Dark Horse Comics continues to deliver Buffy goodness with Spike’s own comic! There is something joyful in that, don’t you think? The guy has charisma, a perfect story to tell, and he’s got that blimp with an army of human-sized bugs that all think they’re C-3PO.
First off, Spike can definitley carry his own title. He’s full of swagger no doubt and, in this ish, it’s brooding swagger. As the title of this five-part story suggests, Spike has gone to, “A Dark Place.” It’s quite a familiar place. If you’ve ever had your heart torn apart from a failed romance, there’s literally nothing that will pull you out of that funk until you’re good and ready. At the time, it seems you may never pull it together. Friends begin to worry. But Spike has no friends. If he did, it would make it a little easier for him. What he does have is his faithful army of bugs and they can think for themselves, up to a point, and they know their master is lost at sea. That’s not good for him or his crew.
Spike gave orders to land his blimp/rockeship on the dark side of the moon. The bugs carried out his orders. Then they pondered over what they had done. They observed that their supreme leader was obsessively brooding, excessively drinkly, and repressively insulting his loyal minions. Sebastian, Elizabeth, and the rest of the bug crew, conclude that this can not stand! Enough! What happens next is a hilarious remedy cooked up by the bugs. It actually helps for a little while until Spike has to go all macho negative on it. The remedy is a play on dark and light and, in the end, it puts Spike off because it comes across as too easy to enjoy. The guy just thinks too much!
Now, think back to the last time we saw Spike with Buffy. Quite a heartbreaker. What did he say? Oh, yeah: “I don’t want to be the dark place you run to when things aren’t working.” Writer Victor Gischler, along with editors Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn, work with that idea wonderfully in this story. Is it possible to bring some light into Spike’s world? Yes, Buffy is proof of that. Do opposites attract? Yes! So, now what? Only his bugs, as best as they’re able, can try to talk some sense into him. They’re not saying Buffy is or isn’t the answer. They just want him to lighten up!
This issue to a pleasure. The art is tops. Paul Lee on inks. Andy Owens on pencils. Cris Peters on colors. Cover art by Jenny Frison. Alternative cover art by Steve Norris. It all adds up quite well. The color scheme is very inviting, playing off the interiors of the blimp and its crew with earth tones and greens. We are easily swept up by the narrative with bold and smooth artwork. It looks very effortless, very in tune with the story. I don’t think I would ever tire of views from inside that blimp! And those bugs are amazing.
But, there is a big “meanwhile” story going on. You didn’t think that Spike would be left to have some quiet time for feeling sorry for himself did you? Oh no, if it’s not one thing, then it’s another. Didn’t you know there’s life on the moon?
“Spike” comes out August 22. Visit Dark Horse Comics.