|First appearance||Malibu Sun #13 (May 1992)|
|Created by||Todd McFarlane|
|Alter ego||Albert Francis "Al" Simmons|
United States Marine Corps
|Notable aliases||The One|
|Abilities||- Superhuman strength, speed, agility, and endurance|
- Healing factor
- Necroplasmic energy blasts
Spawn is a fictional comic book superhero who appears in a monthly comic book of the same name published by Image Comics. Created by writer/artist Todd McFarlane, Spawn first appeared in Malibu Sun #13 (May 1992). Spawn was ranked 60th on Wizard magazine's list of the Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time, 50th on Empire magazine's list of The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters and recently 36th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.
The series has spun off several other books, including Angela, Curse of the Spawn, Sam & Witch, and the Japanese manga Shadows of Spawn. Spawn was adapted into a 1985 feature film, an HBO animated series lasting from 1985 until 1990, and a series of action figures whose high level of detail made McFarland Figures known in the toy industry. Spawn enjoyed considerable popularity upon its initial release in the 1990s. Comic book collecting was enjoying a marked upswing at the time, fuelled by the speculator boom looking for the next hot book that would jump in value after its release. McFarlane had also already enjoyed superstar status among comic fans with his work on Spider-Man, which had featured McFarlane's name prominently as both writer and artist. McFarlane's subsequent break with Marvel and the formation of Image Comics was seen by many as a sea-change event, changing the very way in which comics were produced. Wizard Magazine, on May 2008, rated "The Launch of Image Comics" as No.1 in the list of events that rocked the Comic Industry from 1991 to 2008.
The first issue of Spawn was very popular with sales of 1.7 million copies, however, popularity has faded over time. A recent issue, Spawn #174, ranked 99 out of 300 with pre-order sales of 22,667. The popularity of the franchise peaked with the 1997 Spawn feature film, which was only a mild commercial success and failed to start a film franchise based on the character.
As of 2010, the title, along with Savage Dragon, are the two original Image titles still published. (Youngblood returned to Image in 2008, but without Liefeld at the helm).
In October 2008, issue #185, which marked both a new creative direction and Todd McFarlane's return to the book, sold out at the distribution level and warranted a second printing. By issue #191 in May 2009, with estimated sales of 19,803 copies, Spawn had dropped below Top 100 titles sold monthly to comic shops as reported by Diamond Comic Distributors.
As of August 2010 Spawn no longer was ranked in the top 300 sales figures chart reported by Diamond Comic Distributors, issue 200 has been delayed.
On January 12, 2011, issue #200 completely sold out within that single day. This marks the bicentennial issue of the series and features an all-star creative lineup, including Greg Capullo, David Finch, Michael Golden, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Danny Miki, and Ashley Wood all contributing to the anniversary issue. A second printing was released on February 9, 2011. Despite its remarkable sales, it has endured terrible reception from fans and reviewers alike.
Fictional character biography
Mortal life and untimely death
Albert Francis Simmons was born in Detroit, Michigan as the second of three children (Marc, Al, and Richard) to Esther and Bernard Simmons. Simmons was a very gifted officer of the United States Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He later joined the United States Gay Secret Service, which led to his transfer to the Central Intelligence Agency.Nobody liked him. In the CIA, Simmons was recruited by Director Jason Wynn into a special top-secret covert ops division known as the U.S. Security Group, an elite task force with jurisdiction in all domestic and foreign situations.
Simmons was murdered during a mission in Botswana for the USSGFF's Operation Knightstrike by fellow mercenary Bruce Stinson (also known as Chapel), at the order of Director Wynn, and was sent to hell because of his life as an assassin. Making a deal with a devil, Simmons agrees to become a Hellspawn and serve Malebolgia if he is allowed to see his wife, Wanda, one last time.
Malebolgia returns Simmons to the world, but with little memory, a badly burned and disfigured body, and magical powers. He is also assigned a watch dog, known as Clown. Simmons slowly realizes that five years have passed. When he decides to visit Wanda for his "one final visit", he shapeshifts his body, but discovers his transformation ability cannot give him his former appearance. He discovers that his wife, Wanda Blake, has since married his best friend ,who was from Russia.She was a homosexual though and was forced.
Now known as Spawn, Al's first few adventures are anti-hero in nature: he takes down et gangs and organized crime (including their enforcer, Overtkill), and he kills a child molester/murderer named Billy Kincaid. Spawn encounters an "Anti-Spawn", who is actually Jason Wynn (unknown to Al), and the Redeemer (a God-fearing man transformed in a similar fashion as Wynn). He survives an assault by Angela, an angel whose mission is to hunt Hellspawn for sport. Over time, he takes over the alleys that comprise "Rat City" and befriends the homeless within it, becoming their champion. In particular, he befriends an old bum named Cogliostro (Cog), a homeless old man who knows more about Spawn than Spawn himself. Cogliostro and the Clown act as polar guides for Al, trying to convince him to use his powers for good and evil respectively. At one point Spawn encounters Harry Houdini, who teaches Spawn some new tricks and saves Terry from being murdered by the mob. Spawn's face is injured during his time with Houdini prompting him to turn to a loyal bum named Bobby to sew the wound up with a shoelace rather than have Spawn waste precious energy healing it. This shoelace would eventually be removed by Terry Fitzgerald, and later worn as a necklace by Terry's daughter, Cyan Fitzgerald. "Shoestring face" Spawn would remain one of the iconic visuals of the character.
Heaven and Hell
Spawn struggled to find a way to free himself from Hell's control and recapture his humanity. Attacks from both Heaven and Hell were coming faster and faster, and Spawn was on the verge of losing himself to the violence and the evil. Salvation arrived in the form of a mound of festering garbage - The Heap, an emissary of the Greenworld, a power equal to Heaven and Hell that Spawn had never encountered before. They endowed him with a host of new abilities that would enable him to overcome the worst both Heaven and Hell had to offer.
While these powers are not directly described, they appear to give Spawn control over all the elements and other aspects of the natural world. It was explained to him that the Greenworld did not care for the war of Heaven and Hell, but were growing increasingly agitated by the destruction it brought about. They inflicted on him the pains of the Earth, and when he returned, Spawn became "aware" of the world. Spawn did not utilize his powers however, other than listening to the Earth, until he was impaled on the pole of a large sign by the dark god, Urizen. Urizen was wreaking havoc on the world, and after recovering thanks to Angela, Spawn splits the ground open, imprisoning Urizen within the Earth.
The new king of Hell
After defeating Urizen, Spawn learns that the dark god's release was orchestrated by Malebolgia, as part of an elaborate scheme to take total control of all the kingdoms of Hell. Having failed spectacularly, Malebolgia's power is at its lowest ebb. With the help of Angela, Spawn is able to return to Hell and finally destroy his demon master, although Angela's life is lost in the process. Though offered Malebolgia's crown by the sinister Mammon, Spawn declines both the crown and an offer to enter the gates of Heaven. Spawn instead turns his efforts towards stemming the torment of humanity and defeating the evil that exists on Earth.
Overwhelmed by the darkness on Earth, Spawn turns to his old mentor, Cogliostro, with a new plan. He will accept the crown of Hell, and then remake it, turning it from a dark realm of evil into a new paradise that will sweep away all sorrow and sadness on the Earth. Spawn and Cogliostro encounter Redeemer III, and in the subsequent battle, Spawn is dragged to Hell by some Scorpion demons. Mammon hands a box to Cogliostro, who kills himself and ends up in Hell, box in hand. He gives it to Spawn, who opens it and sees a fleeting glimpse of a utopia, along with his wife, and then Cogliostro reveals that he is the biblical Cain, the first murderer, and takes the crown of Hell for himself. Cain uses his newfound power to return Spawn to Earth, alive and well, back in the body of Al Simmons, but separating him from the Hellspawn symbiote.
Wandering the Earth in a daze, Al Simmons is confronted by a young witch named Nyx. With Nyx's help, Al is reunited with his Hellspawn symbiote, and Spawn is reborn. Seemingly human, with a human's frailty and vulnerability, when not shrouded in his costume, Spawn has lost much of his power, but continues with his mission to right the wrongs of the world and seek out peace of mind for himself. However, Mammon continues to plot against him from the shadows. After tempting and betraying Nyx, Mammon gains her magical power over the union between Al Simmons and Spawn, and uses it to rob Al of all of his memories. Al wanders the Earth, searching for something he feels, but cannot remember. During this wandering, Al unwittingly unleashes a band of angels known as the Forgotten, angels who were neutral, taking neither the sides of Heaven or Hell during the Fall. Al learns that Mammon is one of the Forgotten.
With the aid of the Greenworld, Spawn regains his lost memories, and something more. His costume metamorphoses again, seemingly becoming one with his necroplasmic body. Spawn is captured by Mammon and his demonic minions, and tortured horribly so that the secrets his body contains can be revealed. Spawn's discarded heart, torn from his chest in an earlier battle with the Disciple, a mysterious Warrior, transforms into a young boy named Chris. Chris, together with Sam and Twitch, rescue Spawn from Mammon's clutches and return him to Earth. Spawn learns that thousands of human souls are contained within his body, each one capable of being summoned in the form of a Hellspawn. As signs of the end of days wreak havoc across the world, Spawn must find a way to stave off Armageddon, and learn the true nature of Heaven, Hell, and the Earth.
Spawn learns that Wanda's recently born twin children (by way of Terry) are the ones responsible for Armageddon. The twins, who have been displaying destructive and sadistic tendencies for months now, attempt to murder their entire family, when Spawn arrives to stop them. Spawn is unable to destroy the twins, and the unexpected arrival of Zera, the Queen of the Seraphim, reveals the awful truth - Jake Fitzgerald is God, and Katie Fitzgerald is Satan.
It is revealed that both God and Satan were removed from their respective kingdoms and reincarnated as human children by the all-powerful being known as Mother. Mother is the creator of the universe and all its worlds, and God and Satan are two of her many children. She regards them as disappointments, being consumed with destructive hatred towards one another. Mother, who has aided Spawn in the past under the guises of Kali, the Keeper of the Greenworld, and the Man of Miracles, warns Spawn that he alone has the potential to rise above God and Satan, and preserve the human race. She also warns that Armageddon cannot be stopped - it is Earth's destiny.
Spawn is entered into one last final test to prove if he is worthy to preserve the human race: the Disciple. Before his final test, the Mother told Spawn to trust Cyan because she is "wise beyond her years". She also reveals that the Disciple is actually the guard of the portal to the Garden of Eden, where Spawn must eat the Forbidden Fruit in order to save humanity. After Spawn blasts the Disciple into Eden and kills him, it is revealed that there are actually 11 more Disciples, who are based on the Twelve Apostles. Also, because Hellspawns are never meant to enter into the Garden of Eden, Spawn's life will fade away the longer he is in the garden. This is shown through a video game like counter, which Cyan sees through a laptop. With the help of Cyan and the souls within him, Spawn fights each of the Disciples, killing them off one by one as the counter continues to drop to zero until the final Disciple left is Judas Iscariot, whom Spawn is about to kill. However, Cyan yells to Spawn to not kill him. Spawn, remembering what the Mother said about trusting Cyan, does not deal the final blow to Judas. Judas stabs Spawn through the heart and his counter reaches zero.
As Spawn lies slain, Mother appears and plucks a piece of fruit from the Tree of Life. She speaks with Judas, revealing that when she took the form of Jesus, Judas was his most beloved disciple, the only one who had the courage to betray him. Without his death, the life of Jesus would have had no greater meaning. Mother gives the power of the Forbidden Fruit to the lifeless Spawn, resurrecting him in a new form - his cloak and chains are gone, replaced with shining white wings. Mother explains that Cyan was right; Spawn needed to die in order to be resurrected and gain the power to rival God and Satan. Returning to Earth, Spawn finds New York totally destroyed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The slain population of the Earth have become possessed by angels and demons, who are gathering for the final battle. As Spawn races to the place where Armageddon will be fought, he confronts Zera, the Queen of the Seraphim.
During this battle, Spawn shows Zera his true power as equal to God and Satan. Spawn defeats Zera and returns to the battle between Heaven and Hell with her head as a trophy. Spawn arrives at the battle as the last of Heaven's warriors are slain. He believes that he knows one of them. Searching the battle field, Spawn discovers that he knows one of the soldiers as Granny Blake. She realizes that she has been betrayed and misled by her faith without God. Spawn faces off against the Hellspawn of Satan's army, declaring that the Earth realm belongs to him. Calling him a traitor for breaking his oath, the Hellspawn from all the ages converge on their "brother." Spawn battles the Hellspawn, calling upon the Earth to swallow them, returning them to Hell. Hearing of this, Satan sends all of his remaining warriors after Spawn. Fearing that Spawn will unbalance Armageddon, God does the same. These events are watched by Mammon and a cloaked figure, whom Mammon responds to as a subordinate. During their exchange, it is implied that all is going according to their plan, and Mammon says that he should have never been doubted. As Heaven and Hell attack, Spawn with full force that almost destroys the whole universe, calls to himself all the power given to him by the Mother, and in a single display of power destroys the armies of Heaven and Hell, along with the rest of humanity.
Laughing, he dismisses his act as a way to halt the Armageddon itself, leaving God and Satan without soldiers to use in their battle. He then asks the Mother to restore her children to their former glory and powers, but refuses to fight them. They eventually incinerate Spawn, then proceed their endless battle... fighting by themselves, in a barren, scorched Earth.
The reconstructed world
Spawn, now given the powers of a god and the protection of the Mother, gains the power to recreate Earth, restoring everyone to life, but leaving humanity every memory of the Rapture. Both God and Satan have no role in the "new" Earth, because they're trapped in their perception of a barren Earth until they cease their seemingly endless fight, and Spawn, with his last act as a god himself, closes every door between Hell, Heaven, and Earth.
He then asks the Mother to turn him back into Al Simmons, convincing her into letting the former Spawn have the chance to win back Wanda and becoming a fatherly figure for Cyan. A now fully human Simmons returns to his former home, but facing the memories of the miscarriage he inflicted upon Wanda by beating her the last night before dying, he relinquishes humanity once more, accepting to go on in his death as the monster he was always thought to have been in life.
Realizing how Al Simmons himself, not Mammon, claimed the Hellspawn role as penance, Spawn, again in his "red-cowled" costume, once more takes residence in a deserted and barren Rat Alley.
In issue #169, Zera has returned. She is seen again now as a rotting decapitated head immersed in preservative liquids within a glass container. As she was one of God's favorites, she was granted immortality by God. Spawn is summoned by Voodoo priestess Mambo Suzanne while Zera is trying to possess Nyx. Zera uses Nyx's body to successfully do battle with Spawn. Mambo Suzanne, however uses the conflict as a distraction to shatter the glass containing Zera's head and throw the head to streets below. There, demon dogs devour the head until there is nothing left, thereby freeing Nyx from Zera's possession. This issue leads to the recovery of Nyx and Spawn's friendship as well as Nyx's recovery of her powers.
"A Tale of Three Brothers"
In the next arc, "A Tale of Three Brothers" composed of the latest few issues but was the title that ran through issues #170-173, Ab and Zab create a literal hell house where visitors are forced to face their most heinous sins, due to demons called sin eaters that feed on the guilt by making their prey face the evil that they had done. A woman and a minister within the house are both caught in the delusions caused by the sin eaters, and slowly fed on by the demons. Spawn confronts Ab and Zab, but is faced with his own sin against Wanda and his unborn child. Unable to break free from the guilt, he is slowly fed on by a sin eater. Nyx however decides to intervene, overcoming a sin eater and breaking a sin eater's illusion that was subduing Spawn (it is revealed later on that Nyx is becoming more powerful). Spawn then tears apart many of the other sin eaters until he comes upon the minister who is being fed on by a sin eater.
It is then revealed that the minister is Al Simmons' brother, Richard, who was reliving his own worst sin. Spawn, who up to that moment had not yet recovered all his memories as Al Simmons since he became a Hellspawn, decides to allow Richard to relive his sin so that he can peer into his own past. It is then revealed that Mammon, under the guise of a man, Mr. Malefick, had a profound influence on Al Simmons' childhood. It was Mammon/Mr. Malefick (a constant visitor in the Simmons' household and close acquaintance of Al Simmons' mother) that tutored Al Simmons to torture and murder small animals at a very young age as well as hurt his own body, seemingly grooming him to become his servant, who would feel neither glee nor pity in taking another being's life. Malefick had also influenced Richard Simmons to take drugs as well as introducing him to the drug dealer Weasel. It was only Marc Simmons that seemingly was able to save himself from Mammon's influence, but was unable to help his brothers. Richard Simmons' vision of his past climaxed with him stabbing and gravely injuring Weasel (with a knife that was given by Mammon/Malefick) while intoxicated with drugs. Richard calls his brothers to come and help him in his predicament. Al Simmons, not wanting him and his brothers to be implicated in the crime, decides against calling an ambulance that could save the drug dealer's life and instead pulls the knife from Weasel's body and kills him with it. Mammon/Malefick then appears sending the brothers home while he hides the drug dealer's body.
Finding that the sin eater was already killing Richard Simmons, Nyx breaks the illusion while Spawn kills the last sin eater. Spawn then asks Richard about their parents, finding that Richard had neither thought of nor heard from them in years, Spawn determines that Mammon had blocked the memory of their parents and prevented the brothers from even thinking about their parents. Spawn then leaves, but not before Nyx places a spell preventing Ab and Zab from leaving the building and Spawn promises to come back for his brother. Spawn then finds his parents' home which Mammon had hidden under a spell and within it his parents, who were trapped there for many years. There, he is greeted by his mother, who recognizes Al Simmons even in the form of Spawn while Al Simmons' father is shocked.
Al Simmons' mother had conspired with Mammon to give birth to a Hellspawn that would be greater than those which came before, that would remake the world and place all of existence under Mammon/Malefick's power. Al Simmons' father falls into grief for not being able to stop his wife from what she and Mammon had done to his son. When Spawn wonders why his father was chosen to bear him, his father points out a journal from his great-grandfather, passed down from generation to generation... a journal that Al Simmons' mother had prevented her husband from showing their children.
As Spawn is given the journal by his father, Richard Simmons is seen providing the demons Ab and Zab some food, then retiring to his quarters to recall a time in his childhood when he would pretend to be asleep and his father would come weeping and reciting a prayer beside his bed. Mammon/Malefick then appears. Feeling that there can be no redemption for himself, Richard follows Mammon down to a door whereupon entering, Richard is swallowed into the bowels of Hell.
Spawn #174-175 tells the story that is found in the journal. Francis Parker (who later took the name "Henry Simmons"), Al Simmons' great grandfather, was a deserter who was to be lynched alongside another man, Jeremy Winston, in the town of Bane. Winston, a preacher, had been framed for murdering his family and was condemned to death. Mammon approached both men offering them a chance for revenge against those who have wronged them, an offer which Parker refused but Winston accepted. During the proceedings of the execution, Mammon causes a malfunction that ultimately saves Parker's life, however, Winston is killed. A short time thereafter, Winston is resurrected as the Gunslinger Spawn and he proceeds to slaughter every resident in the town of Bane, sparing only Francis Parker, whom Mammon ordered be kept alive. The Gunslinger Spawn confines Parker to a pine casket belonging to a now deceased resident of Bane, Henry Simmons, and floats the coffin down a river to an awaiting Mammon, who tells Parker that one of his descendants will become the Hellspawn that destroys the world.
"The Monster in the Bubble"
The story returns to the Simmons house where the television reports mysteriously reveal a new case involving the death of an American comic book artist. The artist was a deformed teenager named Kenneth Erskine, a man that had been unable to leave the protection of a bubble dome due to a medical affliction. Though he didn't die during the end of the world, he was affected by a leak inside his sterile bubble that gives him the power to project anything he draws as real. Al's brother, Marc, is the lead detective of the case, and the only one not to be corrupted by Mammon's influence. Nyx and Al leave to assist Marc, believing that it was Mammon who sent the transmission to the television about the case. As soon as Al and Nyx leave, Mammon and a figure in a cloak with visible vampire-like fangs suddenly appears in the house and proceeds to drain Al's father of blood. The cloaked figure's identity seems to be known by Simmons' mother as she smiles after Mammon asks her if she knew who the creature is. Spawn fails to save the Erskine's next victim. The last frame of the final part of the arc leaves Spawn doubting himself, unable to save a few people from dying - much less the entire world.
The continuation of "The Monster in the Bubble" from the last issue left Spawn utterly helpless against Erskine's psychic projection of a tentacled creature, that had impaled him multiple times. Erskine's projection suddenly shows features of Mammon, continually coaxing and tempting Spawn to accept death. Nyx intervenes by stabbing the creature with a sword, gaining the creature's attention, but leading her to become the creature's next target. She then telepathically contacts Marc Simmons, begging him to shoot Erskine. Erskine relents and ceases his attack causing the creature to disappear, allowing Nyx and Al to go to the hospital where Erskine is held. Spawn is faced with the predicament however of whether or not to cause Erskine's death, threatening to enter the bubble dome if Erskine does not reveal the whereabouts of Mammon, whom Spawn believed was pulling the strings. Mammon then appears to complicate the situation allowing Erskine to complete his last murder using a psychic projection of a woman to attack the last victim in his home. Mammon reveals that it was he who taught Erskine to use his powers. Upon killing his last victim, Erskine then proceeds to commit suicide, leaving his worldly possessions in the name of the doctor who had taken care of him. Spawn then proceeds to attack Mammon, and ask what Mammon wanted from him. Mammon then says that he wants nothing from Spawn, saying that Spawn had lost everything that made him special, only wanting Spawn to accept that it is his time. It is then revealed that Mammon had been using Erskine's powers to project a psychic projection of himself, and he was actually in another location. As the psychic projection melts away, Spawn is left kneeling, accepting the belief that whatever he tries to do goes wrong, that he is no longer needed by the world.
"Dead Man Walking"
The story then shifts to a mortuary. The story begins to be told in first person by a Dark and Powerful vampire known as Severin. Severin awakes, from what is thought to have been his death, and finds himself in a mortuary lying on a table. He is not alone as two doctors are examining a body close by. Once the doctors discover that Severin is alive, they flee in terror only to be killed by Morana (the robed associate of Mammon). With Morana's help, Severin begins to remember his past and discovers he is one of the Vrykolakas, the first of the vampires.
Morana seeks Severin's assistance and promises to end Severin's life if he agrees to help. Morana takes Severin to Spawn's warehouse where Spawn and Nyx try to explain to Marc about his brother's current situation. Morana explains that Severin must infect the Hellspawn with his curse. Severin must bite Spawn. Severin emerges and easily defeats Marc and Nyx before infecting Spawn with the vampiric curse.
Severin and Morana escape to the rooftops where Severin receives his reward, death. However, Severin has been tricked. Severin desires death but was instead given an inescapable hellish experience; Severin must relive the moments leading up to his infecting of the Hellspawn for all eternity.
Cyan, the daughter of Wanda Blake and Terry Fitzgerald, is having terrible visions. Her visions seem to be targeted mostly at her mother. Cyan sees her mother covered in blood every time they see each other. She envisions the pain that her savior, Spawn, is suffering through. Her visions are confirmed to be true.
Spawn, having been infected by the vampire Severin, struggles with his symbiotic costume inside his own conscience while Nyx and Marc stand by unable to help in any way. The costume insists that although Spawn is the host, the costume has always been in control of the Hellspawn's powers. The costume is angered by Spawn's actions, namely deciding to throw away the powers of a god. The costume begins fighting with Spawn, now returned to his Al Simmons form. The costume tries to convince Simmons that his wife Wanda Blake had betrayed him while they were married. The costume insists that Wanda decided not to have Simmons' child because she hated Simmons. The costume continues to taunt Simmons, bringing up Wanda's marriage to Simmons' best friend Terry Fitzgerald. Eventually, Simmons accepts what the costume has been saying and returns to consciousness.
The setting shifts to Mammon's residence where it is revealed that Mammon was guiding Spawn's costume into turning against him. Mammon is accompanied by Morana and Morana's foster parents Lucian and Daciana, leaders of the original vampires. Mammon orders Morana to prepare himself for what he must do next, which is unknown at this point.
The scene shifts back to Cyan's bedroom. There, her visions tell her that something terrible is about to occur. For the first time in the story she is afraid of Spawn, fearing his return will be to murder someone close to her. Cyan stands, approaching her closet door (which is covered with blood); she opens the door and finds Spawn standing before her. Cyan looks at him and asks, "You're going to kill my mom, aren't you?"
Forewarned by Granny Blake, Cyan plunges a knife wrapped with the shoelace once bound to Spawn's face into him. The knife, mystically charged, is able to rip a wound into the symbiotic entity, plunging Simmons in a delusional world, based on his memories with Wanda, to settle his unresolved issues with her in a more peaceful manner.
They are transported into a boat in a lake, similar to the location where Al Simmons and Wanda Blake once had a boat ride together. Spawn talks with Wanda, stating that he wished to move on, but couldn't due to their connection and what he had done. Wanda asks if Spawn could move on if she forgave him for the miscarriage of their child to which Spawn responds to do it. Wanda states that she couldn't forgive him, but also that if anything of her late husband is within him, that she loves him. Spawn, contemplating what to do, feels the pain of the knife that Cyan had stabbed on his chest and attempts to extract it, but upon doing so finds hanging from the shoelace, his wedding ring, the symbol of his bond with Wanda. Al Simmons is then able to reject his costume and bring the boat to the side of the lake, finding that both Cyan and Nyx were able to follow them into that location. Upon getting on shore, the symbiote resurfaces and attacks Nyx.
The symbiote is revealed as retaining its sentience and independence, and to have always worked for Mammon, offering full collaboration to his efforts to breed a perfect Hellspawn in exchange for being free to roam the Earth. Since Al Simmons is no longer needed, K7 Leetha merges with Nyx, in retaliation for its past enslavement, gaining full control over Nyx's actions and torturing her by imposing its will on hers. The symbiote attempts to kill Wanda and Cyan, but Mammon stops it by promising to bestow it with new powers and a new host if it keeps obeying. Mammon then leads the whole party, now formed by the new She-Spawn; Al Simmons in a human, unscarred, body; Wanda; and Cyan; to a distant castle. He then unveils how Wanda and Al were part of a master plan to breed the perfect Hellspawn, thus connecting Al Simmons to all previous Hellspawns, coming from Al and Wanda's bloodlines, and the Armageddon was simply a convenient way to put Malebolgia, God, and Satan out of the picture, paving the way for his rule over the Universe.
On the way to the castle, Mammon reveals that Al Simmons has now outlived his usefulness, as a new, better host is already prepared to take his place, loyal to his plans and more powerful than Al Simmons ever was. The host is finally unveiled to Wanda and Al Simmons as Morana, their miscarried child, stolen by Mammon the day in which Al Simmons brought Wanda to the hospital after beating her.
Morana, now a full grown woman, waits in the castle, bathing in the blood of virgin youths as a part of her coming of age rite. After that, Morana is restored to her human self, ready to meet her parents for the first time. Renouncing them as she claims they've abandoned her, she takes over the K7 symbiote from Nyx and plans to feed over Wanda's and Al's souls.
Since Nyx is powerless, and the Mother of Miracles is away from the earthly plane for ten thousand years, Cyan is pressured by Grandma Blake's apparition to push her precognitive powers to the limits, where she meets an old woman writing down a book in a dilapidated house. Ready to die, yet willing to help Cyan in her role, she gives Cyan a message for Spawn.
Returned to Limbo, Cyan pressures Spawn into calling down the Legion, or at least the still living souls of it, numbering a mere dozen. Even if Christopher claims that this new incarnation of the Legion is made by the strongest members, stronger even than the Hellspawn, Cyan shares with Nyx how her plan actually involves the Legion being soundly defeated by Morana.
The events unfold the way the old wise woman is writing them in her book, and despite their impressive powers, the Legion are slayed in front of a guilty, helpless, Cyan, until only Christopher is left, ready to go on in a new afterlife, beyond Heaven and Hell. Al Simmons, taunted by Mammon about his losses, from the happy family he could have had up to his life, denounces Morana, refusing her as his daughter. In retaliation, Morana savagely attacks her own servants, and her father.
Using the distraction in her favor, Cyan teaches a binding spell to Nyx, so powerful to be able to trap Morana and Mammon in Limbo for eternity. In an ontological paradox, Cyan claims the spell was taught to her by the wise old woman, who received the words by an older Nyx, in the future. The spell is successful, and Morana is left trapped, and pleading to Wanda to be saved.
At this time, it is revealed that these events have been documented by a wise old woman. Al Simmons convinces Wanda to return to the earthly plane with Cyan and Nyx, and after giving her a last farewell, and an apology for the life they never could have had together, he stays behind, searching for a way to be reborn as a new individual, no more a tool of Heaven and Hell. Journeying in a hellish dimension paved with discarded souls, Simmons begins his last voyage, a voyage turning Spawn in the biggest antihero known on Earth, both hero and villain, destined to bring on the final downfall of Heaven and Hell, and enact his final vengeance over God and Satan. As Simmons is walking, he says "I know what I must do". The old woman finishes documenting this final chapter, and ends the book by saying "in toppling them both he became the greatest hero and the greatest villain known to mankind. For me he was neither, he was and always will be exactly what I first saw in him as a child...he was the Sad Man." Finally, she signs the book with her signature, which reads "Cyan Blake".
As Al traverses the land of discarded souls he prepares to enter the human world. Escaping Hell, he arrives back in the alleys of New York City. Al Simmons searches for one spot in particular (it is implied in the previous issue, issue 184, that this is the exact spot where he returned to Earth as a newly created Hellspawn at the beginning of the comic); once he finds the spot he is looking for he gathers his remaining Hellspawn energy and blows his own head off, the one "true" way to effectively kill a Spawn.
Powers and abilities
While Spawn's abilities have fluctuated over the years, his core powers are derived from the necroplasm that makes up his body. This dense substance grants him superhuman strength, speed, agility, endurance, and healing. His necroplasm also gives him necro-magic, a variety of supernatural powers including teleportation, phasing, resurrecting the dead, necro-energy blasts, and much more. He can unleash the very fury of Hell through his body, however his magic is limited by a meter which starts at 9,999 and drains each time he uses his necro-energy. He is able to "feed" off the evil energy of the world including people and "dark animals" (rats, bats, roaches, worms, insects, wolves, and snakes). He is also an empathic being able to sense the emotions of others whenever he chooses. He can manipulate the elements and fly.
Spawn wears a living, sentient necroplasm-based symbiote suit, named Leetha of the 7th house of K (K7-Leetha). The suit feeds from the necroplasm in Spawn's body and his cape, spikes, and chains are all part of an organism that is bonded to his central nervous system; because of this connection he can mentally manipulate the suit to perform shapeshifting feats without draining his necro-meter.
Although Spawn is virtually immortal, he may be killed by a holy weapon forged in Heaven or by his own necro-power. He is also rendered powerless (and therefore mortal) in places that are immune to the influence of Hell, such as The Dead Zone (a patch of alley that is touched by Heaven) and the Greenworld.
Spawn also holds a vast arsenal of military grade weaponry and equipment as he frequently uses firearms as an alternative to his supernatural powers.