ADVANCE Review: Spike: Into the Light
After a successful miniseries with Spike during Season 9, it’s a no brainer that Spike would get his own story again. But this time around, we have Spike himself, James Marsters, writing. The end product is a mixed bag that could have used an extra writer.
The story takes place between Seasons 6 and 7, when Spike is a proud owner of a soul. He’s rethinking what is right and wrong and how he feeds these days. Into the Light would have been a great chance to explore his newfound conundrum but instead the entire hardcover is scatterbrained. Marsters starts up a few plot threads but can’t seem to focus on one long enough for it to develop into something substantial. There is a girl, but she doesn’t get enough characterization to be memorable at all. Spike robbed a store and tries to get the money back but the ending is anticlimactic. Also there is a demon who seems to love stealing children, but his motivation is weak which leads to another anticlimactic ending. I like the idea of Dark Horse using past Buffy actors to help write these stories, but they need a veteran comic writer to help them develop their ideas and translate them onto the page. If Spike ever joined Angel & Faith, I’d love to see Marsters join Victor Gischler on the writing duties (Gischler has actually met Marsters before). Into the Light also suffers from being a tad short. Doubling the page count would have given Marsters more room to develop the plot threads into something worthwhile.
But there is one thing that Marsters does well though, and that is write Spike. He balances the humor and brooding well that keeps this hardcover afloat. Marsters slips back into the Spike role well while also building on the character in a way that has made the comics successful. I would have liked to see Marsters tackle Spike post Season 9 though. Spike is a much different character now and current Spike would have given him more room to breathe character development. Spike needs to be the person we see at the beginning of Season 7 and can’t stray far form that. The boot storyline, while simple, was a great addition to show how superficial Spike can be sometimes.
Derlis Santacruz pencils some phenomenal artwork in Into the Light. Spike looked like James Marsters in every panel, something that is a necessity in comics like these. The demon has a traditional, but great look that was just creepy enough. The few fights flowed well minus a panel or two where the transition was a little rough. Santacruz would be a great backup for Angel & Faith. One thing that I noticed as an error was the inclusion of a t-shirt that says “Little Miss Sunshine.” The movie came out in 2006, but the in between time far Season 6 and 7 of Buffy was in 2002. Unless I’m missing another reference to the words Little Miss Sunshine. Andy Owens inks are superb, with Spike’s dangerous cheek bones indented just enough. Dan Jackson’s colors are just plain pretty. The neon in particular added some great reflections but did notice the neon suddenly appearing then disappearing.
As with any collected edition or hardcover, there have to be extras. Included are a few test pages from Santacruz, that further show he would be a great back up for Angel & Faith. There are some demos for the demon, but nothing to change your mind if you’re on the fence for buying this book.
Spike: Into the Light gets 3/5.
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