While the Willow series has been having it’s fair share of story problems, Victor Gischler and Paul Lee’s Spike series has been nothing but great. #5 sadly ends the series, and it ends on an emotionally satisfying note.
The plot in this series has always taken a back seat to the character development to Spike, and that’s a good thing. It ends on quite the zany note, but it’s quite fun. The ending to the Hellmouth plot end on an ok note. It’s a quick battle scene, and then that’s it. While it leaves the issue with plenty of room for Spike to figure himself out, it would have been better if Gischler had made the ending conclude more naturally. The entire arc has been out there, and quite fun, even with the lack luster ending. The sacrifice of the bugs is written well, and their departure of the series feels organic. With the series said and done, I would have liked some deeper development for the demon woman. She was likable, and as a reader, I would have loved to know more about her. If this series does well, maybe we can get another Spike centric series and she can come back.
Gischler has been using this series as Spike’s rebound from Buffy. But Gischler goes for a different angle by the end of the issue. Spike seems like he has healed but Buffy, but not fully. Too often we see characters go on a life changing adventure after a break up, and they are magically better. That’s not how real relationships work. And if the Buffyverse has done one thing right in it’s years of existence, it’s taking real world scenarios and making them work in a fantastical world. Gischler has made Spike more interesting now than he was at the beginning of the series. The bugs worked as the best friends who try to help their friend through the break up. This didn’t even occur to me until I reread the series before writing this review. Spike has shown that Victor Gishcler is a great Buffyverse writer. Dark Horse would do good to find a Buffy ongoing book to put him on.
Paul Lee’s pencils return to brilliance again this month. The past couple of months seemed slightly rushed, but the detailed and expressive pencils are back. The only criticism is the final page, where I couldn’t tell who Spike was talking too on the phone. I have an idea as to who it is, but Lee could have used a better picture of the actor base the character on. The crazy fight scene gave me a big smirk. The action flows very well, and the characters don’t suffer do to it. The problem with these types of books is making sure the characters look like the actor without making the rest of the character seem stiff. Speaking of that, Lee captures the spirit of James Marsters perfectly. His work on the character Spike has rivaled Rebekah Issacs work on Angel & Faith.
If your a fan of the character Spike, do yourself a favor and check out this series. The Buffy books have been on a role as of late, and Spike continues that.
Spike #5 gets 4/5.