Spawn 30 - The Adventures of Spawn
Spawn X, Cy-Gor, Overtkill, Tiffany, Redeemer
And Omega Spawn

During the late 30's and early 40's, dozens of comic book heroes and villains were created that last til this very day. Major players like Batman and Superman were born of course, along with the multitude of characters in their universe, but so were folks like Captain America, the Human Torch, Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern.

Then in the 60's, another huge splurge of popular characters appeared, including Spider-man, the X-men and the Fantastic Four. These golden and silver ages ushered in the vast majority of major players, most of whom are still well known to this day by young and old alike. But since then? The introduction of 'new' characters that have taken hold and become icons themselves has crawled to an almost complete standstill. Of course, this is due in large part to the simple fact that there's only so many super powers, and so many ways to incorporate them. It's also due to the waning interest in comics over the last few decades. But there have been new characters that have had not only appeal, but true popularity, and the arguable king of those is Spawn.

Introduced in 1992 by Todd Mcfarlane, Spawn has reached a popularity no other new comic character of the last 25 years has managed. With a full length film, adult oriented cartoon series, and long running action figure line to go along with the comic book, he's reached a fairly mainstream status. But there's one demographic he hasn't reached, and one that could be argued is necessary to get the character to the eventual place that characters like Superman and Spider-man are already at. He needs to reach kids.

That's been largely impossible, due to the graphic and violent nature of the character and the story. Is it possible to alter the tone of Spawn, bringing it down a notch, and still manage to produce a story that has wide appeal? That's the challenge that Mcfarlane has undertaken with the Spawn series 30.

This line has moved the character's design to an animated appearance. If that's all they'd done, you could simply attribute the move to looking at innovative ways to breathe life into the action figure line, at least for one series. But there's more to it than that - there's also a revamped story line as part of an online comic, which tones down the violence and even the origin of the character.

There's six characters in this first series.  I say first, because I'm hoping to see additional figures come out over time.  This set includes Spawn X, Tiffany, Cy-Gor, Overtkill, Redeemer and Omega Spawn. There's also two versions of the big bad, Lord Mammon (with and without the demon face) available at the Mcfarlane website right now for $15 each.

You can find all six hitting stores now (particularly Toys R Us), including some of the online options I've outlined below. Expect to pay around $10 - $12 each.

Since these are figures based on new storylines, let's discuss them each briefly.  Some things haven't changed.  You'll recognize bad guys like Overtkill and Cy-Gor, both still from Al Simmons past.  Al himself is still a hero, but he's not an undead, burned up Hellspawn any more.  Nope, he's still a regular guy, but he found the Necro Stone, one of the 13 Relics of Ruin. Yes, I can hear the fans groaning now.

In this big battle for humanity and the stones, Al is joined by the Redeemer, an immortal warrior that has aligned himself with Spawn X.  He's also aided by the Omega Spawn, a robotic version of Spawn from the future given live by another of those pesky Relics.  He's traveled back in time and built himself an army of robots that look just like him to kick bad guy butt. Every line needs an army builder!

Then there's the bad guys they're fighting, led by Lord Mammon.  Overtkill is half man, half robot, while Cy-Gor is the usual government experiment gone wrong, and reminds me of Gorilla Grod with a chip upgrade.

To round out the villains, and she rounds them out oh so nicely, is Tiffany. Yes, it's a little weird to see she's a villain, but these are such complex and deep characters, don't you know.  She's an Amazon, not an Angel, and she makes a few bad mistakes, leading to her allegiance to Mammon. A woman scorned, don't you know.

So that's way more than I usually write about background, but considering the new approach, I felt it was worth the effort.  Now on to the figures!

SPECIAL UPDATE!  At the last minute, my Lord Mammon figures arrived from the Spawn store.  I didn't have time to include him in the actual write up or scoring, but I did snap a couple shots that I've added at the end of the review.

Packaging - ***
These are still clamshells of course, but they've gone away from the square style to a rounded front. The interior artwork is nice, and inside they give some basic info on the line and the characters. Each one is personalized on the back too, with a photo and bio on the particular villain or hero. They'll be tough for the MOCers to store, but the openers won't mind the odd shape.

Sculpting - Redeemer, Tiffany ****; Spawn X, Cy-Gor, Overtkill, Omega Spawn ***1/2
With a name like The Adventures of Spawn, you shouldn't be surprised to see the animates style of sculpting.  Along with the softer background, the figures have undergone a tooning up, which has worked extremely well. When trying to go from very detailed to much less detailed, it can be very difficult to do it well.  People assume that simpler equals easier, and that's not really the case, especially when you're attempting to emote a certain feel.

All six characters have been translated to a broader, less detailed cartoon style with great care and artistic flare.  Easily my favorites are Redeemer (with the masked head) and Tiffany.  Redeemer has a slightly wide stance, but the design of his armor and wings looks absolutely terrific. Proportions are good - and cartoonish of course - and there's enough detail to give him a tremendous visual appeal, and yet not so much as to slip out of cartoon and into comic book appearance.

As a red blooded male, all I can really say about Tiffany is homina, homina, howwa.  While not quite as nekkid as past versions, she's every bit as hot, and would give dear Jessica Rabbit a run for her money.  She sports the most complex sculpt of the group as well, with more intricate details in her armor and hair.

The rest look great, although each has a few nits to pull it down from the elusive four stars slightly.  Spawn X will be a favorite of fans who are also fans of animation, but I would have prefered a slightly less wide stance, something closer to Redeemer's.  But on the plus side, the cape and its huge collar look terrific, and he has all the required Spawn elements (including spikes and 'M') included.

Cy-gor is the best designed in terms of sculpt working with articulation.  His stitches are an odd, bright yellow, and he lacks the gruesome details that most old school Spawn fans would expect, but he's a reasonable compromise.  And you can never go wrong with a big monkey.  His expression is my favorite, with a roaring appearance, letting you know he's not a happy chimp.  Cy-gor also has a cool metal chain attached to his collar at the throat, and the use of actual metal is a big plus.

Overtkill and Omega Spawn both have thick shoulder pads that do get in the way of some posing.  You can get more out of the shoulders than you might expect though, but the hard, brittle plastic they've used can be a problem.  I cracked the left shoulder pad on Omega shortly after getting him out of the package, and had to superglue it back together.  Omega also has an excellent svelte look, making him much more robotic in appearance than the others, but still very much a Spawn to be reckoned with.  They managed to come up with a design that doesn't look like a traditional robot, and yet implies that fact to even a casual observer.

Overtkill has the wildest general proportions, with a huge torso and even bigger fists.  But these details allow him to stand out nicely from the pack, and he is my surprise of the set - the one figure I thought I'd be least interested in, and yet he is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

These are larger than I expected, with Spawn X and Tiffany standing about 7 1/2 inches tall, Redeemer, Cy-gor and Omega standing just a hair over 7" tall, and Overtkill topping them all at almost 8".  These guys will fit in great with other 7" scale figures, which means no other animated lines.

The one thing that will most surprise folks - after seeing how tall they are - is that the bodies of the some of the are hollow.  Both Cy-Gor and Overtkill have hollow bodies, which you can chalk up to the torsos being so large, but so is Spawn X, which I don't quite understand.  Neither Redeemer or Omega Spawn feel hollow, and they're about the same size.  Things that make you go 'hmmm'. 

Paint - Redeemer, Tiffany ****; Spawn, Overtkill ***1/2; Omega Spawn ***; Cy-Gor **1/2
I foresee major paint issues for most folks on this entire series, not because of slop or poor quality, but because the matte paint on the brittle plastic equals easy rubs and damage.

Of these six, Redeemer is the best looking out of the package. The bright blue and gold of the design complement each other perfectly, and he's a striking figure on the shelf. Mine has no quality issues, although I've heard some folks having trouble.  He also has an amazing paint job on his wings in back, with a nice smooth transition between light and dark colors on his 'feathers'.

Tiffany, Overtkill, and Spawn were also excellent out of the clamshell, although there were a few stray marks here or there, and the cuts between colors weren't quite as clean as what was on Redeemer.  Tiffany has some wonderful colors, and the most small detail work of the group.  Interestingly enough, her 'wings' in back are gold in front, but silver in back, a really nice touch that adds some interest to her basic appearance.  As though she needs anything to add to her basic appearance.  Rrrrow.

Cy-Gor and Omega Spawn had the most problems for me. The dark gray/black color of Cy-gor's body was less consistent, even in finish, with most areas matte but some spots showing a glossier look.  His head has some useful articulation allowing you to move it backward on the body, but the collar fits so tightly to the torso, that it left marks in the paint each time I did it. He also had more issues in the areas painted silver, where the paint was a tad clumpy and uneven in its coverage.

Omega Spawn is a beautiful cream color, but he won't stay that way long.  He actually has two pieces of tape applied to the outside of his thighs, because they new any contact with the darker fingers on his hands would mark the legs.  Any contact with other paint - his own or another figure - tended to leave a mark.  The marks you see on his face and body in my photos weren't there in the package, but came after when I was handling him and his accessories.  I'm going to end up buying a second to keep carded, just so I have a nice looking version long term.

Articulation - Cy-Gor ***; Omega Spawn, Overtkill, Spawn X, Redeemer **1/2; Tiffany *1/2
Mcfarlane figures are rarely super articulated (with a few obvious exceptions), and when you combine that history with the animated style, a style not known for articulation, you get just what you expected - figures without much articulation.

Some of the figures have more joints than others though, and some have joints that are far more useful.

Cy-Gor is the winner here.  With the neck joint that allows his head to move forward and back, along with a cut joint on the neck above the collar so the head can turn, he can easily assume both a full standing pose and a crouched pose, standing on his fists.

He also has cut shoulders, cut wrists, ball jointed hips, and cut ankles.  These extra cut joints at the ankles and wrists are particularly useful for posing.

Spawn X has a cut neck, cut shoulders, cut wrists, a cut right elbow at the top of the 'glove', a cut right leg at the top of the boot, and a cut left leg at the bottom of the band on his thigh.  There are no hip or waist joints of any kind.  The wrists, shoulders and one arm joint work pretty well together to allow a few poses with the guns, but you won't be able to go nuts.

Redeemer has a similar set up, with a cut neck, cut shoulders, cut elbows, cut wrists, cut hips, and a cut waist.  His extra articulation over Spawn means he can do a little more with his sword, but not a Hell of a lot.

Omega Spawn has a cut neck, cut shoulders, cut elbows, cut waist, cut hips and cut knees.  While there is a joint at the waist, I don't recommend trying to use it, as you can easily damage the belt and the spiffy buckle by turning his torso.

Overtkill has that cut neck, cut shoulders, cut wrists, cut waist and cut hips again.  What the majority of these joints do for these characters is allow you to get them in just the right sweet spot to stay standing, and pop their arms into a couple different worthwhile poses.

With the exception of Tiffany.  She has a cut neck, cut shoulders, cut right elbow, and cut thighs.  The cut thighs and cut neck are almost useless due to a very short range of movement, but at least the right arm articulation can be used with the sword.  Oh, and her pony tails have cut joints at the head as well, but I was at a loss as to find anything interesting to do with them.

Accessories - Spawn X ***1/2; Omega Spawn, Redeemer, Overtkill ***; Tiffany **1/2; Cy-gor *
Tiffany might have the body, but she doesn't quite have the accessories. Every one of the figures comes with a round display base, but Tiffany is the only one to really require its use. Oh, you can get her to stand on her own if you're very careful, but you can balance a quarter on its side too - just don't expect it to stay that way for long.

She also has a nice, brutal but beautiful blade, and the hilt pops easily into her right hand. That's it for her, but even though she's light in this department, you probably won't complain too much.

Redeemer does better, although he really doesn't need the included base. He also has a sword, a nice wide, long, bright, dangerous looking blade. The hilt comes apart at the top, so that you can thread it through his hand. Be extremely careful pulling it apart, pushing through the tight fist, and popping it back together again - you can manage it without breaking it, but I wouldn't want to try too many times.

He also has a swappable, unmasked head. This blond Aryan appearing visage looks good, but is sculpted so that he is permanently looking down at something very interesting a few inches in front of his feet. I have no idea what it is, but he's been staring at it all day, so it must be interesting.

The heads pop on and off with extreme prejudice, especially Redeemer. It's because the pegs are long, large and very tight, in conjunction with the lack of any way to get much leverage on the small head.

Spawn X has a swappable unmasked head as well, but in the tooned up world of The Adventures of Spawn (doesn't that sound cute?), there's no hamburger head under there. Nope, it's just Al's regular face, since he's no longer dead. Yea, that's probably going to take the fans some getting used to.

He also has two swappable hands, which pop on and off pretty easily, and two animated but deadly appearing guns. These fit in his hands nicely, and one even has a peg to attach to a whole in the palm.

Oh, and he has a base as well, but like Redeemer, it's not absolutely necessary. It's more of an insurance policy rather than a requirement.

Overtkill comes with two very cool extra hands - one in the shape of a deadly double sided circular blade (a right), and one in an Ash-style chainsaw (the left).  These are VERY difficult to swap, and you really have to put some effort into removing them. They do come off though (at the wrists), and once you've swapped them a couple times it does get slightly easier.  There's a transmitter that attaches to the right side of his head, and technically this is an accessory (it comes packaged separately), but he looks pretty silly without it since the side of his head is formed to accommodate it.  He also has the display base again, but his is also not absolutely necessary.

Speaking of tough to remove arms, there's also Omega Spawn.  His second set of arms are transformed into serious looking cannons, complete with sights.  Again, getting the original arms off and the new ones on is a tough nut to crack, but it is doable.  And just like the previous male figures, his display base is only useful to insure he won't fall.

That leaves poor Cy-Gor.  He has his display base (blah blah blah), and that's it.  Now, the metal chain on his neck is nice, and probably added some cost, but some sort of accessories were really necessary, especially with the cool goodies Spawn X and Overtkill got.

Fun Factor - ***
As an animated line, these aren't quite as much fun as I'd hoped. The hollow hard plastic, combined with the easily damaged paint, make for figures that are going to show any play very quickly. The brittleness of the plastic is also going to be an issue for any kid, who's likely to snap things off without too much trouble. Add in the extremely limited articulation, and you get one of those odd situations where they look like toys, but work better as adult collectibles.

Value - **1/2
When I bought these at Toys R Us, they were all marked $5.97. I practically wet myself on the spot, and was salivating in the anticipation of being able to write a Value section on how McToys had managed to put a kid's price on a kid's toy. I couldn't figure out how he could have done it, but I was ready to applaud him for it anyway.

Until I got to the checkout and they rang up $11 each. On the plus side, I got my set for a really good price, since they went with what they were marked. It was still a bit of a disappointment though, after getting my hopes up. At around $11, these are going to be a tough sell to parents, who aren't all that thrilled with the $7 - $8 they're spending on most Batman and Spider-man toys. These really need to hit the ten buck price point, and perhaps at stores like Meijers you may actually get that. Assuming of course that other retailers have gotten behind the line.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Popping the heads and hands off and on is a real effort. It's not impossible, and Spawn's hands are much easier to work with than Overtkill's, but they are still more difficult than you expect. Hopefully the arms and posts can handle the abuse over time.

I'd be extra careful with Redeemer's sword as well. The hilt does come apart at the blade to insert it into his hand, but only the shaft of the hilt comes off - the guard does not, and could be broken with too much of a tug. I'd suggest putting this thing in his hands once, and leaving it there.

Also, check out my note below (in the Where to Buy section) on the Lord Mammon figure, and why you don't necessarily need to buy a demon version and a regular version.

Finally, there's actually two versions of Tiffany for the variant collectors.  The one you see here has pupils - the variant has all white eyes like in the comic.

Overall - Redeemer, Tiffany ***1/2; Spawn X, Omega Spawn, Overtkill ***; Cy-Gor **1/2
I'm a huge fan of animated lines, especially animated superheroes.  This was the first series of the Spawn action figure line that I'd been anticipating in years, and I'm happy to say I'm not disappointed.

There's a few issues, such as the general paint problems, the lack of accessories for the poor monkey, and a slightly high price point. But in general I'm very happy with the series, and I'm very hopeful that they do well and we see more.  Perhaps this line, in combination with the comic book, can generate enough interest in a more mainstream cartoon?

That being said, I'm not particularly thrilled with the dopey rewrite.  I understand the need to get away from Al's crispiness and away from the whole Hellspawn concept, but what we have here seems to be a conglomeration of anything cool.  They've thrown robots and giant apes and time travel and robot armies and ancient magical relics and hot Amazons all into a big pot and stirred a little.  Maybe if they stir some more it won't seem quite so generic.  I'm betting that for most fans, it won't be the appearance but rather the changes to the characters that bothers them the most.  You can change classic characters and get away with it, but you have to make interesting changes that are well written for long time fans to accept it.

As I mentioned earlier, I've added a few shots of Lord Mammon, who just showed up today. If there is one figure that's pushing that four star rating, it's this guy.  He's a little more expensive, but his exclusivity (the Mcfarlane site only), and his cool accessories make him worth the extra dough.  I may get around to reviewing him on his own, but for now, there's a few pretty pictures.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Redeemer, Tiffany ****; Spawn X, Cy-Gor, Overtkill, Omega Spawn ***1/2
Paint - Redeemer, Tiffany ****; Spawn, Overtkill ***1/2; Omega Spawn ***; Cy-Gor **1/2
Articulation - Cy-Gor ***; Omega Spawn, Overtkill, Spawn X, Redeemer **1/2; Tiffany *1/2
Accessories - Spawn X ***1/2; Omega Spawn, Redeemer, Overtkill ***; Tiffany **1/2; Cy-gor *
Fun Factor ***
Value -  **1/2
Overall - Redeemer, Tiffany ***1/2; Spawn X, Omega Spawn, Overtkill ***; Cy-Gor **1/2

Where to Buy -
You can find these at some Toys R Us stores, or online at:

- Killer Toys has the full set of 6 for $65, or a case of 12 for $120.

- CornerStoreComics has the set for $65 as well, and individual figures for $12 each. They also have a case at $115.

- Amazing Toyz has the set for $65, or the singles for $12 each.

- if you're in the U.K., Forbidden Planet has them available for around 10 pounds each.

- And don't forget that the exclusive Lord Mammon versions are both available right now at the Mcfarlane website store!  Don't make the mistake I did though...I didn't pay enough attention, and thought I HAD to buy a demon Mammon and a regular Mammon.  Oh, no you don't!  Both versions come with all the same stuff, and he can be EITHER demon or regular.  The only difference is that the demon version is packaged with the demon head and hands on, and the regular head (and hands) off.  The regular version is the opposite.  So unless you plan on displaying him both ways at the same time, OR you want a carded version both ways, you only need to buy one Mammon.

Related Links:
There's the online comic to hit, and the overall feature on the line at the Mcfarlane site.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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