The Batman/Spawn 2022 creative team of Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo have discussed in detail their collaborative process for the crossover one-shot.
In an interview with CBR, the creative duo talked about various story points. Needless to say, there are some major SPOILER WARNINGS for the latest Batman/Spawn crossover.
Batman vs. Spawn
McFarlane was sensitive to the idea that Batman and Spawn battle each other in the one-shot. However, Spawn’s power levels are way stronger than Batman’s. Past team-ups had different explanations for how Batman could battle Spawn and survive.
This time McFarlane actually opted for an already-established in-universe explanation. Well… not in the DC Universe, but Spawn’s. In this lore, they have areas called “Dead Zones” that are said to be abandoned by Heaven and Hell. More importantly, all powers are negated there, including Spawn’s. McFarlane decided to integrate Dead Zones into the crossover tale to explain how Batman and duel Spawn head-to-head without being immediately obliterated.
I wanted to have Greg draw the Batman that everybody loves. So, I just introduced what’s been in the Spawn continuity forever, which are Dead Zones. [In] Dead Zones, whether you’re good, bad, or indifferent, you walk into that invisible bubble, everybody’s mortal at that point.
Batman/Bruce Wayne is mortal inside and outside, so he basically — I would argue — has the advantage when people are inside the Dead Zone because he’s been living as a mortal his whole life. He knows how to survive as a mortal, maybe more so than the bad guys who rely on their powers way too much.
The Joker in Batman/Spawn
Beyond the battle of the dual titular characters, readers were treated to a brief but memorable appearance of the Joker. Interestingly, this version of the Joker is from the Greg Capullo illustrated Death of the Family, where he had his face cut off and hastily strapped on with leather bands.
One shocker from the new book is that the Joker actually reveals what he looked like under his decaying facial skin. This is the first time readers see a clear, unobstructed view of Joker sans face. Capullo took gruesome references from real-life Mexican cartel victims.
I think it’s an obvious pick that Todd would choose that version of the Joker. As he just pointed out, [Joker has a] hamburger head, [Spawn has a] hamburger head. He writes a horror book, so of course, he’s gonna want the most horrific version of the Joker.
Of course, you have to take it up a notch by taking that skin off completely, which was disturbing because I had to Google images, and I went right to Mexican cartel kind of things because they can skin their victims and stuff.
So, I got to look at a lot of nice, grotesque photographs because you want to bridge that gap. Most people just take the musculature that you see from an anatomy book or something, and that’s how their skinless faces would look, but that’s not actually how it looks if you want to be correct.
The Surprise Ending
That’s not the only surprise in Batman/Spawn. The last page reveals that, unbeknownst to both heroes, Martha Wayne and Wanda Simmons are both resurrected. However, the twist is that Martha is in the Spawn universe and Wanda is in the DC universe. Why go to such lengths to bring back these two characters if our protagonists are not even aware of their existence? McFarlane dives deeper into the ending.
There’s stuff that spilled over on both sides, and now potentially, these characters (Martha and Wanda) are there, and each one of them (Batman and Spawn) is oblivious to it. It’s just another kind of torture [for] both of them.
They don’t even know they could be close to the person they care about the most, but they’re just on the other side of this dimensional fence now. Neither one of them even know. Even if they could get over the fence, they don’t even know it. It may seem like kind of a happy ending, but to me, it’s more of another torture for both these gentlemen who have been tortured plenty.
For more juicy details about Batman/Spawn, click on the full interview here. For Dark Knight News’ review, click here.
Batman/Spawn is now available at local comic book shops.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment