Credits: Todd McFarlane (story), Greg Capullo (pencils), Todd McFarlane & Danny Miki (inks), Tom Orzechowski (copy editor & letters), Brian Haberlin & Dan Kemp (colors)
Summary: Spawn lands in the fourth level of Hell, where he’s tormented by a corpulent demon. His costume detaches from his skin, as the demon reviews Al Simmons’ life and reflects on his love of killing. The demon rips out Spawn’s heart, keeping it as a memento as Spawn is sent to the next level of Hell. Meanwhile, Sam and Twitch prepare to meet their mysterious informant. Twitch is shocked to discover Sam’s purchased a ’55 Chevy to act as their “Crimemobile.” Elsewhere, Cyan has grown attached to an old shoelace.
Spawntinuity: Spawn’s tormentor also rips his flesh off, which completes the rotting corpse look McFarlane is currently going for. Terry now has gray temples, which are somehow a side effect of Spawn healing his injuries. Cyan’s shoelace is the one that kept Spawn’s face together for months. She found it in Terry’s hospital room, after he inadvertently pulled it loose while Spawn healed him.
The Big Names: Steve “Spaz” Williams, who did special effects for Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, and The Mask is creating a CGI Violator for the Spawn movie.
Spawn Stuff: Aside from the latest wave of Spawn toys (which include Zombie Spawn and Wolf Spawn), this issue advertises Spawn chromium trading cards, a Spawn Bible handbook one-shot, an exclusive comic starring Viking Spawn in the latest Overstreet Fan magazine, and a new spinoff, Curse of the Spawn. Curse of the Spawn originally centers on other Spawns throughout time, before expanding the focus to supporting characters like Angela and Sam & Twitch. This paves the way for the Sam and Twitch spinoff series, which raises the profile of a pre-Marvel Brian Michael Bendis.
Review: Spawn now finds himself in the unnamed Fourth Level of Hell, which is known for the unbearable psychological torment it inflicts on its victims, and the wonderful convenience of all-white backgrounds it provides to creators on a deadline. The stark white background is actually a nice break for this series, which usually can’t resist a coat of scratchy lines over any backdrop. The story is more of the same, not surprisingly. We get another recap of Al Simmons’ life, while Sam and Twitch continue to passively investigate the conspiracy they’ve been exploring since…who even remembers at this point. One new plot thread is introduced, as Cyan develops what appears to be a supernatural connection to Spawn’s old shoelace. This has potential, but McFarlane’s track record for actually paying this stuff off is abysmal. Wanda still hasn’t reacted to Granny Blake’s claim that Al’s alive, or to Spawn himself outright telling her he’s Al. Terry’s conversation with Granny from the previous issue, which revealed that Al/Spawn cured his cancer, is also ignored. Maybe these two should actually listen to the old lady…