Comic Book Review: Spike #1
Spike #1 Review
Victor Gischler has recently written both vampire revival stories in comics (the X-Men’s Curse of the Mutants story) and superhumans in space (Deadpool Corps) which makes him a natural choice for Spike’s four issue run. The character has been through a lot of weird ups and downs over the years. One Angel went off the air, Spike and the rest of the gang were all left in limbo until IDW picked up the character rights. In his time there, Spike had his own set of adventures happening in parallel to Buffy season 8. He was trapped in an insane asylum for demons, he made new friends and enemies, he tore up Las Vegas trying to keep Wolfram and Hart from gaining a foothold, and helped Angel and his team bring back Los Angeles from the hell they inadvertently unleashed at the end of season 5. His rewards for his new champion status? Spike was recast as a woman and love interest for Angel in the fictional film adaptation when L.A. was restored and became the captain of an extra-dimensional ship with a crew of sentient cockroach workers. Strange days, indeed.
Spike’s mysterious new ship was the very same that showed up towards the end of Buffy Season 8. While Spike got to be the stalwart hero who came in to save the day, he and Buffy reached the awkward point of their partnership again in season 9. How can you really just work with someone you are in love with? While I think Spike makes a great supporting character in the Buffy books, both he (and Willow) leaving makes sense from a character standpoint. The Spike Gischler shows us in #1 isn’t the hard fighting, boozing, chain-smoking anti-hero we are accustomed to. Here we are shown Spike at his lowest and most depressed. He flees the life he’d been caught up in with Buffy to try to clear his head and find the next step in his journey. The problem is, with a broken heart it’s hard to be motivated to do anything. Under Gischler’s hand we also see that the bug crew are growing to be more individuals with a capacity for critical thinking and even a range of opinions and emotions. This is great in the long run, since Spike is the only recognizable character in the book, he has to have some supporting cast to lean on and learn from.
This issue also introduces something we hadn’t yet seen in the Buffyverse: aliens. The bugs were an intro to this, but i was unsure if it meant there were other alien races out in the universe. We’ve seen or been informed of multiple dimensions before: Pylea, Quor’toh, Buffy’s Heavenly Paradise and Cordelia’s higher realm of ascendance. The crew that jumps Spike towards the end of the issue need his ship, meaning the have to travel to elsewhere in the universe. They also seem acutely aware of vampires, meaning vampirism must exist elsewhere or they have been trapped close to earth for too long. Either way with mystical travel between dimensions all but impossible, it’s a great way to introduce new and different characters we’ve never seen before. I don’t know where Spike will be at the end of these for issues and when they finish I hope to see him join the cast of Angel & Faith rather than rejoin Buffy.