Credits: Todd McFarlane (story & art), Greg Capullo (art assist), Tom Orzechowski (copy editor & letterer), Steve Oliff & Olyoptics (colors)
Summary: Sam and Twitch call in the case, not knowing that Terry is wanted by numerous law enforcement agencies and the mob. Terry still mistakenly believes that Tony Twist has his family, so he runs from the detectives after he regains consciousness. CIA agents arrive on the scene, racing towards Terry. Spawn jumps in front of their car and smashes it. He magically leaves the message “These alleys belong to Spawn” on a wall and teleports away. He threatens to expose the secrets of Jason Wynn and Tony Twist if they continue to harass Terry, and gives Sam info on the corrupt Chief Banks.
Creative Differences: The original solicitation for this issue read: “Spawn goes about saving some of the local school kids with the help of his new allies, Sam and Twitch. Spawn tries to justify his existence to the local folks while at the same time battle the crack dealers.”
Spawntinuity: Sam comments that he overheard a bum call Spawn “Al.” Terry hears this and reacts. If you think this leads to Terry discovering Spawn’s identity any decade soon, you’re dreaming. Also, Twitch learns Spawn’s face is badly scarred when he attempts CPR.
Spawn vs. Lawyers: While listing Spawn characters that are named after real people, McFarlane mentions hockey player Tony Twist. Ooops….
Review: The first real continued storyline concludes, and I think it holds up rather well. McFarlane’s been able to keep Terry and Wanda sympathetic throughout the story, and he’s used past continuity in a way that makes the previous issues feel as if they were all a part of a larger plan. Unfortunately, the storyline also hints at some of the regrettable directions McFarlane will go in. I’d forgotten just how overwritten this arc is, as McFarlane gets wordier every issue, often over-explaining plot details that he’s hammered home numerous times. These long, often pointless, monologues are what I usually associate with Spawn, and they only get worse as the series progresses. We also have Spawn resolving the conflict by just handing manila files around, which is a plot convenience McFarlane will overuse in the future. Wasn’t much of this mess created when Spawn stole some files in the first place? Spawn also makes the odd decision to give Sam a file on his boss, expecting Sam to hand it over to Chief Banks as a warning to leave Terry alone. Why would Sam do this? And why doesn’t Spawn just visit Chief Banks himself (as he does Wynn and Twist this issue)?
McFarlane does go somewhere with the Chief Banks file, although it takes him several months to get to it. This thread is resolved within a year or so, which is like quicksilver when compared to some of the other ideas introduced in this arc. You would think that McFarlane was setting up Terry’s discovery of Spawn’s identity, and a partnership between Spawn and Sam and Twitch with this storyline. He probably was, but he clearly was in no hurry. Even though the solicitations promised that someone would learn Spawn’s identity, and that Spawn would be teaming up with Sam and Twitch, these ideas were delayed for years. (McFarlane doesn’t get around to establishing Sam and Twitch as some sort of predestined acolytes of Spawn on Earth until 1998 or so.) It’s one thing to have an idea in the back of your head for “later,” but it’s another to actually solicit the idea, not deliver, and then keep readers waiting for years before getting back to it. It’s as if McFarlane had a direction in mind, began setting up the events required to get there, then suddenly decided that he needed to space things out…forever.