WINGS OF REDEMPTION SPAWN
Some changes in the staffing I think are to blame (I’ll miss you Dave) but for some reason my local comic book shop forgot to set aside the last 2 issues of Spawn for me. I notified them of the oversight and Cal, the owner and my friend, assured me that he would track them down for me. So last Wednesday I went to the shop to get Spawn 229 and I found 227 and 228 waiting for me as well. I’ve been collecting Spawn monthly since the first issue launched over 20 years ago and I realized that this was the single largest infusion of new Spawn material for me to read in well, ever. I sat down with them all last night and it was a good read with a lot of dangling plot threads getting tied up. We finally had the full origin story of the new Spawn, Jim Downing. I’m glad that the character’s creator, Todd McFarlane is writing the book again these days and that he’s able to tie the current story into stuff he wrote way back in those early years when he was writing and drawing the book himself. I know Spawn readership isn’t nearly what it was back in the 90s but I would encourage anyone to give it a look. It’s gotten away from its super hero beginnings and has become much darker and character driven than most books on the market. I think issues 185 and 201 would both make good jumping on points to those new to the character. 185 introduced the new Spawn and 201 was the beginning of his second story arc.
All that reading made me realize that it has been a while since I reviewed a Spawn related toy, or any McFarlane produced figure for that matter. So today I figured I’d review one of my favorite old Spawn figures before delving into G.I. Joe: Retaliation countdown week. This figure is called Wings of Redemption Spawn for obvious reasons.
For those not familiar with the character here’s a quick recap. Al Simmons was a mercenary. He got killed. He went to hell. He sold his soul to the devil in exchange for being sent back to Earth so that he could be with his wife again. The devil screwed him. Al came back to earth looking like a rotting corpse and 5 years had elapsed since his death. Al’s wife had remarried his best friend and they had a kid together. Al’s new life sucked. Hell provided Al with a living symbiotic costume that turned him into the Hellspawn, in hopes that he would lead their army against heaven. Al refused to be anybody’s puppet and became an enemy to both the armies of Hell and Heaven. A lot of other stuff went on over the course of those first 184 issues but eventually Al had the last laugh by taking himself out of the game altogether with a plasma blast to the head. That’s when Jim’s story began. I won’t spoil any of that for you though because you’re gonna go read it, right?
The Spawn toy line was filled with variations of Spawn that never appeared in the comic books. The comics told Al’s story but through his adventures we learned that a new Spawn is born every couple hundred years or something. So toys like Viking Spawn and Mandarin Spawn may well have been versions of Spawn that existed in generations past. Spawn never really had big angelic wings in the comics. At least not that I recall, maybe for a panel or two, but this figure is based off of actual comic artwork. The iconic cover of Spawn issue 77 depicts Spawn with these glorious wings. I believe the cover was more metaphorical than representative of anything that actually happened in the book. It did look cool as hell though.
This figure captures the amazing Greg Capullo artwork from the cover perfectly. The Spawn costume is very textured with a ton of etched in details. The wings are big and full and look far better than most plastic wings we see on action figures. The paint apps accentuate all of these features. McFarlane is not one to skimp on details when it comes to his action figures. He is one to skimp on articulation however and this figure suffers from that just like every other McFarlane toy I’ve ever reviewed. This thing barely moves at all and is really more of a statue than a figure. However it’s meant for adult fans who just want to display this on their desk, it’s not intended for children to play with. So for that reason I tend not to hold the lack of articulation against McFarlane in the same way I would fault Hasbro for presenting us with a Joe that doesn’t move. Ahem.
This figure was a hit with fans (I’m guessing. I can’t back up that statement at all) and I think a big reason for that is because it’s a cool variation of THE Spawn, of Al Simmons Spawn. Most versions of Al featured him in his signature red cape and spiked boots in various poses. Then there were the alternate timeline Spawns but fans didn’t have any back stories to associate with those toys. This was a new version of the Spawn we loved but he stood out from all the other Spawns on the shelf. The figure was later released with variant bat wings, then again in a larger format, and then again in a whole new dynamic pose. This is what leads me to believe that fans really like this look for the character.
McFarlane hasn’t put out any new Spawn figures in years. Instead he focuses all his attention on Sports, Halo and now Walking Dead. I can appreciate that he needed to step away from Spawn for a while but I really hope we get some new figures sometime soon, perhaps with increased articulation. I’ve got a few Al Spawns but I need a Jim Spawn for my collection now. 7 out of 10.