Todd McFarlane continues to drop little Spawn nuggets on us with random modern releases of the character in different forms. We had two Color Tops a couple years ago. He popped up in MK 11 and had several releases there. A 12 inch MK 11 Commando Spawn has been shown. Let’s not forget the Spawn Remastered Kickstarter. Now, out of the blue, Mandarin Spawn has returned, with his first release as a Walmart exclusive Gold Label figure. This is a re-imagining of the original figure, who made his first appearance in Spawn #165 via a one shot. It tells a brutal story of a deformed man being treated horribly in ancient China, given the chance to make a deal with the devil, dies and comes back to get his revenge.
So, today we have a look at the original Mandarin Spawn figure from 1999, and the new 2021 Walmart exclusive version. I have a running vintage Spawn shelf going here and figured why not, so I picked up the original version on eBay so I could compare the two. Cracked it fresh 20 years later. There is a mass release for the new version coming in the traditional red color scheme, but it’s first release is the blue seen here.
Read on to check out shots for both the OG and 2021 versions after the break, along with some quick thoughts, courtesy of McFaralne Toys!
Mandarin Spawn – 2021 Walmart Exclusive Gold Label Edition
Articulation yay! The original Mandarin Spawn was a real beauty of a figure. The paint on this guy is insane by today’s standards for a mass release figure. Head to toe paint and tons of fine applications all over. It however did not have a ton of articulation, McFarlane style for the time. Simple hip cuts, shoulder cuts, one elbow,one wrist and a bit on the head. It was a slightly poseable statue. Fast forward 20 years and we get some articulation, but a bit less detailed paint. The new version has most modern articulation points – neck, full range shoulders, elbows, wrists. Torso and waist cuts, full range hips, double jointed knees, and even some forward/back in the feet. The front sash is a firm plastic so it limits leg posing a bit, but still better than the 99 version which had useless articulation in the legs. My only suggestion here would be some rocker ankles for the feet, so they can rest flush on the ground when the legs are posed dynamically – and a bit softer front sash so that those poses can be done without a firm bend.
Sculpt is inspired by the original, but not exact. The shoulder spike has switched sides. Each part featuring ornate faces, masks and art from Chinese lore is new but still there. If you go over it inch by inch it has the same design elements in the same places but done slightly differently. Plus articulation. Weapons are different this go around, we have two ornate bladed weapons that do not combine, and that’s it. The original had two swords, a sheath, a shield, plus dual ended blades that “connect to make a 12 inch weapon” ! The new blades are well designed and kick ass on their own.
Overall, it’s a solid update to the original, and I look forward to the original deco coming out, along with several others. McFarlane did this guy up in some pretty bad ass color schemes back in the day (see here) so any of those would be welcome now. Since repaints are a thing with this guy, I don’t mind this blue version in the mix, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. Original Scarlett Edge or the black repaint are winners.
Mandarin Spawn Original 01