The Buffy writing staff has been trying to cure Spike of his Buffy-love and let him stand on his own for some time now. Angel Season 5 moved the bar a bit. Brian Lynch’s time with the platinum blonde vamp in comic form also proved to help him step out of the shadows and into a leading man role. Still, despite these advancements, Spike’s slayer-shaped heartache is still around. Well, blondie bear is back at it again, with writer Victor Gischler taking the vamp with a soul – version 2.0 on a cosmic quest to tackle his demons.
Here’s a quick summary of Issue #1:
This issue opens with Spike and his bug crew traveling to the dark . . . er . . . the sort of dark side of the moon, so that the blonde vampire can properly get his brood on. Worried about his negative mood, the bug crew (lead by Sebastian) decides it’s time to act!
Moving their ship to the sunny side of the moon, the bugs surprise their nocturnal master with the revelation that the ship has been equipped recently with necrotempered glass, making it perfect for vampire sunbathing in the ship’s solarium.
While Spike does manage to relax for a short while, he quickly remembers how it’s all a facade while he doesn’t have Buffy’s love; there is no paradise for him other than her. Luckily, a weird frog-demon creature shows up and takes his mind off his beloved by chomping on the ship. The creature soon finds its way onto the ship, and Spike and his bug crew attempt to deal with the situation. Just when they get the upper hand, a gang of demon types shows up, knocking Spike unconcious and taking over the bug crew and their ship. Next stop: jettisoning the dead weight (Spike!).
Spike’s a space pirate. With a bug crew! As odd-ball as it sounds, this setting continues to be bizarrely perfect for the ensouled vamp! This first issue is only a taste of the whole, so it’s too early to judge the end impact of this story, but it’s nice to finally see Spike off on one of the cosmic adventures only hinted at in the previous appearances by Spike and his bug crew. I’m eager to see what Gischler has in store. Special mention should be made of the art team of Paul Lee (pencils), Andy Owens (inks), and Cris Peter (colors) for giving the book a unique feel from the other Buffy-verse books.
Jenny Frison did a cover! And, it rules, as expected. Dark Horse made a smart move by bringing over this former IDW Angel cover artist to the Dark (Horse) side. Now, how about Brian Lynch?
Haven’t we seen this before . . . a few hundred times? The cliffhanger ending to this issue is very typical . . . and frankly boring. A group of demons knocks Spike out and promises to kill him. Let’s guess how this will turn out in the next issue . . .
Anyway, let’s give Gischler the benefit of the doubt and assume this is merely a means to an end in a larger, more unique plot that will be revealed in later issues.
The Ugly (Fan Buzz, that is . . . )
Fan reaction has been slightly split on this issue, but most fans are leaning towards the positive, with good reviews coming from BAMFAS and Comics Grinder.
Bug issues. There are a number of readers who still have an issue with Spike’s bug crew. Apparently, Buffy’s robots, demons, and ensouled vampires fly for them, but not space bugs. Go figure.
That wraps up this review, Scoobies! Until the next issue, keep the Pink Floyd playing . . .
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer