Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SPAWN #27 - January 1995


Credits: Todd McFarlane (story), Todd McFarlane & Greg Capullo (art), Tom Orzechowski (copy editor & letters), Steve Oliff & Olyoptics (colors)

Summary: A deranged businessman christens himself “The Curse” and targets Spawn, envious that God has blessed him with powers. He moves into Spawn’s area of the alleys and builds his own following of the homeless. Meanwhile, Spawn uses his powers to raise the dead for the first time. Exhausted after resurrecting Bobbie, he’s unprepared for the Curse’s attack. After blasting a hole in Spawn, and deciding that he must’ve gained his powers from Satan, Curse abandons the fight. Spawn soon recovers and fights through the Curse’s followers to reach him. Meanwhile, Wanda decides to investigate how Spawn knows Terry.

Spawntinuity: The Curse, who later becomes something of a recurring villain, debuts. He explains that he’s poked out his left eye, scarred his face, and chopped off his right arm, all as sacrifices to God (cybernetics replace the missing arm, so he's kind of a cheat). How exactly he’s amassed a homeless following over the course of a few pages isn’t clear, unless he’s just giving them money to stand around and call him “master.” Bobbie’s resurrection obviously follows Spawn’s appearances in Youngblood, but the story ignores the other homeless victims of Chapel’s massacre (most likely, McFarlane didn’t know the full details of those two issues while writing this story).

I Love the ‘90s: There’s a “Howard Stern for Governor” sign snuck into one of the backgrounds.

Spawn Stuff: The second line of Spawn action figures has launched, with characters like Angela and Malebolgia, and Chapel and Badrock courtesy of Rob Liefeld. There’s also an oversized Spawn trading card set from Jim Lee’s Wildstorm Productions, featuring art by Michael Golden, Bill Sienkiewicz, Walter Simonson, Tim Sale, and more.

Review: Let’s see, Spawn’s on issue #27 and so far his rogues gallery consists of a demon, an angel, a cyborg, a mobster, and a shadowy government bureaucrat. Yeah, it’s time to introduce a new villain (and potential action figure), so now we have the Curse. Curse is another McFarlane villain motivated by insanity, and like the Hobgoblin, he has a religious bent. You could view him as a parody of religious extremists, but he’s so over-the-top I don’t think McFarlane even seriously considered going in that direction. Really, he’s just crazy and he’s declared Spawn as his enemy. Curse isn’t much of a villain, but his story at least follows up the events of the previous arc, which had Spawn’s location revealed to the world. Of course a mysterious being with supernatural powers is going to attract some lunatics, so I don’t really mind Curse as the antagonist for an issue or two. I always thought the image of Spawn with a giant hole in his chest was cool, and used to wonder if McFarlane would ever produce a Spawn figure based on this issue.

Rereading this, I now wonder why McFarlane didn’t connect Curse to Bobbie’s resurrection scene, since this would help to reinforce the villain’s delusion that God’s chosen Spawn but forsaken him. You would also think that McFarlane had a direction in mind after giving Spawn the ability to resurrect the dead, but it seems like he abandoned this idea pretty quickly. The resurrection wasn’t followed by a “Zombie Bobbie” or “Indestructible Bobbie” storyline; after he was briefly studied by Heaven's agents, Bobbie just went back to being an average bum.

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