Reviews

Spike #2 A Dark Place A Surprisingly Poignant Read

Frison’s cover

Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9, Spike #2 is quite a roller coaster read.

 “After parting ways with the love of his life, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike has taken himself far away from San Francisco.  He can’t just be Buffy’s only-in-desperate-circumstances fallback guy. His way of coping with the endless heartbreak? Head to the dark side of the moon in a spaceship filled with human-sized bugs, drown his sorrows in a bottle of booze, and avoid any trouble…Although that can only work for so long…”

In issue one, we saw Spike finally realize he needed to be away from Buffy for his own peace of mind, and we saw him go away with giant bug people/aliens. But now, Spike and his bug friends have been overtaken by other aliens- giant frog/fish aliens who hold Spike captive. The frog/fish aliens need remnants that may still contain some shreds of magic from The Seed that was left in Sunnydale. Who better to help them out than former Sunnydale resident baddie Spike.  Spike wheels and deals with the frog/fish, but the story’s surprise may be on everyone.

In a nutshell, there are some ugly space creatures and handsome Spike. The frog/fish aliens are so fun to see snipe at Spike. Spike (or really, James Marsters) is drawn expertly. His facial expressions are so lifelike it’s cool but also kind of creepy.  Spike’s snark just oozes off the page. Also, it’s a lot of fun to see giant bugs be noble and have names like “Frisky”.

However, the issue is not just gross aliens and fun. It’s a rollercoaster of nonsense and reverence.  Sure he’s with giant bugs on a trippy space ride, but Spike is having a dark night of the soul. Spike’s moral compass never pointed to good, always more what was best for Spike, so even with a soul he is not the make amends sort that Angel is. Spike doesn’t make apologies for the vamp he is.  But we see Spike is learning to deal with a broken heart in a mature, responsible way.  He’s coming to grips with his past in Sunnydale, which ties into his past with Buffy. Spike also gets to be a bit noble.  It helps that he is involved with beings who do not know his past and who have put their faith in this wayward vamp.  Going back to the Hellmouth and reading Spike’s observations, this story is kind of a goodbye to Sunnydale for us fans too. Some of us never really thought sinking the town gave us any closure.

Spike #2 is good for Spike’s soul, and apparently the reader’s too.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9,  Spike#2  A Dark Place
September 19, 2012
Script: Victor Gischler
Pencils: Paul Lee
Inks: Andy Owes
Cover: Jenny Frison / alternate cover: Steve Morris
Letters: Richard Starkings
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Diamond code : JUL120048
Retail Price: $2.99

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8 Comments

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  • “Spike’s moral compass never pointed to good, always more what was best for Spike, so even with a soul he is not the make amends sort that Angel is.”

    It’s really hard to find individuals who professional review that actually know the character of the story they are reviewing. Spike, after getting a soul, had a very good moral compass which very much pointed to good. Spike only dealt with his guilt and past deeds in a different manner than Angel. Spike understood that he could not and would never be able to make any kind of amends for his past deeds. Instead he tried only to do what was right from then on, though sometimes failing.

    Without a soul, vampires do not have any moral compasses of any sort. To base Spike’s character purely on his shadow state is a disservice to the epic character and character arc in Buffy. The nuance of Spike’s character is wonderfully written and subtle. Reducing it to “Angel is better because he tries to make amends” is seriously missing the point of the characters and any further opinion dealing with the story of said character is further cast into doubt.

    Issue number 2 was a good read, but not because Spike is finally learning about his soul, which any shallow reading would produce, but because it raises questions on how Spike deals with his life and what home and family mean to him. it’s a different kind of soul searching than the one described here.

    This is a subpar opinion piece with a clearly biased read on the Spike character. While anyone can and should review to their pleasure, including sentences such as these should be considered carefully. As of now, I doubt I’ll return to read any further articles from this site.

    • Agree to disagree. I have been a Buffy fan from the beginning and Spike repeatedly has been selfish with and without a soul. He has done good and made the ultimate self sacrifice at the end of the tv run of Buffy, but still mostly acts out of what’s best for Spike generally. I’m happy someone is obviously a giant fan of the character.

      • I see, so dying to save the word was a selfish act was it? As was helping Buffy in the final battle against glory in season 5? Wow, who would have thunk it….:)

  • While I agree with some of what you say about this issue – very definitely that it’s a rollercoaster of nonsense. I disagree very much with your view of Spike, which strikes me as a very superficial reading of the character.

    There are many instances in both Buffy and Angel season 5 where Spike does the exact opposite of ‘what is best for Spike.’ You seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking that words matter more than deeds, for it’s certainly the case that Angel says he cares about making amends more, but debatable whether he actually does so. Spike, on the other hand, once ensouled, might claim not to care about atonement, but everything he actually does is on the side of good and a great deal of it not in his own interests at all.

    Most of all, I fail to see how dying heroically in the Hellmouth is ‘what’s good for Spike’, but it seems that doesn’t count somehow.

    Like the poster above, I won’t be reading any more of these reviews. I would expect a more nuanced view of the character from a professional.

  • I’m glad you liked the issue, but like the other commenters I’m pretty tired of the sweeping “Spike was nothing but selfish” assumption. Usually this is applied to soulless Spike, and ignores that he withstood torture by Glory for the good of the good guys and hung around babysitting Dawn when all his romantic hopes were buried, among other things. That you apply the same oversimplification to souled Spike is laughably wide of the mark.

    The main selfish action Spike takes once he’s got a soul is the pleasure he takes in baiting Angel. Since Angel has a tendency to believe his own hype, I can’t really fault Spike for calling him on it.

  • Because mass murder is totally about making amends, right? I’ll take Spike’s mode of saying he’s selfish while always doing the right thing over Angel’s method of saying pretty words and constantly backsliding into evil (or being moronic enough to be tricked into it by a talking dog) any day

  • Angel and Spike were ensouled in two very different ways. While it was sudden for angel spike wrnt in with a firm aim to get it. Initially he was reduced to his former fragile human state but slowely he has tried to understand how to coexist with a soul. Unlike Angel who chases after redemption and is constantly misguided, Spike accept his monstrous past as a part of himself and moves on. Esssntially Spike obtained a soul to get Buffy’s love, but instead he came to undsrstand why Buffy didnt accept their liason. Yes Spike had been aligned to good a long time before being ensouled but he was able to embrace his humanity and moral compass only after it. Spike needed to find what his soul meant to him without Buffy being the endgame and that is why I hope thiz series accomplishes.

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