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YMMV: Spawn

The comic:

  • Complete Monster: While an incredibly dark comic from The Dark Age of Comic Books, Spawn has several monsters who stand out:
    • Mammon operates as The Man Behind the Man to the devil Malebolgia. a Fallen Angel known as the lord of The Forgotten Ones, Mammon desired to create the perfect Hellspawn to assist him in ascending to rulership of all creation. To this end, Mammon haunted the bloodlines of Al Simmons and Wanda Blake, sowing death and destruction to create more Hellspawn and always leaving corpses and ruined lives in his wake. Mammon proves himself to be Spawn's greatest, most intelligent and most dangerous enemy, condemning the souls Spawn would seek to protect to hell to use them as leverage for their loved ones, and making deals to consolidate his power. When Satan returns and is furious at Mammon for claiming the throne, Mammon gets back in his former master's good graces by proposing to detonate the San Andreas Fault to kill and add the souls of many mortals to Hell's legions. After Satan is removed, Mammon unveils his master stroke- with heaven and hell sealed off from the world, Mammon sets about to conquer it from behind the scenes with Spawn's demonic daughter Morana, the product of his grand ambition.
    • In life, Billy Kincaid was a sadistic child killer. After being freed from jail, he lured a small girl into his ice cream truck and then murdered her. He then proceeded to chop off the girl's fingers and glue them onto a board as a trophy. After Spawn discovered Kincaid's brutal crimes, he killed Kincaid, sending him to hell. Dead, Kincaid became even worse than ever, given the task by Hell to gather more souls for them. Kincaid did this by possessing people and making them act out their worse impulses. This resulted in the murder of dozens of innocent people and the damnation of several more people to Hell, though Kincaid was having far too much fun to care. Kincaid also delighted in torturing the souls of children, especially one young boy part of the legion inside of Spawn himself.
    • Clown/Violator was Spawn's Evil Mentor, sent by Malebolgia to train Spawn to be a solider in Hell's army. However, rather than train Spawn, Violator had a tendency to commit horrible crimes, such as ripping the hearts out of random mob bosses, just for fun. Later, Violator kidnapped Cyan, the 3 year old daughter of Spawn's widow Wanda. Violator framed Spawn for the kidnapping and then tried to kill Cyan by giving her a glass of poisoned milk. Spawn rescued Cyan and killed Violator in his clown form, sending him back to Hell. Violator later returned from Hell and possessed Jason Wynn, turning him into a Serial Killer. Wynn, under Violator's influence, would hire prostitutes that looked like Wanda and then murder them. Violator eventually gained complete control over Wynn's body and used his powers to turn random citizens into "clowns," transforming them into Brainwashed and Crazy psychopaths. Violator then ordered his clowns to go an violent rampage, resulting in massive property damage and several deaths. Violator later saved the life of a man of Barney Saunders, but this was no act of charity. Violator needed a new body to possess and chose Saunders. After possessing Saunders's body, Violator uses his powers to force the residents in Saunders's apartment complex to commit horrible crimes, including murder. Violator was able to use the violence in the apartment complex to further empower himself and then attempted to open a portal to Hell, which would allow his demon brothers to wreak havoc on Earth.
  • Dork Age: the period after Spawn killed Malebolgia, where he teamed up with Ab and Zab and fought vampires and British cannibals.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Burkles and Twitch. To the point they ended up with their own comic.
  • Growing the Beard: Like other Image Long Runner, The Savage Dragon, the earliest issues are considered the weakest.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Wynn.
    • Malebolgia, too
      • Mammon beats them both hands down. Even though Malebolgia was ruler of the Eighth Sphere and referred to as "King of Hell", it is said that he was a flea in comparison to Mammon.
  • Nightmare Fuel: almost everything in the comic. Even some of the regular humans are scary just to look at.
  • The Woobie: Spawn; can sometimes go in Jerkass Woobie territory, but no matter how much of a dick he can be, poor guy gets so many things throw at his life that you can't help but feel sorry for him.

The film:

  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene with Clown wearing a cheerleading costume doing a dance number which comes out of nowhere, serves no purpose and which the protagonist doesn't even see happening. The devil himself ends the moment by dragging the clown back to hell to tell him to quit fucking around.
  • Ham and Cheese: John Leguizamo as the Clown.
  • Memetic Mutation: "USE YOUR ARMOR!!!"
  • Special Effects Failure: The computer effects—the majority of which; mainly Violator's scenes, were done by ILM—have not aged well since its 1997 release. Spawn's cape only appears when in use (either for dramatic effect or when he's actually using it), since it was extremely difficult to animate. Plus, Malbolgia'snote  mouth does not remotely follow the words he speaks, and Hell just looks like something out of a (sub-par, mind you) Pixar movie. An extremely dark Pixar movie for it to depict Hell, but still.
    • Conspicuous CG: Part of the problem is that the lighting always seems off nowadays, making the digital nature more obvious.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Spawn comes to his home to find his wife married to Terry and is lying in their yard, when Cyan comes to offer him some candy. It makes sense that they would grab their daughter and keep her away from the strange man, but its doesn't speak well of them that once they saw this man appeared to be a homeless burn victim in severe pain, their reaction was to call the cops rather than the paramedics.
  • Squick: You know the part where Clown eats a piece of pizza he found a dumpster? The one covered in maggots? Leguizamo really ate that.

The HBO series:

  • Awesome Art: The show's animation is amazing.
  • Complete Monster: Jason Wynn stands out in an already very dark show. Wynn is the director of the NSC. He is the one who ordered the death of Al Simmons by having him burned alive. He uses his position to protect child killer Billy Kincaid from the police by killing anyone who discovers Kincaid's brutal crimes. He is covering up Kincaid's crimes in order to extort favors from Kincaid's father, a corrupt senator. When visiting crime boss Tony Twist, Wynn has two prostitutes that were with Tony killed, so no one besides Tony would know he was there. Wynn is also using his position to steal weapons from the US Department of Defense and is selling them to various terrorists and dictators across the globe. When one of Wynn's employees, Terry Fitzgerald, discovers Wynn's crimes, Wynn frames him these crimes, putting Terry's life in a tailspin. Wynn later orders a hit squad to kill Terry's wife Wanda and his daughter Cyan. Wynn also orders Chief Banks to shoot police officer Twitch Williams, when Twitch gets close to uncovering Wynn's crimes. After Terry reveals Wynn's crimes to the world, Wynn becomes a free agent and seeks the mask of Genghis Khan, which will give him the powers of Hell. We learn that Wynn had one his former subordinates, Major Forsberg, thrown into a cell and starved, when he tried to leave Wynn's services. Wynn threatens to kill Forsberg's family unless he tells him where to find the mask. When Terry tries to kill Wynn in revenge, Wynn has him dragged to an opium den and forcible drugged, because Wynn thinks Terry slowly rotting away in this den is more of a fitting punishment then a quick death. Wynn later uses a knife to try and slowly torture Terry, while gloating about how he will sell his wife into forced prostitution.
  • Crack Pairing: The kiss Jade shares with Spawn and subsequent implied relationship between them... really comes out of nowhere. Even when she was shown to be sympathetic towards Spawn and having doubts about her job to kill him, they only briefly met in person once before and there was never any mutual attraction implied.
  • Creepy Awesome: Clown/Violater is terrifying beyond all reason in this series, but it's part of what makes him such an appealing villain.
  • Evil Is Cool: Clown/Violater
  • Nightmare Fuel: The comic already had some scary stuff, but Violater's transformation (which depicts him as tearing through the body he has like its paper) and Creepy Monotone arguably make him more terrifying here than in the comics.
  • So Cool It's Awesome: The show adapts all the elements that made the comic popular and is widely regarded as a superior adaption compared to the movie.

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