside another man, Jeremy Winston, in the town of Bane. Winston, a preacher, had been framed for murdering his family and was condemned to death. Mammon approached both men offering them a chance for revenge against those who have wronged them, an offer which Parker refused but Winston accepted. During the proceedings of the execution, Mammon causes a malfunction that ultimately saves Parker's life, however, Winston is killed. A short time thereafter, Winston is resurrected as the Gunslinger Spawn and he proceeds to slaughter every resident in the town of Bane, sparing only Francis Parker, whom Mammon ordered be kept alive. The Gunslinger Spawn confines Parker to a pine casket belonging to a now deceased resident of Bane, Henry Simmons, and floats the coffin down a river to an awaiting Mammon, who tells Parker that one of his descendants will become the Hellspawn that destroys the world.
"The Monster in the Bubble"
The story returns to the Simmons house where the television reports mysteriously reveal a new case involving the death of an American comic book artist. The artist was a deformed teenager named Kenneth Erskine, a man that had been unable to leave the protection of a bubble dome due to a medical affliction. Though he didn't die during the end of the world, he was affected by a leak inside his sterile bubble that gives him the power to project anything he draws as real. Al's brother, Marc, is the lead detective of the case, and the only one not to be corrupted by Mammon's influence. Nyx and Al leave to assist Marc, believing that it was Mammon who sent the transmission to the television about the case. As soon as Al and Nyx leave, Mammon and a figure in a cloak with visible vampire-like fangs suddenly appears in the house and proceeds to drain Al's father of blood. The cloaked figure's identity seems to be known by Simmons' mother as she smiles after Mammon asks her if she knew who the creature is. Spawn fails to save the Erskine's next victim. The last frame of the final part of the arc leaves Spawn doubting himself, unable to save a few people from dying - much less the entire world.
The continuation of "The Monster in the Bubble" from the last issue left Spawn utterly helpless against Erskine's psychic projection of a tentacled creature, that had impaled him multiple times. Erskine's projection suddenly shows features of Mammon, continually coaxing and tempting Spawn to accept death. Nyx intervenes by stabbing the creature with a sword, gaining the creature's attention, but leading her to become the creature's next target. She then telepathically contacts Marc Simmons, begging him to shoot Erskine. Erskine relents and ceases his attack causing the creature to disappear, allowing Nyx and Al to go to the hospital where Erskine is held. Spawn is faced with the predicament however of whether or not to cause Erskine's death, threatening to enter the bubble dome if Erskine does not reveal the whereabouts of Mammon, whom Spawn believed was pulling the strings. Mammon then appears to complicate the situation allowing Erskine to complete his last murder using a psychic projection of a woman to attack the last victim in his home. Mammon reveals that it was he who taught Erskine to use his powers. Upon killing his last victim, Erskine then proceeds to commit suicide, leaving his worldly possessions in the name of the doctor who had taken care of him. Spawn then proceeds to attack Mammon, and ask what Mammon wanted from him. Mammon then says that he wants nothing from Spawn, saying that Spawn had lost everything that made him special, only wanting Spawn to accept that it is his time. It is then revealed that Mammon had been using Erskine's powers to project a psychic projection of himself, and he was actually in another location. As the psychic projection melts away, Spawn is left kneeling, accepting the belief that whatever he tries to do goes wrong, that he is no longer needed by the world.
"Dead Man Walking"
The story then shifts to a mortuary. The story begins to be told in first person by a Dark and Powerful vampire known as Severin. Severin awakes, from what is thought to have been his death, and finds himself in a mortuary lying on a table. He is not alone as two doctors are examining a body close by. Once the doctors discover that Severin is alive, they flee in terror only to be killed by Morana (the robed associate of Mammon). With Morana's help, Severin begins to remember his past and discovers he is one of the Vrykolakas, the first of the vampires.
Morana seeks Severin's assistance and promises to end Severin's life if he agrees to help. Morana takes Severin to Spawn's warehouse where Spawn and Nyx try to explain to Marc about his brother's current situation. Morana explains that Severin must infect the Hellspawn with his curse. Severin must bite Spawn. Severin emerges and easily defeats Marc and Nyx before infecting Spawn with the vampiric curse.
Severin and Morana escape to the rooftops where Severin receives his reward, death. However, Severin has been tricked. Severin desires death but was instead given an inescapable hellish experience; Severin must relive the moments leading up to his infecting of the Hellspawn for all eternity.
Cyan, the daughter of Wanda Blake and Terry Fitzgerald, is having terrible visions. Her visions seem to be targeted mostly at her mother. Cyan sees her mother covered in blood every time they see each other. She envisions the pain that her savior, Spawn, is suffering through. Her visions are confirmed to be true.
Spawn, having been infected by the vampire Severin, struggles with his symbiotic costume inside his own conscience while Nyx and Marc stand by unable to help in any way. The costume insists that although Spawn is the host, the costume has always been in control of the Hellspawn's powers. The costume is angered by Spawn's actions, namely deciding to throw away the powers of a god. The costume begins fighting with Spawn, now returned to his Al Simmons form. The costume tries to convince Simmons that his wife Wanda Blake had betrayed him while they were married. The costume insists that Wanda decided not to have Simmons' child because she hated Simmons. The costume continues to taunt Simmons, bringing up Wanda's marriage to Simmons' best friend Terry Fitzgerald. Eventually, Simmons accepts what the costume has been saying and returns to consciousness.
The setting shifts to Mammon's residence where it is revealed that Mammon was guiding Spawn's costume into turning against him. Mammon is accompanied by Morana and Morana's foster parents Lucian and Daciana, leaders of the original vampires. Mammon orders Morana to prepare himself for what he must do next, which is unknown at this point.
The scene shifts back to Cyan's bedroom. There, her visions tell her that something terrible is about to occur. For the first time in the story she is afraid of Spawn, fearing his return will be to murder someone close to her. Cyan stands, approaching her closet door (which is covered with blood); she opens the door and finds Spawn standing before her. Cyan looks at him and asks, "You're going to kill my mom, aren't you?"
Forewarned by Granny Blake, Cyan plunges a knife wrapped with the shoelace once bound to Spawn's face into him. The knife, mystically charged, is able to rip a wound into the symbiotic entity, plunging Simmons in a delusional world, based on his memories with Wanda, to settle his unresolved issues with her in a more peaceful manner.
They are transported into a boat in a lake, similar to the location where Al Simmons and Wanda Blake once had a boat ride together. Spawn talks with Wanda, stating that he wished to move on, but couldn't due to their connection and what he had done. Wanda asks if Spawn could move on if she forgave him for the miscarriage of their child to which Spawn responds to do it. Wanda states that she couldn't forgive him, but also that if anything of her late husband is within him, that she loves him. Spawn, contemplating what to do, feels the pain of the knife that Cyan had stabbed on his chest and attempts to extract it, but upon doing so finds hanging from the shoelace, his wedding ring, the symbol of his bond with Wanda. Al Simmons is then able to reject his costume and bring the boat to the side of the lake, finding that both Cyan and Nyx were able to follow them into that location. Upon getting on shore, the symbiote resurfaces and attacks Nyx.
The symbiote is revealed as retaining its sentience and independence, and to have always worked for Mammon, offering full collaboration to his efforts to breed a perfect Hellspawn in exchange for being free to roam the Earth. Since Al Simmons is no longer needed, K7 Leetha merges with Nyx, in retaliation for its past enslavement, gaining full control over Nyx's actions and torturing her by imposing its will on hers. The symbiote attempts to kill Wanda and Cyan, but Mammon stops it by promising to bestow it with new powers and a new host if it keeps obeying. Mammon then leads the whole party, now formed by the new She-Spawn; Al Simmons in a human, unscarred, body; Wanda; and Cyan; to a distant castle. He then unveils how Wanda and Al were part of a master plan to breed the perfect Hellspawn, thus connecting Al Simmons to all previous Hellspawns, coming from Al and Wanda's bloodlines, and the Armageddon was simply a convenient way to put Malebolgia, God, and Satan out of the picture, paving the way for his rule over the Universe.
On the way to the castle, Mammon reveals that Al Simmons has now outlived his usefulness, as a new, better host is already prepared to take his place, loyal to his plans and more powerful than Al Simmons ever was. The host is finally unveiled to Wanda and Al Simmons as Morana, their miscarried child, stolen by Mammon the day in which Al Simmons brought Wanda to the hospital after beating her.
Morana, now a full grown woman, waits in the castle, bathing in the blood of virgin youths as a part of her coming of age rite. After that, Morana is restored to her human self, ready to meet her parents for the first time. Renouncing them as she claims they've abandoned her, she takes over the K7 symbiote from Nyx and plans to feed over Wanda's and Al's souls.
Since Nyx is powerless, and the Mother of Miracles is away from the earthly plane for ten thousand years, Cyan is pressured by Grandma Blake's apparition to push her precognitive powers to the limits, where she meets an old woman writing down a book in a dilapidated house. Ready to die, yet willing to help Cyan in her role, she gives Cyan a message for Spawn.
Returned to Limbo, Cyan pressures Spawn into calling down the Legion, or at least the still living souls of it, numbering a mere dozen. Even if Christopher claims that this new incarnation of the Legion is made by the strongest members, stronger even than the Hellspawn, Cyan shares with Nyx how her plan actually involves the Legion being soundly defeated by Morana.
The events unfold the way the old wise woman is writing them in her book, and despite their impressive powers, the Legion are slayed in front of a guilty, helpless, Cyan, until only Christopher is left, ready to go on in a new afterlife, beyond Heaven and Hell. Al Simmons, taunted by Mammon about his losses, from the happy family he could have had up to his life, denounces Morana, refusing her as his daughter. In retaliation, Morana savagely attacks her own servants, and her father.
Using the distraction in her favor, Cyan teaches a binding spell to Nyx, so powerful to be able to trap Morana and Mammon in Limbo for eternity. In an ontological paradox, Cyan claims the spell was taught to her by the wise old woman, who received the words by an older Nyx, in the future. The spell is successful, and Morana is left trapped, and pleading to Wanda to be saved.
At this time, it is revealed that these events have been documented by a wise old woman. Al Simmons convinces Wanda to return to the earthly plane with Cyan and Nyx, and after giving her a last farewell, and an apology for the life they never could have had together, he stays behind, searching for a way to be reborn as a new individual, no more a tool of Heaven and Hell. Journeying in a hellish dimension paved with discarded souls, Simmons begins his last voyage, a voyage turning Spawn in the biggest antihero known on Earth, both hero and villain, destined to bring on the final downfall of Heaven and Hell, and enact his final vengeance over God and Satan. As Simmons is walking, he says "I know what I must do". The old woman finishes documenting this final chapter, and ends the book by saying "in toppling them both he became the greatest hero and the greatest villain known to mankind. For me he was neither, he was and always will be exactly what I first saw in him as a child...he was the Sad Man." Finally, she signs the book with her signature, which reads "Cyan Blake".
As Al traverses the land of discarded souls he prepares to enter the human world. Escaping Hell, he arrives back in the alleys of New York City. Al Simmons searches for one spot in particular (it is implied in the previous issue, issue 184, that this is the exact spot where he returned to Earth as a newly created Hellspawn at the beginning of the comic); once he finds the spot he is looking for he gathers his remaining Hellspawn energy and blows his own head off, the one "true" way to effectively kill a Spawn.
Seconds later, a hospital patient awakens from a coma. His name is Jim Downing, and he has no memory (it is speculated that Jim Downing isn't his real name, just one given to him by the hospital). The doctors are amazed at his supernatural recovery time as in only a few hours his muscles grow and he becomes more stable. Who Jim is remains a mystery, but it is clear that at one time he did know the Hellspawn known as Al Simmons (confirmed when it shows Jim thinking about Spawn).
During Jim's recovery, a janitor makes a call to a wealthy lawyer informing him of Jim's awakening. The lawyer calls an as of yet unknown person after threatening the janitor for wanting to take the story of Jim to the newspaper. Once his conversation is over with the person on the other end of the phone, the lawyer takes his own life.
While Jim is recovering, a leg-breaker is paid to send one of his thugs to the hospital to kidnap Jim. A young nurse named Sara begins talking to Jim while he sleeps. She says that she had prayed for him to wake up and be healthy and that her prayer has come true. While she and Jim begin to connect, the kidnapper bursts through the hospital wall.
With a head engulfed in flame the kidnapper chases Jim through the hospital, blowing up walls and attracting the attention of police and firefighters. Cornered, Jim is helpless against the kidnapper until something happens. Jim's eyes turn a familiar green and the kidnapper begins to scream in fear and pain. Jim is now Spawn, and he has killed the kidnapper. The hospital becomes engulfed in flame and begins to burn down. Spawn walks out of the fire and reverts back to Jim Downing, who lies unconscious on the ground being helped by firefighters.
Later, Jim is placed in an ambulance with an elderly man and is transported to another hospital and Jim is placed in a room with about a dozen other patients for the night. Later it is shown that at a news publisher called the "New York Clarion" a reporter named Marc is put on the investigation of the story of the fire at the hospital and it is revealed that the hospital has a history of not talking to anyone.
Jim is then later transferred to another hospital where his doctor is planning on releasing him but he phones the doctor who was first taking care of Jim and is threatened into keeping him there. This doesn't happen however as Jim reunites with Sara at the hospital and ends up staying at her apartment. Later that night after remembering what he did to the flame headed kidnapper he goes for a glass of water and he becomes Spawn again.
After screaming for Sara a few times Sara comes running but discovers that he has jumped out the window. At this time in Connecticut, the Clown is shown visiting an unknown bald man revealed to be a demon and they discuss Clown's plans for the future. It indicates that he does not know about Jim becoming a new Spawn and that his plan involves rebelling against the rules of Hell as he sees them following a path of self destruction that will lead to Heaven's victory. The Clown then tells the bald demon that he plans to make him join him in his plan to control mankind. The bald demon tries to tell the Clown no but Clown tells the bald demon he has no choice and drives it home by killing most of the bald demon's dogs.
During this entire talk Jim, now turned into Spawn goes jumping around the city and ends up free falling into a building were a large amount of men point guns at Jim and fire at him as he turns into Spawn again and effortlessly kills them all. Some time later, Jim returns to Sara as Sam and Twitch arrive at the place Jim killed the men and agree that the situation has given them the sense of déjà vu.
Marc the reporter is then seen interviewing people about the fire at the hospital and after talking to an old man it is revealed that the old man is the one that was transported in the ambulance with Jim and that his emphysema was cured like a miracle and that all the patients in the room Jim was in have all been cured.
After an argument between Jim and Sara about Jim's origins Jim leaves after almost hurting Sara and later Sara is visited by an unknown man asking questions about Jim. After wandering in the snow for a bit Jim stops for a coffee at a diner and meets Wanda there after she recognizes him. In the talk she tells him she first meet him years ago a little after Al Simmons first appeared on Earth as Spawn but in the first form Al tried to talk to Wanda in. At the end of the talk Wanda looks into Jim's eyes and realizes he is a Spawn and tells him where to go for answers but tells him that she can't be a part of it any more.
After some more wandering Jim gets a phone call from Sara telling him to stay away and eventually Jim reaches the alleys and meets a bum that leads Jim to Spawn's old throne after Jim said Wanda sent him. After sitting on the throne he turns into Spawn again and is approached by an angel calling him "another of God's elite".
The angel starts talking to Spawn obviously not realizing what he is and tells him that she had found an anomaly after Al killed himself but her superiors did not believe her. After a little bit she realizes Spawn is no angel but someone else she recognizes. Spawn then attacks her and asks how she knows him and she calls him a traitor and that what he did to God was unforgivable. Jim then gets a phone call from Sara but is cut off and thinks that the angel sent someone after Sara and then impales the angel's arms and wings into the wall and leaves.
After getting back to Sara's the same unknown man from before enters after Jim but Jim grabs him and pins him to the wall and after an interrogation learns that the man's boss is named Gilbert Sanchez and not any angels. Afterwards, Jim goes back up to Sara to tell her goodbye again. At the same time the Clown finds the angel and after making fun of her for a bit as he starts beating her with a crowbar and after showing her that he is the Violator he proceeds to rip off her wings.
Later that night the same bald demon from before is seen going to a night club looking for a man named Claudio. After asking around for a bit the bald demon is forced out of the club by a man claiming that he is sticking his noses where it shouldn't be. After walking down the alley the bald demon is then jumped by the same man and a group who then reveals that they are vampires and intend to feed on him despite his warning not to. After the head vampire bites the bald demon he begins to vomit as the demon tells him that he has become very sick and then proceeds to kill the others and tells the head vampire that the only way to survive is to help him set up a meeting between the Clown and Claudio.
At this point Jim returns to his alley and sees that the angel is no longer pinned to the wall and finds her around the corner rambling. After unsuccessfully trying to talk to her The Freak appears before Jim. He tells Jim that an Angel that has lost her wings on Earth losses not only their powers but their minds as well. After Jim attacks The Freak and gets just a little info from him about his nature the angel attacks the Freak as well calling him a devil and saying she knows who he is and his plans. Jim asks if everyone has gone mad and the Violator appears behind him to tell him "no".
The Violator then proceeds to tell Spawn that he has the answers to who and what he is and tells him to come closer. The Freak then desperately tries to tell Spawn that it is a trick and that the Violator is powerless in the area around Spawn's throne but Spawn goes anyway. Before Spawn can leave, the Violator claims another being like Spawn has entered the alleys and calls him more dangerous. The Violator runs out of sight to confront this 'threat,' but the dialogue makes it clear that Violater is simply switching back and forth between his Clown form to deceive Spawn. Clown comes out of the shadows saying the problem was taken care of. Clown then tells Spawn and Freak that he is willing to help them both but Freak refuses and runs away. Clown then tells Spawn his costume is alive but before he can reveal anything more about Spawn, Clown suddenly tells him that he has to go and darts off.
The scene then shifts to Sam and Twitch who, during a discussion about finding Spawn, nearly hit Clown with their car. After Clown urinates on the car he is taken into custody though it is obvious Clown is doing this on purpose. Clown is later put into a cell with three other men and then sits down with one who he indicates is Claudio. Clown tells Claudio that he wants to talk to Claudio's boss to get him and his army of vampires under his control. When Claudio asks why his boss would want to work for Clown, Clown answers that he won't have a choice and that Clown wants to combine his power with Spawn's and Claudio's boss to form a new Unholy Trinity.
Meanwhile a mob meeting is taking place which is interrupted by a man named Gilbert Sanchez. Sanchez provides information about the target they are looking for, specifically the target's name, recent activities, and that there are no records of his existence available. The mob, on receiving this information, murder Sanchez to cover their tracks and begin looking for the new spawn. Later, Jim visits a gang owned bar looking for Sanchez, and is roughed up by one of his men. Jim transforms into Spawn and wounds his attacker threatening him with worse harm if he is not given him the information he wants. Eventually Jim follows the man he found outside Sara's flat, back to his house, where it is seen he has a wife and child. Jim comes out of the shadows demanding to know everything he has not been told. However, before the two can talk the house is destroyed in a bomb blast.
An enraged Spawn lifts itself out of the rubble demanding blood from whoever is responsible. Back in human form, a shell shocked Jim returns home to find Sara and Judy being interrogated by a journalist. Sara vents her anger out on Jim's constant disappearances, which queues Judy and the journalist to leave. The mob then makes its move, kidnapping Judy. The journalist informs Sara and Jim of the incident. Jim, on being given information on the vehicles appearance, heads to the roof, as his costume takes over. Spawn surveys the streets for the vehicle, and upon spotting it, hurtles down onto the bonnet unsubtly stopping the car. With the driver dead and the other gangster wounded, Spawn tells Judy to head for the police station where it will be safe. He then interrogates the gangster, from the top of a building, demanding the name of the man responsible for the incidents; upon receipt of a name, the gangster is dropped to his death.
Later Marc and Sara are shown picking up Judy from the police station and, during a conversation where Sara mentions that Marc's cough is gone, Marc figures out that it was Jim healing everyone. Later Spawn heads to the office of a geneticist named Dr. Gunther and threatens the doctor into giving him some answers. Spawn asks "Who's patient 47?" and the doctor tells him that he works for an organization that is involved in multiple genetics experiments and that patient 47 was the final project in their goal of creating a god. In the end Spawn gets a name, Nortego, and leaves and promises to kill the doctor if he is lying.
Marc is then show calling Sara asking where Jim is but she doesn't know. During the conversation he tells her he is on to something incredible but needs to talk to Jim and Sara asks Marc to tell her if he finds out who Jim is; after he hangs up, he remarks that he already knows who he is.
Later that night Jim forces his way into a building and confronts Nortego as his men hold him at gun point. During this Nortego says that he used to know Jim but not any more and also claims that he is not the one who is giving all the orders. He also tells Jim that he should be dead and that doctors could not figure out why. After the conversation begins to heat up Nortego tells Jim that he is still in control and that he's triggered a killswitch to kill Jim but Jim turns into Spawn and in a flash of darkness kills Nortego's men. Spawn continues to interrogate Nortego and he tells Spawn that the one who turned Jim into Spawn was Jim himself as he was tired of all the failures and became his own test subject.
This information makes Spawn kill Nortego and afterwards Spawn is approached by Clown who takes Spawn to the place that Al Simmons killed himself to show Spawn his corpse. Clown proceeds to tell Spawn about why Simmons fought against Heaven and Hell and the nature of the war between the two powers and Simmons' part in it. Clown tells Jim that Simmons passed the Spawn powers to him to continue the fight. Clown then tells Spawn that to do this he needs to become the leader of the Earth and rips out the skull shaped clasps from Al's corpse and puts them on Jim. He explains the significance of the skulls as the faces of all those corrupted by Heaven and Hell. He tells Spawn that he and Al fought together in the war and that he needs Jim to raise up and defend the Earth like Al did before. Clown then ends by telling Jim "You're a Spawn now! Embrace that and you can become Earth's king" as the Endgame comes to a close.
Al Simmons is reborn as the "Omega Spawn"; he has unlimited Necro-power and a brand new, super-powerful, female symbiote costume. He has been given complete and total control over all of Hell by Satan and he plans to combine the forces of Hell and Earth to destroy Heaven and imprison God. He has released all the supervillains from Hell and all over the world they are attacking the heroes of Earth including The Witchblade host, Sara Pezzini, The Darkness (Jackie Estacado), and the Youngblood Group. Omega Spawn first contacts Jim in his apartment; Jim senses him and transforms into Spawn. Al explains himself and his plans to Jim and also recognizes Jim's suit as K7-Leetha (who somehow got out of her imprisonment with Mammon and Morana). Al attacks Jim after offering him a seat at his side (which Jim rejected) and said that he, along with all the heroes of the world will suffer as Hell rules supreme and Heaven is destroyed and God is imprisoned. During the fight Jim teleports to a hospital. He eventually makes his way to the other heroes and explains the situation. Meanwhile, all the villains of Hell including Chapel (the very man who killed Al) and The Curse converge on Liberty Island.
One night, Sara is visited by an angel. The angel is actually the new incarnation of The Redeemer. For associating with a Hellspawn, the Redeemer prepares to kill Sara, but just before he does, he spots a cross necklace and realizes that she is a Christian. The next day, Marc meets with Jim and introduces Jim to a crippled Vietnam war veteran. Jim is displeased by this and leaves. Later, Marc returns to Sara's apartment and shows Jim and Sara that the veteran was cured. He then reveals that he had been following Jim's story and found that everyone Jim came close to was cured if they had a sickness.
That night, Clown returns and meets with Jim on the building roof. As they chat, the Redeemer attacks them, and reveals that the angel that Spawn was attacked by during "Endgame" was his wife, and he had come looking for her. Clown explains that they killed her, and the Redeemer becomes mad with rage. Spawn and Clown battle with the Redeemer, but Spawn is knocked off the building, though he catches onto the side of the building. At that moment, as Clown is ready to face off with the Redeemer, Clown summons his vampires to kill the Redeemer. The Redeemer is killed by the vampires, and Spawn returns to the building. Clown asks Spawn if they could team up, and Spawn agrees, quoting "you seem to be the only one I can trust these days".
Later, the man who hired the "flaming head" kidnapper hires a towering muscled man named Malcolm (who is revealed to be "Patient 46") to take out Jim. The muscled man is shocked when he finds out that Jim is Patient 47, since he was told that he was "the last one". Meanwhile, as Jim leaves Sara's apartment, he meets Marc, who Jim attacks. However, Marc says that Jim will need a friend, and reveals that the job of bringing the old man that Jim healed in the previous issue to Jim was forced upon him by his boss after he tries to convince his boss to run a story on Jim being a faith healer. The next day, when the old man is healed, Marc's boss attempts to force Marc to continue running a story on Jim, but Marc is reluctant, believing that Jim needs some space. Marc's boss lashes out at him, and Marc quits. Jim then walks away from Marc and says that he never wants to see him again, but Marc counters by saying "in about five seconds you'll say otherwise." Jim opens the door of the building, and discovers that there are a large number of reporters outside wanting to run a story on Jim. It is then revealed that after Marc quit his job, he calls up some television channels to tell them about Jim, in an attempt to get back at his boss by getting the television channels to try to run a story on Jim instead of his former employers. As Jim is trying to get through the crowd of reporters, he encounters Malcolm. Jim morphs into Spawn and battles Malcolm at a construction site, where Malcolm reveals that he was also a "patient", and that he can't let the media see Jim in his current state. In a collision of both Malcolm and Spawn's attacks, the entire construction site is destroyed. Jim is then seen hovering over the wreckage, with the media watching and recording the event.
Jim is unable to get free from the swarm of reporters and resorts to flying away. Sam, Twitch, and a detective who has been working with them named Rowand witness the event, but Twitch is then distracted by Clown, who he pursues down the alleyway. Twitch catches Clown in the alley, but Clown morphs into Violator, Sam suffers a heart attack and Rowand is distracted by this, leaving Twitch alone with Violator. At the same time across town, Jim is packing up his belongings, ready to leave Sara's apartment to get away from the media. Marc gives Jim his business card and Jim leaves for the alleyways. Jim returns to his throne in the alley and is met by The Freak, who tells Jim that he will use Jim to "punish those who have betrayed me in my absence", and that Jim must choose Clown's side or The Freak's side. Jim morphs into Spawn and begins to battle The Freak, who reveals that he knows what Clown has been doing, and also reveals that he can drain Spawn's power incredibly quickly. Clown appears and morphs into Violator, before biting The Freak's arm off, and The Freak reveals that he controls many powerful Spawns. He then unleashes Omega Spawn from the Image United crossover, and Jim attacks him. As Jim is about to attack The Freak again, Clown stops him and tells Spawn that The Freak is his problem, and that something is wrong and not to go near him. Spawn asks why, and The Freak replies that Clown is afraid. The Freak's eyes turn green and he begins to morph, saying "it's time I show you who I really am!". The Freak reveals his true identity to be Malebolgia. After being defeated by Al Simmons, the Lords of Hell cut off Malebolgia's power and set up "road blocks" to insure that he never returned. Betrayed, Malebolgia swears to regain his true power and form and kill all those who tried to prevent his return, including the Violator who had sided with Malebolgia's greatest rival, Mammon, after Malebolgia's fall. Malebolgia orders Violator to tell of his return in order to spread fear. He then teleports, leaving a skeptical and terrified Violator alone in the wastelands of Hell. Malebolgia is seen approaching an asylum or prison inmate, demanding the prisoner return something of his.
Spawn is confronted by a new nemesis in the form of the vampire lord aptly named, Bludd. On the surface, it appears that Bludd is a rogue element, seeking to control Jim by withholding pieces of Jim's past from him. Secretly, however, Bludd has become partners with the Clown and the pair conspire to manipulate Jim and prepare for the return of Malebolgia. Jim's newfound status as a powerful healer gains him all sorts of notoriety. During a stint on a television talk show, Jim heals a boy with sever mental problems before a live audience. However, this kind of attention brings unwelcome attention to his close friends, particularly Sara. While trying to escape a crowd of paparazzi, a photographer is hit by an incoming bus. Sara pleads with Jim to save the man, but he at first refuses. Appalled by his inhumane disregard for the man's life, Sara chastises Jim until he agrees to heal the man. Due to the man being on the verge of death, Jim unleashes unprecedented power before flashing cameras and video recorders in order to revive the fallen man. This catapults Jim to world wide fame.
From atop a nearby building, a trio of vampires watches as Jim performs the "miracle." Their conversations are interrupted by the Clown who recruits the trio, identified as "The Old Guard," and gives them the task of testing the new Hellspawn's powers. Clown then goes to meet with Jim, who has teleported Sara to her apartment and now waits in the alleys. Jim berates Clown for not being around when Jim needs him. The Clown voices his disapproval of Jim's basking in the limelight, but changes tactics and suggests Jim use it to protect himself from the forces of Heaven and Hell. The armies won't risk exposing themselves in front of the human world.
Secretly, Malebolgia plots his return to power. He journeys from Russia to Mexico in search of two old companions, humans. These humans were given fragments of Malebolgia's powers to hold onto in exchange for wealth and power, on the agreement that they would return the powers when they were requested. These keepers of "Malebolgia's Flame" hesitated to return the powers, much to Malebolgia's irritation. Angered by the men's defiance, Malebolgia used optimal force to retract the Flames from them, even promising the second keeper that he would make the extraction more painful than necessary. The retraction caused the deaths of both men.
In a secret conference with the Old Guard, Bludd sends them to confront the new Spawn without the Clown's knowledge. Upon revealing the meeting to Clown, Bludd asserts himself as the leader in their arrangement. Clown agrees to follow Bludd, but only if Bludd can prove himself to be a reliable leader. Clown relays his fears of Malebolgia's return and demands that the two partners be prepared.
In the alleys, the Old Guard confront Spawn, sitting upon the abandoned throne of former Hellspawn, Al Simmons. After the Old Guard establish that Jim and his symbiote are a powerful threat, the trio shifts their forms into those of monstrous beasts. The Old Guard attack Spawn, who seems unaffected by their attacks. Spawn eventually sinks into the shadows and begins to dispatch the vampire one by one. After the bloody slaughter of the Old Guard, Detective Twitch Williams arrives in the alleys looking for Al. Instead he finds Jim, now blood thirsty from the freshly murdered vampires. Jim threatens Twitch, to which Twitch holds Jim at gunpoint and orders him under arrest.
Far across the globe in Vatican City, the Pope receives an urgent phone call.
Powers and abilities
While Spawn's abilities have fluctuated over the years, his core powers are derived from the necroplasm that makes up his body. This dense substance grants him superhuman strength, speed, agility, endurance, and healing. His necroplasm also gives him necro-magic, a variety of supernatural powers including teleportation, phasing, resurrecting the dead, necro-energy blasts, and much more. He can unleash the very fury of Hell through his body, however his magic is limited by a meter which starts at 9,999 and drains each time he uses his necro-energy. He is able to "feed" off the evil energy of the world including people and "dark animals" (rats, bats, roaches, worms, insects, wolves, and snakes). He is also an empathic being able to sense the emotions of others whenever he chooses. He can manipulate the elements and fly.
Spawn wears a living, sentient necroplasm-based symbiote suit, named Leetha of the 7th house of K (K7-Leetha). The suit feeds from the necroplasm in Spawn's body and his cape, spikes, and chains are all part of an organism that is bonded to his central nervous system; because of this connection he can mentally manipulate the suit to perform shapeshifting feats without draining his necro-meter.
Although Spawn is virtually immortal, he may be killed by a holy weapon forged in Heaven or by his own necro-power. He is also rendered powerless (and therefore mortal) in places that are immune to the influence of Hell, such as The Dead Zone (a patch of alley that is touched by Heaven) and the Greenworld.
Spawn also holds a vast arsenal of military weaponry and equipment as he frequently uses firearms as an alternative to his supernatural powers.
Spinoffs and crossovers
- Angela miniseries
- In 1994 and 1995, a three-issue Angela limited series was published, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Greg Capullo. The series along with Angela's one-shot were later reprinted in a trade paperback (ISBN 1-887279-09-1), which, as of 2005, is out-of-print.
- Spawn: Blood Feud
- Spawn miniseries during 1995, issues 1-4. Written by Alan Moore. Drawn by Tony Daniel. Ink by Kevin Conrad.
- Spawn The Impaler
- Three-issue miniseries released in October 1996, inspired by the story of the Wallacian voivode Vlad Ţepeş. Written by Mike Grell with art by Rob Prior.
- Spawn: The Dark Ages
- This series focused on Lord Covenant, a 12th Century knight killed in a holy crusade far from his homeland, who returns to Earth as a Hellspawn. As a plague of violence and turmoil cover the English countryside, the Dark Knight must choose whether to align himself with the innocent inhabitants of the once-thriving kingdom or with the malevolent forces of evil and corruption. The series ran for 28 issues. Issues 15-28 featured writer Steve Niles and artist Nat Jones.
- Curse of the Spawn
- Tales of other Hellspawn and Spawniverse characters, including Sam & Twitch, Angela, Jessica Priest, and Antonio Twistelli.
- Spawn: Blood and Salvation
- A prestige-format one shot that concludes the story of Daniel Llanso, the Hellspawn featured in the first four issues of Curse of the Spawn.
- A relatively avant-garde spin-off comic inspired by Spawn. Darker and more atmospheric than Spawn, Hellspawn frequently dealt with disturbing subject matter. It originally featured writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Ashley Wood.
- Spawn: Blood and Shadows
- A Spawn prestige-format one shot released in 1999. Written by Paul Jenkins with art by Ashley Wood.
- Sam & Twitch + Case Files: Sam & Twitch
- A spin-off series following the crime investigations of detectives Sam Burke and Twitch Williams. Sam and Twitch ended in 2003 after 26 issues, to be followed by Case Files.
- Spawn: The Undead
- This series concentrates on Al Simmons. Unlike the original Spawn series, it was self-contained, single-issue stories. Written by Paul Jenkins it lasted 9 issues.
- Spawn: Godslayer
- Originally a prestige format one-shot, Godslayer became an ongoing series.
- Spawn: Simony
- Published in 2003 by Semic of France, McFarlane allowed the creators (Jean-François Porchero] and Alex Nikolavitch) to create an original Spawn tale without using Image comics.
- Shadows of Spawn
- Recently released on American shores are three graphic novel compilations of the Spawn manga, known as Shadows of Spawn.
- Spawn: Architects of Fear
- A prestige format one-shot released in February 2008. Written by Arthur Claire with artwork by Aleksi Briclot.
- The Adventures of Spawn
- At the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) '06 it was announced that a new take on the Spawn mythos was in the works. This new Spawn story is known as The Adventures of Spawn and as stated by Jon Goff, a moderator on the Spawn.com Message Board and McFarlane employee, it is a re-imagining of the Spawn story that is essentially a "What If?" universe that hearkens back to classic kid-friendly Saturday morning cartoons. The story takes place in a webcomic format and has been tied into the action figure world through McFarlane Toys' Spawn Series 30.
- A three issue miniseries written by Alan Moore with art by Bart Sears which focused on the conflict between Violator/Clown and Tony Twist and also featured Spawn.
- Spawn has appeared in crossover storylines involving Batman, Invincible, Witchblade, Wildcats, Youngblood, Savage Dragon, Cerebus, The Ant, and Shadowhawk.
- Angela has also been featured in several crossovers. The "Rage of Angels" miniseries saw Angela meeting Glory in Angela and Glory (1996), and was continued in Youngblood #6 (1996) and Team Youngblood #21. There was also a crossover Aria/Angela, featuring Angela in the Aria comic series.
- Clown/Violator was also part of a Violator/Badrock crossover miniseries.
- Spawn also appeared in one panel in Archie Comics' Sonic Super Special #7, mistaking Sonic and Knuckles for kids in costumes.
- Spawn appeared in the Xbox version of the fighting game Soulcalibur II.
- Jim Downing is a character in the Image Comics crossover, Image United, as is his suit's previous host, Al Simmons (now a villain known as "Omega Spawn").
Dispute with Neil Gaiman
In 1993, McFarlane contracted Neil Gaiman to write Spawn #9. While doing so, Gaiman introduced the characters Cogliostro, Angela, and Medieval Spawn. All three characters were designed and co-created by Todd McFarlane and continued to be featured in the series after Gaiman's involvement, and some had tie-ins with McFarlane's toy company. Cogliostro had a prominent role in the live-action movie in 1997. McFarlane had agreed that Gaiman was a co-creator of the characters and paid him royalties for reprints, graphic novels, and action figures. After a few years he ceased the payment of royalties and gave Gaiman notice that he owned all rights to the characters, citing the copyright notice from #9 and claimed that Gaiman's work had been work-for-hire and that McFarlane was the sole owner.
In 2002, Gaiman filed suit against McFarlane and in response Todd counter-sued. Gaiman had partnered with Marvel Comics to form Marvels and Miracles, LLC which bankrolled the lawsuit. The main goal was to determine the issue of ownership for another character Gaiman felt he had a stake in, Miracleman, which at the time McFarlane was believed to hold a sizable stake in after his buyout of the assets of Eclipse Comics. This issue was thrown out. Instead the court chose to rule on the breach of contract issue, the rights of ownership, and the copyrightability of the characters from Spawn #9. Several arguments were presented by McFarlane and all were rejected, leading to a sizable judgment against McFarlane and Image Comics. The matter went to appeal and the judgment was upheld in a 2003 decision.
Gaiman's rights as co-creator and co-owner of Cogliostro, Angela, and Medieval Spawn were acknowledged. The court's view was that Gaiman and McFarlane's collaboration led to each contributing half of the work. Gaiman wrote the story while McFarlane illustrated the character; because of this each held a 50% stake in the characters. The fallout of this lawsuit is still unclear and the issue of Miracleman is yet to be resolved. However, it is possible that it has fallen out, since issue 9 was reprinted for the first time since the lawsuit was filed in the hardcover edition of Spawn Origins: Volume 1. In a recent reprint collection of the first twelve issues of Spawn, the contentious issue (along with Dave Sim's #10, featuring copyrighted character Cerebus) was excluded, but both issues have been reprinted in the hardcover and deluxe editions Spawn Origins: Volume 1.
Tony Twist suit
Todd McFarlane created a mob enforcer character named "Antonio 'Tony Twist' Twistelli," who McFarlane acknowledged was named after hockey player Tony Twist. Twist won a $15 million verdict in 2004 when a St. Louis, Missouri jury found Todd McFarlane Productions had profited from Twist's likeness. The verdict was upheld after two appeals in June 2006.
- Todd McFarlane (#'s 1–7, 12–15, 21–150, 185–200)
- Brian Holguin (#'s 71–150, 185–190)
- David Hine (#'s 150–184)
- Will Carlton (#'s 201–current)
- Todd McFarlane (#'s 1–15, 21–24, 26–34, 50, 195–196, 200)
- Greg Capullo (#'s 16–20, 26–37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47, 49–75, 78–100, 193, 200)
- Angel Medina (#'s 101–139, 142–150)
- Philip Tan (#'s 150–164)
- Brian Haberlin (#'s 166–173, 176–178, 180–184)
- Whilce Portacio (#'s 185–192, 194–195, 197)
- Szymon Kudranski (#'s 201–current)
- Guest writers
- Alan Moore (#'s 8, 37)
- Neil Gaiman (#'s 9)
- Dave Sim (#'s 10)
- Frank Miller (#'s 11)
- Grant Morrison (#'s 16–18)
- Andrew Grossenberg (#'s 19–20)
- Tom Orzechowski (#'s 19–20)
- Steve Niles (#'s 105–106)
- Robert Kirkman (#'s 200)
- Guest artists
Many issues of Spawn have been gathered together in various trade paperbacks collections since the mid-nineties. The original US and UK trade releases contain Issue 9, but not 10 (Cerebus' appearance).
Each containing four to five issues, the original Spawn trade paperbacks started in 1995 under a different trade cover design. After the live-action 1997 movie, a new trade cover design was created, where Brent Ashe provided new covers for Books 1-7, and Ashley Wood for Books 8-12. All of these books were retitled with subtitles for later printings. The trades stopped after Book 12, but several new collections appeared in 2006–2008 that bring together writer David Hine's run, particularly the entire "Armageddon" storyline. In 2009, a new collection was released collecting part of the "Endgame" storyline, which featured the return of creator Todd McFarlane back on his flagship title with co-writer Brian Holguin and artist Whilce Portacio. The second volume of Endgame was released in April 2010. Another collection of Endgame will be released in 2011 The various United States Spawn collections are as follows, with included issues.
- Book 1, "Beginnings", 1-5
- Book 2, "Dark Discoveries", 6-9, 11
- Book 3, "Book 3", 12-15
- Book 4, "Book 4", 16-20
- Book 5, "Death and Rebirth", 21-25
- Book 6, "Pathway to Judgement", 26-30
- Book 7, "Deadman's Touch", 31-34
- Book 8, "Betrayal of Blood", 35-38
- Book 9, "Urban Jungle", 39-42
- Book 10, "Vengeance of the Dead", 43-47
- Book 11, "Crossroads", 48-50 (50 is double-sized)
- Book 12, "Immortality", 51-54
- Spawn: The Armageddon Collection Part 1 - contains issues 150-155
- Spawn: The Armageddon Collection Part 2 - contains issues 156-164
- Spawn: The Complete Armageddon Collection - contains issues 150-164 (October 2007)
- Spawn: New Flesh Collection - contains issues 166-169 (note: Issue #165 wasn't included because it features the story of Mandarin Spawn) (December 2007)
- Spawn: Neo Noir - collects Spawn #170-175
- Spawn: Endgame Volume 1 (June 2009) - collects Spawn #185-190 (ISBN 1607060701)
- Spawn: Endgame Volume 2 (April 2010) - reprinting Spawn #191-196
- Spawn: Endgame Collection (January 2011) - combines vol 1 and 2. containing the entire story arc in one volume. issues #185-196
- Spawn: New Beginnings Volume 1 (July 2011) - after the conclusion of EndGame story arc. Features guest artists including Greg Capullo, Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Ashley Wood, and David Finch. Included are stories written by Todd McFarlane with Robert Kirkman, as well as the milestone 200th issue. Collects Spawn #197-202.
In 2005 the entire Spawn series began to appear in massive trade paperback releases under the title Spawn Collection, containing (with the exception of Volume 1) approximately twenty issues each. These began after the Gaiman lawsuit, and therefore do not contain either Issues 9 (featuring the 1st appearance of Angela and Cogliostro, both created by Neil Gaiman) or Issue 10 (featuring Dave Sim's Cerebus). Spawn Collection Volumes 1 and 2 were published in both hardcover and trade paperback formats, while with Volume 3 onward the series remained as trade paperbacks only. As of 2009, Spawn Collection Volume 1 is currently out of print, with its fourth printing released back in June 2007.
- Spawn Collection Volume 1 - contains issues 1-8, 11-12
- Spawn Collection Volume 2 - contains issues 13-33 (July 2007)
- Spawn Collection Volume 3 - contains issues 34-54 (March 2007)
- Spawn Collection Volume 4 - contains issues 55-75 (September 2007)
- Spawn Collection Volume 5 - contains issues 76-95 (April 2008)
- Spawn Collection Volume 6 - contains issues 96-116 (August 2008)
Spawn Collection Volume 1 was ranked 17 in the top 100 graphic novels for December 2005 period, with pre-order sales of 3,227.
However, the latest Spawn Collections have been cancelled, ending with Volume 6 in 2008, with Image Comics and Todd McFarlane Productions announcing in 2009 a new format that includes softcover & hardcover versions covering varying price points, and reprinting from the early issues once again (see below).
Spawn Origins Collection
In 2009, a line of newly redesigned and reformatted trade paperbacks was announced, Spawn Origins Collection, once again going back to collecting the early issues of Spawn. These new trades feature new cover art by Greg Capullo, recreating classic Spawn covers. This line has now replaced the massive Spawn Collection trade paperbacks that came out from 2005-2008 (see above). Within this printing line, there have also been, in addition to the 6 issue trade paperbacks, three oversized 12-13 issue hardcovers, and two large 25 issue limited slipcased deluxe editions (which come in both a standard edition and a signed and numbered edition limited to 500 copies). The 12 issue hardcover edition of Volume One was the first to beginning reprinting both issues 9 and 10, and the 25 issue hardcover editions did as well.
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 1 - collects issues #1-6 (May 2009)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 2 - collects issues #7, 8, 11-14 (July 2009)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 3 - collects issues #15-20 (December 2009)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 4 - collects issues #21-26 (January 2010)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 5 - collects issues #27-32 (May 2010)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 6 - collects issues #33-38 (July 2010)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 7 - collects issues #39-44 (September 2010)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 8 - collects issues #45-50 (November 2010)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 9 - collects issues #51-56 (February 2011)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 10 - collects issues #57-62 (March 2011)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 11 - collects issues #63-68 (June 2011)
- Spawn Origins Collection Volume 12 - collects issues #69-74 (September 2011)
These releases were originally published in fifteen 5-6-issue volumes in the UK by Titan Books, with titles named by religious theme. The following books contained original series issues 1-82, with the exception of the previously mentioned Issue 10.
- "Creation" - contains issues 1-5
- "Evolution" - contains issues 6-9 and 11
- "Revelation" - contains issues 12-15
- "Escalation" - contains issues 16-20
- "Confrontation" - contains issues 21-25
- "Retribution" - contains issues 26-30
- "Transformation" - contains issues 31-36
- "Abduction" - contains issues 37-42
- "Sanction" - contains issues 43-48
- "Damnation" - contains issues 49-53
- "Corruption" - contains issues 54-58
- "Devastation" - contains issues 59-64
- "Termination" - contains issues 65-70
- "Resurrection" - contains issues 71-76
- "Ascension" - contains issues 77-82
Spin-off trade paperback collections
- "Angela" - contains Neil Gaiman's "Angela" issues 1-3 and the 2005 one-shot.
- "Spawn: The Undead" - collects "Spawn: The Undead' issues 1-9
- "Spawn: Godslayer Collection 1" - collects "Spawn: Godslayer" 1-6
- "Sam & Twitch Book 1: Udaku" - collects 1-8 of the "Sam and Twitch" spin off.
- "Sam & Twitch: The Brian Michael Bendis Collection 1" - collects issues 1-9
- "Sam & Twitch: The Brian Michael Bendis Collection 2" - collects issues 10-19
Curse of the Spawn
- "Curse of the Spawn: Book 1: Sacrifice of the Soul" - issues 1-4
- "Curse of the Spawn: Book 2: Blood and Sutures" - issues 5-8
- "Curse of the Spawn: Book 3: Shades of Grey" - issues 9-11, 29
- "Curse of the Spawn: Book 4: Lost Values" - issues 12-14, 22
- "The Best of Curse of the Spawn" - contains issues 1-8, 12-16 and 20-29 without the coloring
South African releases
They were originally published by a South African publisher named Battle Axe Press in the early 90s. Only the first 10 issues were published due to legal matters. The comic book prints were released on standard paper as opposed to the original glossy paper from Image comics.
Appearances in other media
- Spawn made his animated debut in the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries Todd McFarlane's Spawn where Spawn is voiced by Keith David. The series won two Emmys (one in 1998 and another in 1999) and two Golden Reel Awards (1998/1999). A new animated series, unrelated to the first, is currently in the works.
- Spawn appeared in the Robot Chicken episode "Celebutard Mountain" voiced by Adam Talbot.
- In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Super Zeroes", the main characters appear as superheroines that parody different comic book characters. Buttercup appears in a likeness of Spawn, the character being known as "Spore" in their universe. Her appearance is dark with a large cape and green eyes, and she gives herself the name "Mange". Even a parody of Malebolgia appears, giving her powers.
- A villain who appeared in the show World of Quest named General Ogun has a strong resemblance to Spawn.
- In 1997, a film adaptation had Michael Jai White as Spawn. The making of a second film has been discussed.
- In the 1999 film Dogma, one of the Stygian triplets wears a Spawn t-shirt.
- Issue #1 of Spawn can be seen in the background in Chasing Amy.
- In Live Free or Die Hard, John McClane picks up and damages a Spawn action figure.
- In the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still there is a Medieval Spawn action figure, along with a few other Spawn toys, in Jacob's room.
- In the 2009 film Orphan, the little boy Daniel Coleman is shooting down Spawn action figures, namely an Omega Squadron figure, amongst others, with a paintball gun.
- Video games
Spawn has starred in several video games:
- Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Video Game (1995) (SNES)
- Spawn: The Eternal (1997) (PlayStation)
- Spawn (handheld game) (1999) (Game Boy Color)
- Spawn: In the Demon's Hand (2000) (Dreamcast, Arcade)
- Spawn: Armageddon (2003) (Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Nintendo GameCube)
- Spawn appeared as a special guest in the Xbox version of Soulcalibur II (2003). McFarlane also created the character Necrid.
- In the game Segagaga, the development teams assembled by the player are charged with creating various games, which are both parodies of Sega titles and of properties foreign to them. One of these is a parody of Spawn, called "Sppon". 
- At the time of the release of the live action movie, Spawn appeared in several commercials for Taco Bell.
- In "Yu-Gi-Oh!", there are three monsters based on Spawn. "Zombyra The Dark" is based on Spawn, in "Yu-Gi-Oh GX"; the monster "Elemental Hero Necroshade" bears also has striking resemblance to, and is proven to be based on Spawn; and in "Yu-Gi-Oh GX", the monster "Destiny Hero Doom Lord" is based on Spawn.
- The Dark Saga by Iced Earth is a concept album based upon the Spawn story. The cover of the album, by Greg Capullo and Todd McFarlane, depicts Spawn himself, though due to legal issues, Iced Earth could not use the names of the characters in the songs.
- ^ "IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes: (40-21)", IGN, May 5, 2011
- ^ Miller, John Jackson. "X-Men #1, One Piece, and world records", The Comics Chronicles, November 16, 2010.
- ^ Rossen, Jake (May 2008). "50 Events That Rocked Comics". Wizard Magazine #200.
- ^ "Todd McFarlane - Complete Biography". Spawn.com. http://www.spawn.com/info/todd/bio.long.aspx. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
- ^ "Top 300 Comics Actual—January 2008". icv2.com. http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/12096.html. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
- ^ "McFarlane-Portacio Spawn Sells Out". Newsarama.com. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/081030-mcfarlane-portacio-spawn.html. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- ^ "Comic Book Sales Figures for April 2009". Newsarama.com. http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2009/2009-04.html. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- ^ "Spawn #200 Sells Out in One Day - Comic Book Resources". Comicbookresources.com. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30336. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
- ^ "Spawn #200 - Review". IGN.com. http://comics.ign.com/articles/114/1143847p1.html. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- ^ a b c "Points of Articulation: KIMOTA! Neil Gaiman vs. Todd McFarlane". OAFEnet. 2003-07-17. http://www.oafe.net/articulation/0307.php.
- ^ a b c d "Points of Articulation: KIMOTA! Neil Gaiman vs. Todd McFarlane, part 2". OAFEnet. 2004-09-01. http://www.oafe.net/articulation/0307.php.
- ^ "Comic Book Resources > Comic Wire - 6-14-2001". Comic Book Resources. 2001-06-14. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=13793.
- ^ CBC Arts (2004-12-20). "Todd McFarlane Productions files for bankruptcy". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2004/12/20/todd041219.html. Retrieved 2007-07-13.
- ^ Appeals court upholds $15M verdict for Twist
- ^ a b c [Exclusive!] Mcfarlane Reunites With 'Spawn' : Comics[dead link]
- ^ "Top 100 Graphic Novels Actual—December 2005". icv2.com. http://www.icv2.com/articles/home/8068.html. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- ^ "Awards for "Spawn"". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118475/awards. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- ^ "Spawn Animated Series Coming Back to Life". TMP International/ Spawn.com. 2004-05-12. http://www.spawn.com/news/news6.aspx?id=12367. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- ^ Varanini, Giancarlo (2003-01-14). "Link, Spawn, Heihachi confirmed for Soul Calibur II". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/xbox/action/soulcalibur2/news.html?sid=2908798. Retrieved 2007-07-31.
- ^ "The Dark Saga". Iced Earth. http://www.icedearth.com/discography/disc_ds.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-13.
- Official website
- Spawn at the Comic Book DB
- Spawn at the Internet Movie Database
- Spawn at the Open Directory Project
- SpawnWorld - Unofficial Spawn comic and toys guide and encyclopedia
- Spawn (1992-Present), ComicsInventory.com
- Stashmatic.com - Spawn Collection Tracker online database (with images)
- "'Spawn' featured in Myspace comic books". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=11782.
- Interview with Todd McFarlane about the animated series, Now Playing Magazine
- "A Hell of a Comic: David Hine Talks "Spawn"". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=11717.
- Todd McFarlane Interview, UGO.com comics
- "Greg Capullo: Exclusive Interview", Spawn.com
- "Khary Randolph: Interview", Spawn.com
- "New Artists and a New Direction", Spawn.com
- Interview by IGN-David Hine talks about the new direction for the series and the state of Marvel's decimated mutants.
- "Spawn's New Team-A Terrific Trifecta". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=5264.
- "David Hine on Spawn's New Look, New World, New Mission". Newsarama. http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=98452.
- "Whilce Portacio on Spawn with McFarlane". Newsarama. June 9, 2008. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/080602-SpawnWhicle.html.
Spawn Protagonists Heaven Hell Other characters Writers and artists Spin-offs Movies and television Video games Related articles
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