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The Mangler

Spawn Series 7
by yo go re

So, is this a Spawn who's a wolf, or a wolf who's a Spawn?

The curse of Spawn reaches beyond the human world. Malebolgia, the leader of the Darklands, has recruited animals in his quest to build the ultimate army. Many animals, including the Mangler, a wolf in his previous life, have become excellent Spawns. They don't question their masters, and act to please without hesitation. Uniting his animal instincts with the power of a Spawn, the Mangler relies on his keen sense of smell to track down his prey and carries a barbaric sword to defend himself.

Before it turned into a sad joke, the Spawn line was one of the most innovative toylines around. When a new series came out, you never knew what kind of crazy new character they would have invented. Some of them were utter trash, sure (and no, we're not talking about The Heap), but some of them are goofy good fun!

The Mangler has apparently been distorted by Malebolgia's power - he's larger than any real wolf, and very skinny. Spike grown from his back, and his head is drawn and distended. His mouth is jam-packed with teeth, and he's got his flues pulled back to bare them all. The green eyes make it very clear that he's a hellspawn - they've got that whole "necroplasm" jazz going on.

Before McFarlane Toys began doing the R3 thing - "resculpted, repainted, revisited" - they managed to release every series twice by doing simple repaints. The first release of Mangler was dark grey, but I held out for the second version, which is a reddish brown. Why? Because he looked more like a werewolf to me. His claws, teeth and spikes are a nice "bone" color, and his teeth and front claws are bloody. Like most dogs, he has a black nose and a pink tongue. To mark his status as a knight in Satan's Malebolgia's service, he's got the same (\/) logo on his chest and patches around his eyes that Spawns always have - they're painted darker than the rest of his fur, to better stand out.

As mentioned, Mangler is very lean and lanky. There's a large tuft of (sculpted) fur on his chest, which makes it look larger, but overall he's scrawnier than Wile E. Coyote. The logo on his chest is sculpted like scar tissue, and there's a typically "Spawn-y" skull stamped on his right flank. The way his fur is sculpted is very blocky, rather than organic. It's possible that's the sign of a so-so sculpt, but we choose to interpret it in a more positive light: in Spawn's world, cloth looks more like folded paper, so why should fur necessarily look like fur?

Mangler is posed hunched over, and his legs are done in a permanent squat - his only leg joints are at the hips. This causes some real problems, however. For whatever reason, his right foot ended up being half an inch higher than his left foot. It may not sound like much, but half an inch on a figure that tops out at 7½" tall is a huge difference. I've tried repeatedly to even out the legs with boiling water, but no luck so far. Other than the hips, he has swivels at the tail, wrists, shoulders and neck, and hinges at the elbows and jaw. Thanks to his inexplicably warped legs, he won't stand without help.

Fortunately, he does have some help. Rather than the "barbaric sword" the filecard claimed, he comes with a wooden branch with some metal blades sticking out of one end, and a gnarled claw at the other. The "claw" part grips the other accessory, a horned skull with an eye still in its socket. There's a peg on the spear and a hole in his right hand, because that's the only way his loose hands would be able to hold the damn thing.

Although he was created for the toyline, Mangler did eventually make it into the comics. Shadows of Spawn, an officially licensed serial that appeared in the Japanese shonen magazine Monthly Dengeki Comic Gao! between 1998 and 1999, introduced four new Spawns, three of which were based on ones seen in the toyline: Zombie Spawn, She-Spawn, and Mangler. He's a canon immigrant! Obviously I bought him because he's a wolf-man (which is also why he spent a decade in the anthro box), and he was okay for his time, but Mangler is really showing his age.

-- 10/02/13

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