Credits: Todd McFarlane & Brian Holguin (story), Greg Capullo (pencils), Danny Miki w/Todd McFarlane & Chance Wolf (inks), Tom Orzechowski (copy editor & letters), Brian Haberlin & Dan Kemp (colors)
Summary: Unimpressed with Sam and Twitch’s progress so far, Cogliostro leaves them with a file on Al Simmons. Later, he warns Boots that a third force is approaching. Elsewhere, Eddie Beckett is harassed by a mob enforcer who’s heard rumors that Eddie is hoarding “something special.” He leaves Eddie for dead, yet the necroplasm oozes out of Eddie's paper bag and revives him. Eddie is reborn as the Heap. Representing the spirit of the Earth, he soon targets Spawn.
Spawntinuity: The Heap is a long-standing character that goes back to the Golden Age. McFarlane attained the rights after his purchase of Eclipse Comics’ intellectual property. Of course, the character he really wanted to use was Miracleman, but we all know how that turned out.
Production Note: Yes, twenty pages again.
Review: The story opens with the return of that old Todd chestnut…the manila file folder. Yes, Cogliostro, the proper way to deal with two detectives who haven’t gotten around to actually investigating anything in the past five years is to just give them a file with the info you want them to have. Just put the rest of us out of our misery. Maybe one day McFarlane can release a trade paperback of all of the storylines in this book that turn on manila file folders. If you’re facing a genetically engineered mob enforcer, a corrupt bureaucrat, or the KKK, nothing amps up the excitement like a manila file folder.
I will say that this issue doesn’t read as if two separate comics were pasted together into one, so it’s an improvement over the previous two installments. Not surprisingly, the book’s just back to more cryptic references and vague hints about the future. This time, the concept of some “final battle” that Spawn is destined to have a role in is revived. Apparently, the creation of the Heap ties into this, making this one of the few times a mysterious hint about the future actually connects to the main story. And, the Heap’s creation even pays off a subplot from the previous issue, making this the fastest McFarlane has ever gotten around to really doing anything. It is a little odd that McFarlane’s chosen to include a monster he bought from another comics company in this title before introducing the new characters created for his toy line, but maybe he feels as if he needs to get his money’s worth out of the character.