The protagonist of the comic. Al Simmons used to be a black ops. soldier and CIA assassin working for Corrupt Corporate Executive Jason Wynn, until he got executed for asking too many questions. Due to his life of murder he was sent to Hell, where Demon Lord Malebolgia offered him a Deal with the Devil so he could go back on Earth and see his wife Wanda again. He agreed, but ended up tricked: Malebolgia brought him back five years after his death, resulting in his wife having already married his best friend and ending up with a daughter. Also, rather than being merely brought back to life, Simmons was revived as a charred corpse and turned into a "Hellspawn", a Humanoid Abomination with a demonic costume symbiotically bonded to him and Green Goo powers. Al is initially lost and confused by the situation, but gradually tries to use his powers for good, resulting in Malebolgia sending a demon, the Violator, to form him into a proper general for his army.Tropes Applying to Spawn
Heartbroken Badass: Big time. His grief over dying and not coming back home to his wife was so strong he made a Deal with the Devil to get back to her. Then it turns out, in short order, he still looks like a rotten, burned corpse under his creepy costume, he can disguise himself as a living person but not as his original self, and his wife has moved on by forming a new, happy relationship with his former best friend and they even have an adorable little girl together, the child Al Simmons could never give her. And he's too inherently noble to do something like kill even his former best friend, so he has to just watch them from the shadows while they live a normal life.
Body Horror: The reason he wears a mask - he was killed by being burnt to death and then sent back to his body after it had been decaying for five years. Under the costume, he looks exactly like the rotting corpse he is. Also, some of his powers can have this effect.
Brought Down to Normal: Twice for brief periods following Cogliostro's betrayal and Armageddon he was returned to life in his original human form. The first time he eventually got his Hellspawn powers back with Nyx's help, and the second he willingly discarded his humanity and became Spawn again.
Cast from Lifespan: His powers have a price - After X uses, he goes straight back to Hell. He compensates this by using various earth weapons in order to keep as much energy as possible in store.
The Cowl: A sinister-yet-heroic figure who hides in the shadows and uses lethal force to fight crime.
Dark Is Not Evil: He's an undead assassin who has a soul charged full of enough Black Magic to qualify him as a walking Weapon of Mass Destruction and who wears a creepy looking costume that is actually a soul-sucking demon which has grafted itself to him. However, he doesn't really want to hurt anyone (though won't hesitate if he has to), fiercely protects those who he cares about, and he came back from the dead because of his love for his wife.
Dating Catwoman: At some point, he ends up developing a relationship with Angela, who is an angel — and not just any angel, but an angel specifically charged with terminating new Hellspawn. The same can be seen in the animated series, only there he has a brief relationship with another angel bounty hunter that was after him - Jade.
Doom Magnet: Hell yes. It's like writers are always trying to find new ways to make his already crappy life suck even more. In the Animated Series, Cogliostro even states that evil people are drawn to his presence.
Domestic Abuser: Ironically, he was one to Wanda when he was alive, venting the frustration of his flagging job performance on her, and his last act towards her before he was killed was deliberately causing her to miscarry their unborn daughter when he learned she was pregnant. His subconscious guilt over this is the real reason he came back looking like a corpse, and when he remembers everything he has a Heroic BSOD.
Faustian Rebellion: Initially subverted, as Malebolgia was Genre Savvy to ensure the deal would make it impossible for Spawn to do anything that would not end up helping Hell. Then Spawn overthrew him. It's complicated...
Horrifying Hero: The costume's creepy enough before you find out it's alive and feeds on souls, he looks like the walking decayed corpse he is underneath it, he uses Black Magic, and his typical approach to committing good deeds is gunning people down or ripping them apart with Combat Tentacles.
Humanoid Abomination: He's a symbiotic mesh of an undead corpse (Al Simmons himself) and a soul-devouring demon (his costume), all fueled by enough innate Black Magic to qualify him as a living WMD.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Malbolgia erased most of Al's memories before sending him back as a Hellspawn, leaving only his love for Wanda and his military training intact. Based on this, Spawn wound up deluding himself into thinking he and Wanda had been happy together but unable to have children, and when he finds outthe truth it completely crushes him.
Love Makes You Evil: The whole reason for him becoming a Hellspawn. Later subverted, as love for his wife and a few other people gradually becomes the reason he manages to preserve some of his humanity and even actively seek to reclaim it.
Many Spirits Inside of One: One of the reasons Al is so incredibly powerful, even for a Hellspawn, is because he had the Legion of Lost Souls - 6000-or-so people who died at roughly the same time he did - sealed inside him by the Mother Of Existence. He learned to summon them as Hellspawn to give him an assist when he needed it, but most of them were ultimately killed, and he released the rest.
Mercy Kill: In the animated series he reluctantly does this to Jade, as per her request. She's hunted by Heaven as a traitor, heavily wounded, tired of fighting for centuries and wants to die as a warrior and go to the Elysium Fields, instead of being hunted endlessly and sent to Hell. The only way Jade's wish can be granted would be to die in battle with a Hellspawn.
Military Superhero: Despite having superpowers up the wazoo, Simmons preferred to rely on his military training and guns. Lots and lots of guns.
Nineties Anti-Hero: One of the most obvious examples, though he gradually gets better as the story goes.
One-Winged Angel: The piece of his soul that embodied all that was evil in him descended into Hell after his suicide and attained power equal to Malbolgia's, becoming known as Omega Spawn the Conquerer.
Papa Wolf: Cyan might not be his actual daughter, but if something happens to her, you can be sure he will hunt down the responsibles and ensure they pay. As a matter of fact, he is most likely to have such a reaction toward any child close to him.
Physical God: For a brief time Spawn was empowered by the Man of Miracles in order to stop the Apocalypse, and sealed Satan and God in an alternate universe so they could solve their differences without killing everyone.
Powers Do The Fighting: Spawn is often more than content to simply stand in one spot and let his cloak and chains do the fighting.
Protectorate: After he chases the Mafia and other sundry criminal elements out of Rat City the homeless people there start calling him "The Guardian". He also very protective of his ex-wife and her family.
Red Is Heroic: His cape is red, as was part of his costume initially, and he's a hero by choice, despite getting his powers from the a demon lord.
Scary Black Man: Well, formerly, since his skin color is no longer visible due to his burnt face.
The Sociopath: In life, Al was utterly ruthless, bloodthirsty, and completely without morals, with Terry and Wanda barely functioning as his Morality Chains. After falling into Hell, Al had a Heel Realization, which was why he made the deal with Malbolgia in order to see Wanda again.
Sociopathic Hero: As Spawn, despite being a better person he was in his past life, Al is still not against using pretty violent and ruthless methods.
Superhero Packing Heat: Despite his huge list of superpowers, Spawn often resorts to guns first, which makes sense as Al was a commando and assassin.
The Symbiote: His suit is a demon named Leetha of the 7th House of K, which grants him his ability to fly and to use his cloak and chains as weapons. All Hellspawn have one, and it's implied there's several types (Clown mentions that a "K-type" costume feeds on souls when Al worries if his suit is behind the blood-drinking murders, which implies there are variants that feed on blood).
Vigilante Man: Whenever crime tries to invade Rat City, Al stamps it out, though he usually has to get a What the Hell, Hero? speech from Cogliostro first in the HBO series.
Yandere: Averted some times and played straight at others. When he first found out his wife married someone else and got a daughter when he was dead, not only did Al make no attempt to eliminate her husband, being lucid enough to know this would only make things worse, but he also becomes extremely protective toward them, especially his wife's daughter. That said, there have been moments where he has been convinced that Terry and his wife betrayed him, only to be stopped by Cyan.
Jim Downing/Spawn II
Back from the Dead: Was the last remaining member of the Legion of Lost Souls inside Al Simmons at the time of Al's suicide.
Multiple Choice Past: Crime lord Carlos Nortego ID'd him as an ex-partner of Jason Wynn's called Kramer who had been left comatose after turning himself into a supersoldier, but he has the fingerprints of 10 deceased criminals and has been ID'd by an angel and Malbolgia as a fallen angel.
Unwitting Pawn: Clown learned from his failure with Al and tricked Jim into thinking he was a good guy and that the Violator was someone else. It worked for a while, but Jim found out eventually and was pissed. He is also one to K7-Leetha, who intends to use him to kill God and take over the universe.
Leetha of the 7th House of K was the Hellspawn symbiote that was bonded to Al Simmons' soul by Malbolgia. Manifesting a voluminous cloak and chains, Leetha is capable of acting independently of her host and feeds off his necroplasm.
Adaptive Armor: During Spawn's first fight with the Redeemer, Leetha underwent a metamorphosis that became Spawn's iconic look, with the the red portions of her costume form becoming black and the cloak she manifested becoming tattered. She later underwent an out-of-control metamorphosis after Al was taken to Heaven to participate in Angela's trial.
Cape Wings: The reason Spawn can use his cloak to fly is because it is actually Leetha's wings.
Evil All Along: Leetha's intended host was never Al Simmons, but his miscarried daughter Morana, and the symbiote had made a deal with Mammon to insure this long before being bonded to Al.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: K7-Leetha had made a deal with Mammon long before bonding to Simmons, and ultimately deserted him for Morana, his stillborn daughter - but ends up being bonded to Jim Downing after Al's suicide.
Those Two Guys: Are the best of friends and partners, but constantly snark at each other.
An enigmatic homeless man who appoints himself something of a mentor-figure to the confused, uncomprehending new Hellspawn. It then turns out he's actually a hellspawn who quit the armies of Hell himself.
All-Powerful Bystander: Old Cog usually just pops up long enough to scold Spawn for his callousness and issue cryptic advice before vanishing, but it's later revealed that he was one of the original Hellspawn.
Badass Beard: It gives him a sort of hobo wizard look... which is more or less what he is.
Badass Grandpa: Is over 2000 years old, and is still incredibly powerful.
Cool Old Guy: Is positively ancient, but still has a few tricks up his sleeves.
The Obi-Wan: To Spawn, except he doesn't die. He betrays Spawn and takes over part of Hell.
What The Hell Spawn: Gives these a lot to Spawn in the animated series, whenever the latter indulges in Murder Is the Best Solution. Also when Spawn uses a Bed Trick on his ex-wife Wanda, not only because she was tricked but because this accidentally got her pregnant from a hellspawn, which will endanger her due to a prophecy that the child of a hellspawn and a human woman would play a crucial part in Armageddon. This places her right in the middle of the war between Heaven and Hell.
An angel tasked by Heaven with slaying hellspawn, especially during their vulnerable period on Earth for the first time.
Action Girl: Big time. She's an angelic warrior who's been hinting Hellspawn for centuries.
Adapted Out: Appears only once in the Animated Series before being replaced by another angel bounty hunter named Jade, who largely fills the same role.
Bad Ass: She slays Hellspawns as her job. And it's made quite clear she always succeeded until fighting Al.
Blood Knight: In her brief appearance in the animated series, she lures two gangsters who made lewd comments and later threatened her into an alley and gleefully curb-stomps them. She's also pissed off at not being allowed to hunt the latest Spawn.
Canon Immigrant: To Marvel's 616 universe. It is unknown whether the Angela that debuted in Marvel Comics is the same one in Spawn, as she says she was involuntarily pulled into the Marvel Universe from her own, though very few details of her home dimension have been given.
It seems to be the case that they're different characters. Her backstory is revealed shortly after the Guardians manage to subdue her, and absolutely no references - even subtle ones - are made to Spawn or the Image universe. Marvel seems to be treating her and her race as another set of aliens, rather than invoking the religious aspects from Spawn.
Category Traitor: When she failed to kill Spawn she was put on trial for treason.
Chainmail Bikini: A metal bra and panties are all the armor she needs to hunt demons.
Al Simmons' wife prior to the series, it is love of her that motivates him to barter with Malebolgia, becoming a Hellspawn in exchange for being allowed to see her again.
Adult Fear: When she and Terry realize Cyan's been kidnapped.
Crusading Lawyer: In the animated series, she's the only one who questions her client's guilt as the child killer and proves he was framed. Not only that, Wanda goes ahead and pokes around secret government files to find the real murderer, even after her friend warns her this will get her hurt.
First introduced in the animated series Lisa Wu is a journalist interested in investigating Jason Wynn's dirty dealings and finding out who's behind the alley murders. She's also revealed to be a hunter for Heaven under the name Jade and as such obliged to track down and kill new Hellspawn.
Action Girl: Takes Angela's place in the animated series, and was the one who killed Genghis Khan, among numerous other Hellspawn.
All Asians Know Martial Arts: Subverted. She's both a proficient fighter and Asian, but her fighting skills are most probably due to having been a bounty hunter for centuries.
Art Evolution: When she first appears in season two, she's given an average appearance with a more geeky, almost teenage look, with a round face and snub nose. She also has a more casual dress code as a reporter, wearing a T-shirt under her usual suit. In contrast, in season three where her role is expanded, she has a more detailed and attractive face, with a straight nose and high cheekbones. She's also given several Fanservice scenes and her usual modest suit is made to look more elegant by keeping the coat buttoned up and having her wear a shirt underneath.
Badass: Has killed numerous Hellspawn over the centuries, including Genghis Khan.
Category Traitor: Heaven doesn't care if the current Spawn is capable of redemption, they just want him dead. Jade's disagreement with this brands her as a traitor in their eyes.
Commonality Connection: She and Twitch develop a mutual respect for their analytical skills and intelligence. They even swap information about Al Simmons and Jason Wynn in order to finish their respective jobs.
A Good Way to Die: Asks Spawn to give her one when Heaven sends bounty hunters after her, as being killed by a Hellspawn would redeem her in the eyes of Heaven and possibly send her to the Elysium Fields, while being killed by Heaven's hunters as a traitor would banish her soul to Hell. Spawn reluctantly complies and stabs her, saving her soul.
In Love with the Mark: Jade falls for Spawn after seeing there's good in him and he's capable of sacrificing himself for the ones he loves.
Lady of War: She's elegant but knows how to handle herself in a fight.
Licked by the Dog: Lisa seems like a cold and calculating individual, and obviously interested in Spawn for some purpose... But when Cyan calls her a pretty lady and hugs her, with Lisa returning the gesture with a warm smile, it's obvious she's not going to be one of the villains.
Meganekko: As Lisa Wu. The glasses don't seem to serve any actual purpose as she ditches them when on the hunt.
Morality Pet: Becomes one to Spawn later on, as she's one of the few people outside his family he seems to care about. She also urges him to defy his Hellspawn nature and become a better person.
Out with a Bang: Is shown in a flashback to have killed Genghis Khan by pretending to be his lover and loyal follower to get close enough... then decapitating him during sex.
Power Glows: When she first reveals herself as Heaven's bounty hunter in front of Cogliostro, she glows a faint green and the burst of energy from her body throws him on the ground. Ironically, her eyes can sometimes be seen to glow with a green light, like Spawn's.
Power Tattoo: Jade has several large green dragon tattoos on her body. Those on her arms seem to move and morph into handwraps.
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right:Jade chooses to defy Heaven because for the first time in her life she sees a Hellspawn who has preserved some good in him, and thus she feels it's wrong to kill someone with the potential to defy Hell and his own inner demons.
Secret Identity: Jade lives under the name Lisa Wu, a journalist, when she's not hunting Hellspawn.
Temporary Love Interest: Her sympathy for Spawn ultimately causes her to develop feelings for him and save his life. It appears mutual, but doesn't last since she becomes a traitor to Heaven and hunted by her own kind.
To Be Lawful or Good: As she learns more and more about Al Simmons and his current actions as Spawn, she starts to develop sympathy for him, which conflicts with her duty as a Hellspawn hunter.
Worthy Opponent: When Jade first meets Spawn face to face he is heavily injured by a vampire and at her mercy. Instead of finishing him off, she decides to let him recover, so he has a fighting chance later.
Jason Wynn / Redeemer I
Al's former boss, and one the responsible for his death and transformation in a Hellspawn.
Badass Normal: He has no powers of his own, but is still proficient in martial arts.
Empowered Badass Normal: As the Redeemer, which allowed him to completely flatten Spawn in their first fight. He was turned back to normal eventually.
Beard of Evil: He has a goatee and chinstrap beard that accentuate his malicious appearance.
Bigger Bad: In the both the HBO series and the film. In the former, despite his role in the series, he never actually seen or heard. In the latter, he mostly stays in the background while Clown acts as the Big Bad.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Knows better than to make a deal that gives highly powerful demonic powers to a human being without taking measures to ensure it will end up helping him whatever happens.
Satan: Subverted; he appears to be this initially, but it eventually turns out he wasn't; Satan also exists in the Spawn universe as a separate character.
Xanatos Gambit: The way his deal with Spawn was; if Spawn uses his power to do evil, it favours Hell's cause on Earth; if he uses them to do good, his killed enemies' souls are sent to Hell and as such swells the Demon army; and if he does nothing with them, he will eventually turn less and less human until he goes back to Hell, thus becoming more suitable as a general for Hell's army.
A demon sent by Malebolgia to teach Al how to be a good Hellspawn.
The Shadow Knows: In the Animated Adaptation, the second episode has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene where Clown clearly has Violator's shadow. He promptly turns into Violator for the first time a few minutes later.
Skull for a Head: Partially; after remembering that he was the one who killed him, Spawn hunted him down and cut his face out in the shape of a skull, forcing Chapel to graft an actual skull on his face to replace the missing skin.
One of the earlier criminals that Spawn interferes with, a Mafia boss who comes off the worse when he picks a fight with Spawn.
Bullying a Dragon: He ends up trying to take down Spawn after mistakenly/actually believing him to be responsible for the murder of his followers (it was actually Clown's work in the comics, while Spawn did kill them in the Animated Adaptation). Predictably, attacking a Humanoid Abomination who just wanted to be alone had bad results on his organisation...
We Can Rebuild Him: How he became what he is now. In the comic, this is also used several times to bring him back to life after his various defeats.
Averted in the animated adaptation, where Spawn kills him for real the first time he puts him in pieces.
The psychotic son of a doting senator, his father uses his influence to cover up the fact Billy is an implicitly pedophiliac serial killer, who uses his guise as an icecream truck driver to scope out and snatch up his victims.
Asshole Victim: The guy is a child killer. No one will blame Spawn for killing him gruesomely.
Back from the Dead: Upon his death, he descends to Malebolgia's part of Hell and is made into a Hellspawn himself.
Bastard Bastard: In the Animated Adaptation, at least, he's illegitimate, which is part of the reason his father wants to cover up his atrocities; to try and atone for not marrying his mother.
Cruel and Unusual Death: Spawn stabbed him to death with a ice cream scoopers and popcicle sticks, then left his bloody corpse in Sam and Twitch's office with the message : "Boys screamed and girls screamed. So I made him scream, scream and scream..."
Fat Bastard: Repulsively obsese, and a sadistic monster who enjoys kidnapping, possibly raping, torturing and murdering children, doing things like "finger painting" (by cutting fingers off of his victims and gluing them to a wall) or scalping them to wear their hair as wigs.
The Bad Guy Wins: Not only does he get away with Karma Houdini at the end of Blood Feud, but he technically succeeds in destroying pretty much anything around Spawn, turning everyone against him, from his homeless friends to his CIA contacts. The only thing he failed was his attempt to kill Spawn, and he doesn't seems to care much.