Al Simmons was a highly decorated member of the Secret Service (notably saving the President in an attempted assassination) and the CIA. After being murdered in a foreign country by his superior Jason Wynn, Simmons is sent to hell because of his life as an assassin. Making a deal with the devil, Simmons agrees to become a Hellspawn and serve Malebolgia if he is allowed to see his wife, Wanda, one last time. Malebolgia returns Simmons to the living realm, but with only the barest of memory, a badly burned body, and a watch dog, the Clown. Simmons is unaware that five years have passed. His wife has married his best friend, Terry Fitzgerald, and the two have a daughter, Cyan.
His life over, Simmons has two choices before him: follow Malebolgia, or renounce the devil. The two choices come in the form of Clown, a diminutive, portly, disgusting minor demon (who can transform into the huge, fanged, clawed Violator), and Cogliostro (Cog), an apparently homeless old man who knows more about Simmons (whom both call Spawn) and his situation than even he knows.
After many fights involving minions of Heaven and Hell, criminals of Earth, and common street scum, Spawn eventually kills Malebolgia but refuses the throne of Hell. Upon returning to Earth, Spawn discovers he has new powers, but must quickly learn to use them, engaging in battles against Clown, Jason Wynn, and even himself. A new evil named Mammon soon made his presence known, and although he was previously thought to be a background character it has become evident that Mammon is much more important, and more powerful, than anything Spawn has ever faced.
Powers & Abilities
Spawn's body is quite dense, weighing over four hundred pounds, and is composed completely of necroplasm. This gives him super strength and durability. While he still has internal organs, they are non-functional, and their damage/destruction does not hinder Spawn in the least. These organs re-appear when he magically regenerates his wounds. This may be due to Spawn's inability to let go of his human self, retaining his human organs even though he no longer requires them.
Spawn wears a living symbiotic costume. His cape, spikes, chains, and skulls are all part of one organism that will protect Spawn even if he is unconscious. Violator once said the suits feed on souls. The true source of the costume is the necroplasm in Spawn's body, which it feeds off of. It is possible for Spawn to draw this energy back when he needs it, using it to power his abilities without draining his own reserves. The costume can also feed off evil energy from the physical world, feeding off the ambient evil of people, animals (mainly carrion insects, but also wolves and bats) and even certain parts of the city.
Spawn has vast magical powers. In the issues before issue #50, Spawn had a limited power supply or "9999". Each time Spawn used his energy, the counter would drain. Because of this reason, he relied primarily on his costume's natural abilities in fights. Other than the counter, the only limit was Spawn's imagination. Though he always tried not to expend a lot of magic, he has been shown using it for a variety of effects including resurrecting the dead, firing blasts of necroplasmic energy, teleportation, shapeshifting, and curing the sick.
Spawn has an ability to "feel" or "sense" misery. He is aware, even subconsciously when someone is attacked or murdered. Spawn typically travels in the shadows, even "flying" on occasion. He is often described as notoriously difficult to spot, often only caught out of the corner of one's eye as just a streak of red (his cape). Recently, Spawn has taken every other HellSpawn into himself and with the help of a young Spawn (Christopher), he is able to summon them for aid.
Spawn still retains the military training and weapons expertise from his days as a soldier and thus frequently uses guns as an alternative to his magic.