'Spawn' Makes Major Change to Al Simmons's Power Set

Since the first issue of Spawn back in 1992, Al Simmons has been a man facing an ever-escalating series of insane and violent challenges while serving in a war between Heaven and Hell. A good, but flawed, man with powers that come from the bad guys, Spawn has found himself serving as a superhero, an avenging angel, a demonic warrior, and even the King of Hell over the years. He has been at times the world's savior and at other times the universe's greatest threat -- and now, he has a new power that is a potential game-changer in his ongoing battle against the forces of good and evil. Spoilers ahead for Spawn #295, on sale today.

At this point, both Heaven and Hell want Al's head. Having resumed his duties as Spawn after the latest agent was put in a coma, Al cut off access to Earth from both sides of the cosmic conflict and has been using his powers and a relative lack of interference to change his play. He has been manipulating Earth's culture by bringing down public figures, politicians, and others who are beholden to one side or the other and used as pawns in the war. Nobody on either side is particularly happy with that, and in this week's #295, Hell sends the Violator -- one of Spawn's oldest and most iconic villains -- to bring him down.

For a while, it even looked like it was going to work: Violator teleported the battle out to a desert, using the blistering sun to diminish Spawn's powers (which need darkness to function at the top of his game). Just as things were looking bad for Al, though, the demented clown found himself on the receiving end of Al's latest power -- the ability to raise what amounts to a zombie army at will. Calling upon the spirits of the dead, Spawn was able to revive a number of familiar faces from the last 25+ years of Spawn, giving them physical form in the blink of an eye and siccing their mindless bodies (or spirits? Whatever.) on Violator. The sheer magnitude of power this required shocked and terrified the villain, who reasoned that during his time away from being Spawn, Simmons had used his downtime to study up on manipulating his infernal abilities.

And, from the look of it, after Violator ran back to Hell with his tail between his legs, it's Heaven's turn next. This is, of course, all part of a broader road to #300 that will culminate with what will almost certainly be a big, new status quo for Al this summer. Currently, Spawn is solicited out through June's #298. That means that, barring the scheduling getting off-course, Spawn #300 will likely be in stores in August. Spawn will become the first Image Comics title to make it to #300, and one of a fairly small number of American comics that are not published by DC or Marvel to make the milestone. Larsen's Savage Dragon is about 50 issues away. In addition to its 300th issue, a second Spawn film is set to go into production this year, directed by creator Todd McFarlane himself.

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