The Buffy-verse has been consistently great during season nine, and the first big spin off can be officially stamped a success.  Spike #3 is the transition issue for the series, and undeniably strong.

Spike #3 is all about the history between Pearl, Nash, and Spike.  It’s a quick shot, but it speaks a lot about Spike as a character.  He’s a troubled guy who is still trying to seek redemption, one quip at a time.  It’s nothing completely new for the character, but Victor Gischler writes it very well.  The new female character, still unnamed, is a nice foil for Spike.  I would like some deeper explanation for who she is, but we still have two issues to go.  Speaking of back story, it’s nice to finally have some deeper back story for Pearl and Nash.  They haven’t been in Angel & Faith that often, and could use it.  The Buffy-verse lends itself to great villains, as long as they have some connection to the hero.  This new connection will go along way to keeping them around for some time.  I’m liking the way that Gischler has been writing less references to Buffy.  The entire series is about Spike trying to be a good person away from Buffy.  References to Buffy have been slowly decreasing to just a slight mention in conversation.  But Gischler stays away from having the unnamed female character be the stereotypical “rebound girl.” Think Martha Jones in Doctor Who.

Spike is a difficult character to write for.  He’s like Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean; if he’s the main character, the story can go awry.  They need someone to react off of, and be the best supporting character.  Now, these types of characters can support their own stories, but it needs to be the right type of story.  One like this series, where the main character is going along for the ride, and not out to do something himself.  This then gives him the ability to react off of the situation instead of other characters.  The Bugs have been good for some levity, but they don’t become the slapstick punching bags from Spike.

Paul Lee’s pencils continue to shine.  They have a simple quality to them, but that’s all you need in a talking head book.  There is minimal action, and there in lies the only mark against the book.  The action is stiff, and the lack of backgrounds makes it a little hard to discern where everyone is in the room.  Butt it’s a small gripe, and one that shouldn’t keep you from buying this book.  Facial expressions are full, with the bumpy faces of Spike and Drusilla benefitting the most.  Sometimes it’s hard for a penciler The Buffy family of books have had a lot of luck recently with nabbing great artists.

Spike is a great series for Buffyverse fans, which continues to be one of the strongest franchises in comics.

Spike #3 gets 4/5.

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