Credits: Todd McFarlane (story), Greg Capullo & Todd McFarlane (art), Tom Orzechowski (copy editor & letters), Steve Oliff & Olyoptics (colors)
Summary: Following Cagliostro’s guidance, Spawn invades Heaven’s skyscraper in New York. When Spawn grabs what appears to be a defenseless elderly lady for cover, Rafael orders the angels to stand down and agrees to return Bobby, who is being studied in Heaven’s space station, to Earth. He arrives with the Redeemer, who promptly attacks Spawn. Spawn tries to protect Bobby and the elderly woman during the fight, and eventually teleports away. As Spawn recovers, Cagliostro reveals to Bobby that they survived an encounter with God. Meanwhile, Terry reveals his plan to Wanda, as Jason Wynn assures Chief Banks he’ll discover how their connection to Billy Kincaid was uncovered.
Spawntinuity: The opening narration claims that Spawns only appear every four hundred years. It also describes Spawn’s body as “necro-plasm” which is the first time the term has been used (Grant Morrison called it “psychoplasm”). Cagliostro still isn’t “Cogliostro” yet, but this is the first time he’s called “Cog” by another character. Cog gives Spawn a blank card which soon reveals the address of Heaven’s skyscraper, which is reminiscent of the scene between Spawn and a mystery man from Grant Morrison’s run (issue #18). Cog also says that God is “a chameleon of sorts…the Lord can appear in many forms.” The elderly lady that’s obviously supposed to be God declares that she allowed these events to happen, and that because Spawn’s willing to fight for other people, he’s destined to be “the one.”
Spawn Stuff/The Big Names/I Love the‘90s: On the Image Info page, Terry Fitzgerald talks about attending the 1995 E3 event, which unveiled the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn systems. Michael Jackson showed up at a party to try out the games. Fitzgerald says that a Spawn Super Nintendo game is coming soon, and that a Playstation game is in the works, but it won’t be out until 1996 because they’re putting so much work into it. The game doesn’t come out until late 1997, and it’s horrendously bad by any standard.
Review: After six months of hype, Spawn’s new costume debuts. And he meets God. This sounds like the events of a big anniversary issue, but for some reason McFarlane decided to work them into #32 (I wondered if this was the third anniversary of Spawn, but #1 was cover-dated May 1992). As McFarlane later admits, Spawn’s new costume isn’t very different from his original, and all of the pre-release hype was a little much. Even by ‘90s standards, the costume’s a bit over the top, although I do like the new skull designs and the tattered cape. Oddly enough, even though they’re years away, both the cartoon and movie use the original design.
While Spawn often feels needlessly decompressed, this issue actually gives you the impression that things are happening. He rescues his friend, the angels in New York make a move, God shows up, some hints about the future are given…it’s like a “season finale” issue. It’s also obvious that McFarlane’s now trying to make Spawn more sympathetic, as he spends the entire issue apologizing for using “old lady-God” as a hostage, and several narrative captions assure us that he’s bluffing, and that his costume won’t harm her anyway. Because Spawn’s not truly evil, we even learn that he’s “the one,” whatever that means. Why exactly McFarlane veered so far in the other direction over the years, and made the character even more unlikable, is beyond me.
While the main story feels meaningful, those two subplots are still dragging. After months of exciting scenes of Terry studying files, we now have a page dedicated to him telling Wanda his plan to spy on Jason Wynn. He already decided to do that last issue; now a month has passed and his subplot page this issue is just dedicated to him telling his wife about his plan. Just as boring is the Chief Banks scene, which has him repeating what happened last month to Jason Wynn. I know that McFarlane wants to assure the reader that he hasn’t forgotten these storylines, but why does he bring them back up every month and do nothing with them? The “reminder” scenes just become reminders of how slow this book usually is.
Blood Feud - Preludes & Nocturnes
Credits: Alan Moore (story), Tony Daniel (pencils), Kevin Conrad (inks), Tom Orzechowski (letters), Steve Oliff & Olyoptics (colors)
Summary: John, a self-professed “monster hunter,” finds the crucified Curse in Spawn’s alleys. He tortures Curse and forces him to claim that he saw Spawn feeding on small children.
Review: This is a six-page teaser for the Spawn - Blood Feud miniseries. Since it only runs six pages, and one of them is a “Spawn poses like Batman” splash, there’s not a lot to say. Moore gives John the “sadist with a sarcastic sense of humor” characterization that’s a hallmark amongst British writers, and gets a few decent jokes out of it. I will say that these extra six pages of content are free, which reminds me of one reason why I liked McFarlane’s output in the ‘90s. With the higher production values of his comics (and refusal to do high-priced gimmick covers), and insanely detailed action figures, I always felt as if he was trying to give the audience its money’s worth. (I guess I didn’t personally blame him for that Spawn Playstation game…)