Comic Publishers

March 6, 2010

Image Reviews: Spawn #196

Publisher: Image
Writer: Todd McFarlane
Artist: Todd McFarlane & Rob Liefield
Cover: Greg Capullo & Todd McFarlane

“Endgame: Conclusion”: In case you’ve been out of the loop for a while, Al Simmons is no longer the infamous Hellspawn.  In the beginning of the Endgame arc he took his own life for what appeared to be for the greater good and a new Spawn was born in Jim Downing, a.k.a Patient 47 who had been in a coma for quite some time.  Since waking up Jim has been on a roller coaster ride trying to find out who he is and what he is becoming.  At one point it is shown that he knew the former Spawn, Al Simmons, so there is a type of connection there, but this arc is basically focusing on the emergence of an all new Spawn and the beginning of his journey.

This issue finds Jim closing in on the truth (or at least part of it) about who and what he is.  His search has led him to a doctor whose field is genetics, and he is demanding answers while scaring the hell outta the guy.  He tells Spawn that he was hired to combine all of his employer’s research into one body and he came into the project with Patient 42.  He also reveals that some subjects died in the early stages while others were released into the world and that Patient 47 was the last one.  Spawn finally asks what they were trying to create in the end and the doctor tells him that they wanted a god and gives the name of the man in charge; Nortega…and that it has always been him.  Later that night, Jim comes face to face with Nortega who even reveals that “Jim Downing” may not even be his real name, and that the actual man who was giving the orders was Jim himself (now isn’t that a kick in the nuts!). After a few more volatile exchanges Nortega orders his thugs to grab Jim and take him back to the lab; he sets off a signal that can kill the patients, but he doesn’t want Jim dead. This just pisses Jim off and he transforms into Spawn killing the thugs and thanks Nortega for turning him into what he is. The problem with that is Nortega says that the person who turned Jim into what he is was Jim himself, saying that he was tired of repeat failure and became his own patient.  At that point Spawn screams “NO!” and things get violent!

A short time later, Spawn is joined by our old friend Clown who takes him to the headless body of Al Simmons for a little chat.  Clown tells Jim that he and Al were good friends in the fight against Heaven and Hell, and that the powers were passed to Jim so he could continue the fight and become their leader. Clown then reaches into Al’s rotting chest and pulls out the two skull clasps from the neck of the cape and pins them on the new Spawn…

Spawn: Endgame Vol 1 TPB

These past 12 issues of Spawn have been a very long but an interesting ride so far. Long because of the arc length, which I now see was necessary to tell the story completely, and due to lapses in release dates; I had to go back and re-read several issues to remember what was going on at times.  However this was a good story that exceeded my expectations on several levels, especially considering I left the title a long time ago.  The pacing works and we get just enough closure with this issue to leave satisfied, yet there’s still a lot to be revealed along the way. Clown is taking advantage of the new Spawn’s ignorance to further his own goals, and I’m glad Todd McFarlane found a way to throw in Sam and Twitch, making part of the plot a detective case as well.  Visually the book looks great, but I say this as a fan of Todd’s style since I first saw it in an issue of Marvel’s G.I. Joe and then Amazing Spider-Man. I did think that some of the shadowing was a bit unnecessary- like when an entire face would be darkened except for the eyes- but that was for effect…it just didn’t do anything for me.

Todd actually apologized for the fact the books were late and accepted most of the blame, so I’m glad he didn’t just brush it off and act like it didn’t happen like others in the business tend to do.  If you haven’t been reading Spawn and are thinking of picking it up again, I’d suggest starting with the beginning of this arc which is in TPB (trade paper back) format containing issues #185-190. So while Bruce Wayne is replaced by Dick Grayson for the Bat Cowl and Captain America is replaced by Bucky to wield the shield, Al Simmons is replaced by Jim Downing the new Hellspawn, or as I’m fond of calling him, Hell’s Pawn.  It seems as if we are being set up for something big here and if Spawn: Endgame is any indication of how exciting this ride will be, then I’m down for what Todd and his crew are bringing.

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8 Comments


  1. billy

    I know this sounds crazy but I didn’t realize Spawn was still being printed. My Marvelitus won’t allow me to look through the big previews book. lol


  2. infinite speech'

    Ummm Billy the Image section is wayyy before Marvel in Previews lol



  3. Endgame has been…ok. I’m not fully swayed yet on this new Spawn, but I’m enjoying trying to figure it out. The art, inking, and coloring is fucking great.



  4. I actually had to go back and read the entire series in one sitting and I enjoyed it more. Having to wait for each issue and then extreme gaps inbetween took a LOT away from it. It’s not good for a book that is that heavy on dialogue to be late because the reader will either forget or lose interest in the story. I would have preferred more supernatural fights but it was cool to see some old favorites like Freak and Clown in the story.


  5. Aron White

    I love Spawn. Let me be more specific. I love the AL SIMMONS Spawn. There were times in my life when I couldn’t grab any comics. Every time I came back, I was always sure to get back on Spawn. I willingly dropped this title in the middle of “End Game”. The half dozen issues leading up to it were great, awesome horror comic stuff. Dark, sick, twisted, wonderful! I loved it! I was even telling friends to pick it up.
    But then…my Spawn was gone. So was a lot of continuity. Todd McFarlane took to cutting and pasting his character’s continuity as if it were Clip Art. When readers called him on it in the letters page, Todd pretty much said it was his character, his book, and he’ll do what he wants.
    Addressing readers concerns like that and all of the psycho babble that went along with the new Spawn, I dropped the book. It was a sad day when I told the lady at the comic shop to take it off my pull list.


  6. infinite speech

    I dropped Spawn a while back and didn’t pick it up again until the arc right before Endgame. Though I had kept up with the series through a friend of mine I just wasn’t buying the book anymore.

    Al Simmons will always be our Spawn for those of us who started collecting the book when it came out but I understand the need for some stories to take a turn and though I’m still confused about Al “killing” himself but I’m not too sure he’s gone for good. The issues I pointed out in the review kept Endgame from being a really great story but I’m willing to give it a shot for a bit and if worse comes to worse…someone else will have to do a Spawn review on the site lol


  7. Aron White

    I think I read an interview somewhere, with Robert Kirkman, saying that Al Simmons was the main villain in Image United. But I dunno. I’m not reading that series, either. The only Image I read are The Walking Dead TPBs and Astounding Wolf-Man (which is ending after #25. Sad.).



  8. I didn’t pick up the IU arc at all but I think I read a similar interview which kind of made me roll my eyes becuase Al JUST “died” and now he’s “back” so soon? It was Cap all over again to me. As soon as Cap “died” he was in more books then he had been when he was alive!



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