2008 witnesses another revamp of Spawn as the head honcho returns to helm the creative team. Spawn is definitely entering the "niche" era - Spawn toys are gone in favour of Halo and Sports and the comics attract only selected supporters. Spawn #187, the last issue of the year was according to Diamond Comic Distributors, ranked No. 123 in the Top 300.
The character behind Gunslinger Spawn (see Spawn #119 in August 2002) has been revealed. He is Jeremy Winston, known in the town of Bane as Ol' Job and he accepted the Curse of Spawn to seek vengeance for the massacre of his family. His story, along with the grandfather of Al Simmons is retold in the two-issue arc of 'Gunslinger Spawn'. Spin-off, Spin-off, Spin-off, we want a Spin-off.
Gunslinger Spawn tenure on Earth is only to seek vengeance and he did not linger, returning to Hell once his revenge is completed. All images are enlarged here.
Loaded: Bible #3
Jesus Christ (the clone version) playing with a Spawn "action figure". Loaded: Bible is written by Tim Seeley, illustrated by Nate Bellgrade and published by Image Comics. #1 came out in February 2006 and a TPB collection of #1 to #3 was released in June 2008. Do check out Seeley's Hack/Slash, interesting stuff.
Learn and Grow with Spawn #1
April 1st 2008
April 1st - Get it? My favourite page is at page 6!
Thomas Coram, a Captain in the British Army during the First World War is the War Spawn. For more detailed images, check here.
And Wanda, the wife of both Al Simmons and Terry Fitzgerald is able to trace her ancestry to Thomas Coram (standing on extreme left and in uniform). In an interesting plot twist, the War Spawn is revealed as the great-grandfather of Wanda, thus paving the way for an eventual super spawn that is able to trace his/her lineage from both the paternal and maternal bloodline.
Bomb Queen V #4
A big 'ARIGATOU' to Seiji Iwasa from Japan who alerted me to the presence of Nyx the She-Spawn in this issue. Bomb Queen was on TV talking about all the superheroes she encountered while protecting the ungrateful citizens of New Port City. There are incidentally six issues to this fifth volume for those who are looking to get it.
The suit left Al and took over Nyx, launching the second time (third if the Spawnqueen issues are counted) that Nyx turns into She-Spawn. For all images of Nyx the She-Spawn.
Nyx's new costume and that of Morana in the panels below reminds me of The Boys #3 (Jan 2007) written by Garth Ennis. The costumes of a female comic character, as illustrated by Homelander on Starlight, are all about cleavage.
There is also a hint of Mandarin Spawn but the figure on the left don't bear much of a resemblance to Cheng Lie in Spawn #165. And Mammon in mandarin costume with a Manchu queue hairstyle? If it is about Mandarin Spawn of #165, the period is Southern Sung Dynasty, not Qing. Mistakes made in #165 were repeated again here.
I always suspect that the human figure next to Mammon is not of Asian origin but that of Africa...indeed, when are we going to have an African Spawn asides from Spawn the Immortal? The poster above featuring Barack Obama in Barack the Barbarian: Quest for the Treasure of Stimuli (June 2009) shares a lookalike necklace to that of the Spawn next to Mammom above.
Nyx the She-Spawn lasted only one issue as the fickle-minded Spawn suit jumps from Nyx to Morana without so much as a cat-fight.
Morana the Spawn is supposed to be the most powerful Spawn ever, combining the heritage of Al and Wanda. Check here for lovely images of her.
A smallish contingent of Spawns (less than a dozen as claimed in the book) were brought back to take on Morana the Spawn in what turns out to be an ultimately futile effort. What interests me more is the identification of those doomed Spawns: the drawings differed from one panel to the next but basically there are 7. Three panels from pages 20 to 22 are reproduced here.
#183 Page 20
5 of the 7 legionnaries are featured in this panel.
#183 Page 21
2 more are added here.
#183 Page 22
Page 22 offered no new Spawn but it confirmed the identification of the seven. And the seven members of this doom legion are:
1) Christopher the Boy-Spawn. He is the first Spawn to 'pop' out from Simmons. He appeared in all three panels.
2) There are three Japanese spawns among the magnificent seven, probably a tribute to Kurosawa. They are easy to identify, starting with Kumiko who appeared in all three panels.
3) Kumiko's grand-daddy Hiroshi appeared in p21 and p22.
4) Figures collector would definitely recognise Takeda the Samurai Spawn from the second image (right). But I thought these are Spawns who died on the same day as Al Simmons? The image of him in page 20 is slightly different from that of p21 and p22 but as mentioned earlier, the illustrations are such. There are two Samurai Spawns that appeared in previous issues, remember Nakadai and the nameless spawn that fought with Al Simmons during Armaggeddon? This may be the same nameless Spawn as I do not recall Takeda the Samurai Spawn appearing in previous magazines.
5) Again, figures collector should have no problem identifying him. Lord Bartholomew who was christened Spawn the Black Knight (until Lord Covenant usurped the title) and later renamed as Spawn the Raven Knight. The only curious thing about this image is that he has clawed feet so who knows, he may not be Lord Bartholomew after all.
And guess who has clawed feets? This is an image of Lord Covenant from Series 31.
6) He appeared only once (p21) in #183 but we get a better glimpse of him in #184. He is the Pirate Spawn, probably the same Pirate Spawn that appeared in Spawn #153.
7) He appeared in all three panels and he was last seen in Spawn #153. He is the most Al Simmons-lookalike of the seven Spawns and what distinguishes him is the third eye, which fits him into both Indian and Chinese mythologies and probably a dozen other myths that I am not aware of. And it should be a 'him' cos' female Spawns are usually scantily clad.
The final issue before Spawn goes into a new direction. It was only last year when we were greeted with the final episode of Spawn and told that the second instalment of Spawn would have a horror theme but sadly it was a false dawn. Spawn II was short-lived and the "asian horror" concept didn't go down well with the boss.
So, we are now introduced to yet another new episode in the life of Spawn: onward to Spawn III and the introductory 12-issue Endgame.
Also in #184, we have the seven spawns in their final battle with Morana.
SPAWN #185: ENDGAME PART 1
#185 marks a new direction of Spawn. Al Simmons the Spawn is dead. The story in the first issue:
Having thwarted the latest plots of the demon lord Mammon and his allies, Simmons has glimpsed his future. He realizes his struggles against his fate have become a futile quest for redemption; he remains a pawn in the Great Game between Heaven and Hell. Returning to the alleys he used to haunt, Simmons decides it is time to put an end to this vicious cycle once and for all. Using the last vestige of his power, he blows his own head off - the one true way to kill a Hellspawn.
This act sends ripples across the realms of Heaven and Hell, alerting both sides that something is out of balance. Furthermore, Simmons' act seems to have created an "anomaly" where he lay - a patch of earth where neither Heaven nor Hell holds power.
At the moment of Simmons' death, a young man wakes up in a New York hospital after years in a coma. Suffering from acute memory loss and disturbing visions, his body recovers at a supernatural pace.
Not everyone reacts so favourably. A hospital janitor places a surreptitious call announcing that "Patient 47" has woken up. This information causes the recipient of the call to immediately take his own life.
Later, Simmons' longtime tormentor, the Clown, visits the alley to investigate the cause of the anomaly. There he stumbles upon Simmons' corpse.
And we are introduced to a new Spawn, Jim Downing nicknamed Patient 47.
"The landmark 185th issue of Spawn unleashes a brand new creative team and the return of two Image Comics founders — Todd McFarlane and Whilce Portacio. Todd will helm the book and joins Whilce on art duties, and Brian Holguin returns as writer. New energy and an entirely new direction — get ready for the event that is as big as issue #1..."
The first issue (with several cover variants) serves as a teaser to a 12-issue story that moves at a snail pace - we were told to see each issue as a 15-min slice in a 2-hour movie (see spawning ground #187)! Besides the fact that it is mathematically unworkable, in an age where instant gratification is the norm, how many of us watched a 2-hour movie at 15 minutes interval...PER MONTH? Sigh, patience has its virtue, patience has its virtue...
(18 months later - the entire 12 issue arc is finally completed, so to be ungracious, at 15 minutes per month, this turns out to be a 4.5 hour movie)
SPAWN #186: ENDGAME PART 2
We are introduced to the latest Spawn - Jim Downing the Spawn who woke up from a coma with a Spawn entity living inside him. #186 pleasantly climbed to No. 87in the Diamond Comic Distributors Top 300 Comics List.
The Clown ponders how he can use Simmons' death to his advantage. Similarly, an angel, as Heaven's agent on earth, also discovers the body.
At the exact moment of Simmons' death, a young man wakes up in a New York hospital after years in a coma. Dubbed Patient 47, the young man is told his name is Jim Downing, but has no memory of his previous life. While disturbing visions haunt Jim, the attending doctors marvel at his awakening and the supernatural pace at which is (sic) body is recovering.
The doctors are not the only ones to take an interest in Jim's recovery: A young nurse, Sara, confesses that she has prayed over Jim nightly, hoping God would send her a sign by healing him...A trio of detectives wonders why a prominent attorney inexplicably took his own life...And a mysterious intermediary makes arrangements for a super-powered thug to bust into the hospital and abduct the mysterious Patient 47...
ADVENTURES OF SPAWN #2
This is a hard copy of the spawn webcomics Adventures of Spawn that was published online in February 2008. Cy-Gor visualised himself in a stitched-up costume as Cy-Gor the Spawn. This is not an illusion of grandeur, Cy-Gor did defeat Spawn and imagine himself combining the suit of Spawn with his enormous primate strength. Unfortunately for Cy-Gor, he didn't finish Spawn off, instead going on a yakkity-yak monologue and letting Spawn off the hook.
In the battle between the Forces of Light and the Forces of Darkness, the Omega Squadron was tasked with forming a perimeter and protecting the relics from the demons summoned by Mammom but as you can see from the image, the robots from the Nightwatch were utterly trounced by Daywatch. For an utterly compelling fantasy story about two competing camps of magicians, where good magicians are the Nightwatch and dark magicians the Daywatch, read Sergey Lukianenko's Nightwatch tetralogy. Fabulous stuff.
SAVAGE DRAGON #140
Originally meant to be a September release. Spawn is one of the Dragon's many guest stars. He appeared depleted of energy and has to be rescued by Witchblade.
SAVAGE DRAGON #141
Originally meant to be out in October 2008 with Spawn among the guest stars.
SPAWN: BOOK OF THE DEAD
Originally scheduled for May 2002. The cover was retouched twice. The new cover is on the extreme right. And the pewter-washed Raven Spawn, after serving time for 6 years has finally been released.
SPAWN #187: ENDGAME PART 3
The good time didn't last, #187 was down to No. 123. Meanwhile...the storyline...The "Extractor" bursts through the hospital wall, knocking Sarah (sic) unconscious. In the melee, the hospital is set on fire. As emergency services evacuate the building, the Extractor corners Jim. Under stress, a dark power dwelling inside of (sic) Jim manifests itself and vaporizes his attacker. Later, a dazed Jim stumbles out of the building and collapse.
And in the relentless blast from the past - re-appearance of the newsreaders except that the tone is now more serious and the flippancy of an entertainment channel is removed. Won't it be fun if one of the three panels are occupied by either Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.