Toy Review: Spawn Figures Are Back, Bigger Than Before
Spawn is Todd McFarlane‘s baby, and the character McFarlane Toys was originally created to make. But while the company subsequently acquired bigger and more lucrative licenses, the market for Spawn dried up a bit. A soft relaunch via Mortal Kombat figures and a successful Kickstarter appear to have proven the appetite as still there, and a renewed comics push for a “Spawniverse” helps. With the Spawn’s Universe (one-shot) and King Spawn #1 – both the first new Spawn #1 titles since 1992 — McFarlane, clearly inspired by Scott Snyder’s lineup of Dark Knights Metal Batmen, has brought back Spawn figures. And now they’re their own line. Sort of. Each figure package looks distinct, and even the sizes vary greatly.
Spawn’s return is good news for even toy fans who don’t care about Spawn. Here’s why: any lingering issues with McFarlane figures tend to get fixed when they happen to Spawn. Those upper thigh internal cut joints that rarely work? Mostly fixed. Rigid fingers that hurt to properly place the weapons in? Also mostly fixed. Ab joints that don’t have a great range? Not on Spawn! (Albeit maybe on heftier creatures.) Save for one, every figure in this new Spawn line is also a redo of a figure from older Spawn lines that originally came with extremely limited articulation, redone in the current 22-point style.
And there’s another McFarlane tic at play here. The creator always used to boast about how he kept Spawn taller than every other superhero toy on the market. So a figure that began at around 5-inches ultimately created, more-or-less, the 7-inch scale that’s now standard for McFarlane, NECA, and Super7. Well, each of the new Spawns stands about a head taller than the most recent Mortal Kombat Spawn. There’s also a price raise, from $19.99 to the $24.99 that McFarlane usually reserves for figures with build-a-figure parts. Most likely this price raise had to come anyway — with many regular 6-inch lines going to $22.99, McFarlane’s $19.99 seemed too good a deal to last. So the height increase may be to add perceived value for that bump.
The deluxe figures get a bigger bump, depending on size. Violator, who runs $49.99, is a massive, hefty chunk of plastic. He weighs so much that mint packaging may be tough to find, as his heft stresses even the box. He dwarfs even recent larger McFarlane figures like Devastator, and comes close to giving RAW 10 Cy-Gor an even-money match-up. And the level of detail on him is just nuts. You won’t likely see a better toy monster this year.
Violator is the only figure in this line that isn’t a direct remake of a previous figure. Based on the new, jacked-up Violator from Spawn #300, he’s more typically supervillain-ish. Now, one of the cool things about the original Violator was that he looked nothing like any other hero’s arch-nemesis. His preposterous body proportions made accurate toys tough, though today’s clear figure stands would help. He also had the affect of a kind of giant bug, which he’s lost a bit in transition. This version is more reptile/pachyderm, with an upper body like Doomsday and the legs of Godzilla. He at least retains the insectoid compound eyes.
His joints are all disc-and-pin ball joints except the jaw, though the mid-torso and neck articulation face severe limitations due to the sculpt. The back horn is soft at the tip, but very little else about him is. Also, dare we suggest the normal-size figure stand is a touch small, and maybe the larger 12-inch scale one might do better…
Secure him well on your shelf. This bad boy will do serious damage if he falls.
Clocking in at $39.99, Violator’s human alter-ego the Clown seems like an unlikely choice for a deluxe figure, since he’s a short human. But his pop up arsenal, inspired by The Mask, is chunky and heavy, solid all the way through. It is also completely unfeasible as realistic weaponry, but that’s the point.
Times have changed for the Clown. He used to be an overly grotesque, critique of humanity, pointedly looking worse than most humans could. Nowadays, fat guys with painted faces running around with open-carry ammunition feel like a societal norm. This Clown could attend modern political rallies and completely blend in.
Like Marvel’s recent Kingpin and Mr. Hyde figures, Clown makes excellent use of big fat ball joints to obtain poses obese guys used not to as toys. But his use of the standard McFarlane thigh assembly can create a major thigh gap.
Articulation points on the gun assembly need to be stiff to keep the guns standing up. Even then, this feels like a figure that might lose a long-term struggle against gravity. Take care posing and adjusting the guns — they will move, but they may feel like breaking.
Oh, and without the guns, he sports a big yellow hole in his back.
Clown also includes a knife and straight razor, plus alternate hands which switch out super-easily. (Think Mondo-level looseness.) There’s a bit of a color contrast, as the hair on his forearms has a reddish paint app while the hands are totally pale like the rest of him. Still, he’s not technically human, so whatever.
Gunslinger Spawn makes for an excellent update. An aesthetic mix of guitarist Slash and Trigun‘s Vash, he now has a super-flexible cape, pistols with skulls in the handles, rifle holster, and hands that can use both. There’s a lot of room to pose this guy. Gunslinger sells exclusively at Target.
Redeemer feels less detailed than his last version, and the wings are more scooped than a wide span. However, his new articulation makes up for it. Much more brightly comic-booky than a typical McFarlane figure, Heaven’s “Spawn” will include variants. The one sent to reviewers appears to be a special “Platinum” edition, with a newly created sword in a feathery style, and green wings rather than pure white. The sword may not be as cool as the simpler m-handled one he had before, but the wings definitely rule.
Raven Spawn, while heftier than previous versions, lacks the more artist-specific style they had. He’s the least-essential for longtime collectors, but strikes poses aplenty.
For anyone who thought the current Mortal Kombat version of Noob Saibot resembled Raven Spawn — lets just say that Noobs make great minions for him.
Welcome back, Spawn. These figures collectively sport all the detail of the older figures, combined with lots of articulation the company once thought impossible. Can it last without a movie or TV project showing up soon? Here’s hoping. The days when a figure could simply get to shelf because it looked cool may never fully return, but this feels like a foot in the door.
Entertainment Earth has all except Gunslinger up for preorder, with an expected September delivery. Please note that Superhero Hype is part of the Entertainment Earth affiliate program, and earns fees based on purchases made through these links.
As always, our gallery below has much more. Check it out and let us know your thoughts in comments.
Recommended Purchase: McFarlane – Mortal Kombat 12 – Commando Spawn
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