Credits: Neil Gaiman (story), Greg Capullo (pencils), Mark Pennington (inks), Tom Orzechowski (letters), Todd Broeker & Fierce Colorgraphics (colors)
Summary: The demon Smut discovers Spawn and Angela in the darkness, which is revealed to be a section of Hell. Spawn and Angela fight their way through a demon war to reach a dimensional gate. Spawn visualizes Earth after reaching the gate, and is transported to the American suburbs. Angela rematerializes in Elysium, where she’s reunited with her friends. She visits Gabrielle, who confesses to framing Angela, unaware she’s being taped. Later, an older angel arrives to replace Gabrielle, as Angela decides to live as a freelance ex-angel.
Spawntinuity: Gabrielle reveals that Angela’s lance disappeared after Spawn touched it, along with any record of her mission on Earth (which gave Gabrielle the opportunity to frame her). Gabrielle speculates that Spawn somehow reshaped reality to escape the other plane the lance sent him to. I’m assuming this ties in to the hints McFarlane used to drop that Spawn was “special’ in some way.
Review: After an indeterminate amount of time alone in the dark together, Spawn and Angela are now bickering like an old married couple. In-between their fight with a horde of demons, they do the classic sitcom shtick of refusing to speak directly to one another, so another character has to be their emissary. In this case, it’s Smut, the cutesy demon who looks like a housecat (and later the star of a Gaiman/Capullo story for a CBLDF benefit comic). This is pretty funny, and Capullo, whose art has been stellar throughout the miniseries, is given a lot of ogres and monsters to draw. Gaiman isn’t treating the Spawn universe as fancifully as Alan Moore did, but he does realize that this material can’t be taken too seriously and he knows when to introduce humor into the story.
At the conclusion, Angela abandons her career as an angel and, with the subtlety of a punch to the throat, declares that “you don’t have to work for the big two…there are alternatives.” I can’t imagine to what she’s referring. I hope this was just a cute in-joke, because if we’re supposed to retroactively view the entire story as a statement on the comic book industry, that means we have dangerous spitfire Todd McFarlane escaping from the treacherous ranks of Marvel-Heaven. Surely, Angel Todd wouldn’t engage in any of the business practices used by mean ol’ Marvel-Heaven.