The end of Spike’s miniseries is getting closer, and the plot starts to inch towards an ending. But the issue suffers for this, as the subtle plot developments are thrown out in favor for fast paced plot developments. But it’s still an enjoyable issue.
The good is, while the issue is slightly subpar, it’s still a fun issue. The bugs have plenty of humor. Thankfully the humor hasn’t been over the top slapstick, which would have been quite annoying. Instead, Victor Gischler plays the humor off their personalities, which readers have come to like. Besides Sebastian, every bug was interchangeable before this series. Spike matures as well. I was surprised that Spike refused to have sex with the Demon Woman, and it showed how much Buffy has made Spike a better person. A writer can always talk about how much someone has improved, but showing the reader always sells the point more. His maturity feels natural, and doesn’t just pop up because of this woman. He’s going through something, but slowly getting better. After this series, I’ll be excited to see how Spike reacts around Buffy again.
Gischler has written the Demon Woman as a very successful succubus. The reader knew what she did, but it was clear she might be the highest class of succubus. In #4, she goes from subtlety to throwing herself at Spike. The ending from the confrontation is enjoyable, but the lead up left something to be desired. The slow pace of plot has worked in the series favor, but with #5 being the final issue, it seems like Gischler realized the plot needs to get moving. So for the last few pages, it’s one plot development after another, which leaves the reader a little dizzy. But amongst the numerous plot developments, the idea that Hellmouth’s are hidden out in the open is a great idea. It’s one that other Buffy writers should tackle in upcoming issues and series.
Paul Lee’s artwork has been solid during this series, but he delivers a sub par issue this time around. The Demon Woman changes from human to demon numerous times, but I’m not sure if that’s on purpose or not. Lee pencils more action scenes than the last few issues, which are not his strong suit. The talking only scenes look good, as they have the entire miniseries. But the characters seems stiff and action figure like in their poses. The facial features seem a tad rushed, but Spike still looks like James Marstons, so it’s all good in the end. Most of the problems pop up near the end of the issue. The first half looks as great as it did the first three issues. I’m not sure what happened. Andy Owns continues to ink the issues well. There are some great shadows in this issue, giving Spike a dark look we haven’t seen since Buffy was on TV. Cris Peter’s colors have also been top notch.
Spike #4 is has a few hiccups that keeps it from being a great as the past few issues. But with the ending coming up, the creative team will no doubt get back on track.
Spike #4 gets 3.5/5.