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Sam & Twitch

Spawn
by yo go re

Sam Burke and his long-time partner, Maximillian Williams III (aka. Twitch), are two seasoned Detectives from the NYPD Homicide Division. Their work on the city's more esoteric and bizarre cases eventually led them to the Hellspawn known as Al Simmons. An uneasy alliance was formed as both sides attempted to do what was right for the denizens of Rat City.

Sam and Twitch appeared in the first issue of Spawn, and have remained a big part of the book ever since. That's 30 years, and yet this is only the third time they pair has had any action figures. (Well, third-and-a-half; the first set came out in 1997, that period when McToys' did re-releases that were extensive repaints and often had some sculptural changes, as well.)

This is definitely the best set of toys the partners have ever had. Obviously there's going to be a big gap between 1997 toys and 2022 toys, but the release in-between was in one of those "Art of Spawn" series, meaning solid lumps of plastic with stylized paint. This is the first time we're getting toys that are up to the standards of everything around them.

Sam really seems to have gotten his life together. When he first appeared in the comics, he was a big guy, but not especially fat - if you look at his previous two toys, though, they're both absolute lardos. This one has trimmed down to fighting weight, but remains an absolute unit. The old ones look like they could beat you in a pie eating contest; this one looks like he could beat you straight through a brick wall with his bare fists. He's stylized, but definitely grumpy.

He's wearing his big black trenchcoat, a button-up shirt, short necktie, and what appear to be tweed pants. There's a pistol holstered on his chest, but it's not a removable piece. His only actual accessory is a Tommy gun, because apparently he's fighting Al Capone in the 1930s? Only his right hand is open (the left is a solid fist), so that limits how he can hold the gun. All the articulation is the normal stuff we get from McFarlane now, but the elbows were ridiculously stiff.

Nebbishly little Twitch is looking utterly rumpled here. He's usually the more composed of the pair, since he's the one with a wife and a family to look after him, but maybe this is one of the times when they're separated? After all, cop families in stories only exist to fall victim to crime or to have domestic strife. And then when one is finished, the other.

Say what you will about him, Twitch has never been a colorful character - lots of earthtones, yes? He's browner than a Thanksgiving dinner. Brown overcoat, clay necktie, tan shirt, and pants that are a dark green, yes, but somehow still manage to look as brown as the rest of him. Buy something bright, you dour little man! It will make you feel more cheerful!

Despite just being in the general toyline, the design of both Sam and Twitch still owes a lot to the art of Ashley Wood - not as much as the Series 25 figures, obviously, but enough that they'd look like one of Wood's covers for their comic series if you threw the toys under a strong, direct light and a little bit of smoke. Twitch's head is shaped like a triangle, with wide curly hair and a narrow chin, and although there are eyes sculpted behind his glasses, the specs aren't removable.

Like Sam, Twitch is well-articulated: hinged toes, swivel/hinge/swivel ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, balljointed waist, balljointed chest, s/h/s wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/​hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head, though his joints don't have the extreme stiffness of his partner's. His accessories are a pair of silver revolvers, even longer versions of the "Dirty Harry" Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, because the thing that really bonds these two as partners and friends is their mutual love of iconic-yet-amusingly-outdated firearms.

The first Sam and Twitch figures were overshadowed by the other figures in their own line; the second were released when McToys was getting real, real bad; so at last, these long-time supporting characters have toys that befit their status.

-- 11/27/22


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