One thing that I’ve really enjoyed about Williams’ writing is that he is fond of referencing things that have appeared on the Buffy & Angel television shows. In the first issue, "Spike" recognizes the villains as members of the "Order of Aurelius," the vampire blood line containing "The Master," "Darla," "Angel," and "Drusilla," among others. Williams continues his nods to the show and its fanboys by adding mini-Hellmouth openings in this issue, as well as a peek at an alternate version of "The Master’s" blood harvesting factory from the Buffy episode, “The Wish.” Williams also ends the issue with a nod to Angel season five by introducing “Duchess,” a female relative of the late "Archduke Sebasiss." Apparently, she’s looking to mend the broken “Circle of the Black Thorn.” Artist Chris Cross continues to add significiant energy to the comic with his high octane art and fight scenes. With Williams’ sharp dialogue and the electrifying art, Spike: The Devil You Know rises from being a possibly forgettable Spike one shot and boosts it to being a worthy lead into Brian Lynch’s upcoming Spike series.
The third issue, which was released last week, continues the story of "Spike" and "Eddie." Williams throws in more nods to the televison show, like when "Tansy Fry," one of the vamp villains from the "Order of Aurelius," demands the “forge of Amara” in exchange for her Hellmouth opening services. One can only assume that this artifact has similar powers to the “gem of Amara” from Buffy season four, which allowed vamps to walk in the day time and survive being staked. Three issues in, Williams has also done a great job by making "Eddie Hope" a charismatic and appropriate partner for "Spike." The two have an emerging, brotherly relationship with plenty of jabs and zingers thrown in for good measure. From what I understand, "Eddie" will be joining "Spike’s" team during Lynch’s upcoming Spike series, and I’m looking forward to seeing him again. If there’s anything off about this issue, it’s the art. Honestly, it’s not a biggie, but for some reason it appears way more cartoony than the previous issue. Initially, I thought IDW had switched the artist, but Chris Cross is still credited as the penciller; I’m not sure why there’s such a change in style. The switch in the look of the comic might be jarring, but the art still works with the story, especially in panels like the one below where Cross has an extremely impressive ability to get real emotion on his characters’ faces.
There’s still more road to ride with "Eddie" and "Spike," so make sure to pick these two issues up and keep an eye out for issue four coming next month.
‘Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer