Thursday, September 23, 2010

SPAWN #37 - November 1995

The Freak

Credits: Todd McFarlane (plot), Alan Moore (script), Greg Capullo (pencils), Todd McFarlane (inks), Tom Orzechowski (copy editor & letters), Steve Oliff, Quinn Supplee, & Olyoptics (colors)

Summary: In the alleys, Spawn rescues the Freak from a violent gang. The Freak explains that he was once a secret agent, until his family was murdered by a scientist nicknamed “Doctor Delirium.” Spawn agrees to help Freak stop the doctor and accompanies him to a mental institution. After fighting through security, the Freak targets a Dr. DeLeorean and throws him out of the window. Spawn wishes the Freak good luck and departs. Meanwhile, a Mrs. Kulbicizi is asked by a social worker to help locate her husband, who’s escaped from the institution again. His doctor, Dr. DeLeorean, hasn’t been answering the phone.

Review: If you were a millionaire, wouldn’t you hire Alan Moore to script an old plot you had lying around? The one that stars a character you still haven’t gotten around to introducing, but want to make into an action figure? If you add this to Blood Feud, Violator Vs. Badrock, and the upcoming Spawn/WildC.A.T.S. miniseries, you would have over a year’s worth of Alan Moore Spawn-related comics. I bet 1995 was a good year for the magic rings industry.

So, the Freak is finally introduced, and I have no idea why McFarlane was so determined to bring him into the Spawn mythos. He has no connection to Al Simmons, Heaven, Hell, or any other element of the series so far. If Spawn were the kind of protagonist who actively looked for action, people to help, or problems to solve, Freak’s introduction wouldn’t be so jarring. However, McFarlane has established pretty well by this point that Spawn just wants to be left alone, and is only defensive of a few of the bums who view him as their king (what a hero). Now, he’s jumping to the aid of a mysterious stranger, acting as an accessory as the weirdo murders several security guards, not to mention the innocent doctor he drops on top of a police car. The ending does turn things around a bit, showing just how absurd it is when heroes team up with mystery characters and blindly take them at their word. It’s not a good enough twist to justify the entire issue, though (and it certainly seems as if McFarlane is going out of his way to portray Spawn as a moron at this point). The Freak is a “crazy-is-a-good-enough-motivation” villain who doesn’t really fit into the series, as evidenced by his quick exile into limbo. He did become an action figure, although I’m not even sure why McFarlane thought the design was strong enough to justify a toy. He’s skinny, has frazzled hair and low-rider jeans. Was there a huge demand for a zombie Steven Tyler on the K-Mart shelves?


chrispearce said...

I seem to remember a ridiculous amount of hype about the Freak action figure amongst toy collectors in the '90's. I think this was because of the amount of weird/crazy/deadly accessories he came with.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised they never put out a TPB collecting all of Moore's Spawn work. I'm sure there are some rights issues with Violator/Badrock and the Wildcats crossovers but there's more than enough to fill up a volume.

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