Todd McFarlane's Spawn is a boring character. There's no two ways about it; he's just dull. "Oooo, I'm so tortured by my wicked ways and my love for my beautiful wife. Whaa-whaa-whaa!" Pfft! Enough of that noise.
The strength of the character is that he is just one of a a legion of hellspawns, an army that has stretched back through time. So while Spawn himself may be dishwater-dull, the idea of the hellspawns have nearly limitless possibilities. DC wants to put out a Ancient Egyptian Batman? They've got to stretch to come up with an excuse. McToys wants to put out Egyptian Spawn? Sure, makes sense, let's run with it.
Their newest line - Series 22 - has, due to fan request, a Viking theme. There was a Viking Spawn ages ago, in Series 5, and collectors have been calling for more. The main character this time is Spawn the Bloodaxe.
Norseman Erik Bloodaxe was leader of the Bloodaxe clan. Erik was known as a good man, an honest fighter and a man who stood his ground. He made a bitter enemy in Jorvak Skullsplitter, though, over the love of a young woman. Bloodaxe was betrayed on the field of battle by Skullsplitter, who drove his sword into the warrior's heart. Bloodaxe awoke in the icy darkness of the Realm of the Dead. A warrior angel named Valkerie offered to help Bloodaxe escape the icy pits on a wild warhorse, but not before his striking features melded with his armor, turning him into something else entirely: Spawn the Bloodaxe. Can Bloodaxe survive the journey and return to his clan?
Standing 7½" tall to the top of his helmet, Bloodaxe is articulated at the neck, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, left shin, right ankle, and right toes. That's 22 points altogether, an unheard of level of articulation for McToys.
All that articulation means that you can get a nice variety
of poses out of Bloodaxe; everything from a fist shaking "Get off my lawn, you young whippersnappers!" to a reverential "Look at me, I'm an Oscar!"
There are several versions of Spawn the Bloodaxe due to hit shelves shortly, but I'm reviewing the first that was available to the public. Offered at the San Diego Comic Convention in the summer of 2002 and limited to only 2,200 pieces, the promo Bloodaxe has a unique head sculpt and is painted all in silver. He's in a smaller clamshell than his mass-market counterpart(s) which, since it was only available from the Spawn booth at the convention, has no j-hook.
If I may slip into "design geek" mode for a moment, I'd like to point out how much I enjoy the logo for Series 22 - the A in "Spawn" is a stylized viking head. That's pretty darn clever.
Since there're no paint apps to speak of (okay, there's one; silver),
the sculpt really has a chance to stand out. There are straps and buckles all over, a few skulls on his shoulder and waist, and Spawn logos on his kneepads. He's got sculpted chainmail under his helmet and belt, and the sections that would be exposed cloth look like hydes stitched together and worn for many years.
There are... I don't know, wood? Bone? Whatever, four big spikes on each shoulder pad. The helmet on this exclusive version looks rather Mongolian - flat and round, with a trim of sculpted fur (of course, it's also go two big horns sticking out of the sides). There's also real (faux) black fur under the armor at Bloodaxe's shoulders and hips.
Bloodaxe comes with his namesake weapon of choice - a humongous double-bladed axe that has a wicked spiked pommel on the end. It's also got a pewter wash, so back to discussion of the sculpt! The handle looks like a real wooden pike, with a length of rope twined about it. Both blades have the look of worn, cracked, metal with ornate detailing on the face.
Speaking of "face," you might recall we mentioned this exclusive has a unique head. The standard version looks like a desicated corpse wearing a helmet with a line of spikes running back the middle, and the boxed set one is wider and covers the upper face; the exclusive version looks more like a bare skull, with its jaw hanging loose and worms in the mouth. Creepy.
With a sculpt just slightly different from the standard version and a completely pewter paint scheme, this exclusive will be joining my S22 line-up as the soul of a dead warrior, ready to be carried off to Valhalla.
Except... he's not dead! He's pinin' for the fjords!
I couldn't go to SDCC myself, so I'd like to take this opportunity
to once again profusely thank tsr for sacrificing a slice of his valuable convention-going time to stand in line for a toy he wouldn't even be keeping. You rock most highly, Rob; we who are about to play salute you!