These days, when you think of Spawn, you think of alternate realities and BFGs, and it's been that way almost since the beginning. Series 2 of the Spawn figures (way back in 1995) featured a figure called Commando Spawn,
which gave us a familiar-looking character in a whole new setting.
Before his death, Al Simmons was a mercenary for the U.S. Government. Knowing that as Spawn, his powers are not infinite, on occasion, he has borrowed from army bases guns, missiles and bazookas to use in his fight against evil. Once armed, he tapped into his training to become the ultimate fighter.
The guns included with that figure were... resoundingly stupid. They were big and blocky, and really no better than the ToyBiz accessories of the time. Todd's crew has come a long way since then, a fact that's easy to forget until you set up a direct comparison like this.
The original Commando Spawn was made back when Todd was still following the standard toy industry conventions: that means it had articulation, but no pose: arms and legs came right out the sides and hung straight down. These days, however, that'd never fly. CS2 is striding forward with purpose, and has one of his guns raised. This isn't the heat of battle - he's tapped his target twice in the chest, and is now getting up close to deliver a final shot to the head. Spawn's a professional.
The sculpt on the figure is good, if a bit plain. This Spawn is surprisingly lacking the trademark One Giant Boot, and instead looks most like a guy in a black bodysuit. Well, a black bodysuit and a crazy gauntlet. A black bodysuit, a crazy gauntlet and a metric buttload of weaponry. A black bodysuit, a crazy gauntlet, a metric buttload of weaponry and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope.
Spawn's "costume" is at its simplest here: the black body is adorned only with a few bands of spikes on the right foot and shin, a huge bracer on his right arm and a smaller guard on his left. The white sections are sculpted elements, but in general, this is a plain figure, which means that the sculptors got a chance to show off their command of anatomy.
But really, they could have done that with any Spawn figure: the draw of Commando Spawn is all the gear he's packing. Counting each grouping of bullets as one item, he's got 37 pieces of gear on or around his person. We're not going to count them off piece by piece, but in short, he's got knives, daggers, handguns, bullets, clips, grenades, rockets, a bazooka, an M2 machine gun, night vision goggles and, of course, plenty of straps and pouches. And that's not even counting the two guns he can hold. The handgun on his right hip can be removed from its holster and brandished, as well. We haven't seen an arsenal like this since the Terminator 3 figures.
Paint is good - all those tiny weapon details are decorated well - but articulation is remarkably bad: head, shoulders, right biceps, wrists and shins, and every single point is a peg joint. Of course, you can't turn anything a millimeter without ruining the figure's lines, so there's really no point. McFarlane really needs to learn how to blend their sculpts with articulation; this halfassed stuff doesn't cut it any more.
The forward-moving pose means that Spawn's center of gravity is floating above empty space, so the guy gets a tiny display base. It's a section of dirt or sand with a few more weapons dropped in, and there's a footprint indentation to keep him standing. The base is about 2x3", and the paint apps are on par with the figure.
Commando Spawn 2 definitely looks better than his progenitor, but considering the decade gap between them, he'd damn well better. Is this a better toy? No, it's not, because there's more to toymaking than just the design. If you want a really good walking munitions factory, track down the figure that falls halfway between Commando Spawn 1 and 2 both in aesthetics and vintage: Arsenal of Doom Spawn. Now that's a toy!
What's your favorite gun-toting Spawn? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.