Spike has always been a fan favorite of the Buffy universe. But he’s always been a character who works better when others are around. He is the sense of reason, and funny bone of any group he joins. So what happens when he goes on an adventure by himself? A great issue.
Victor Gischler (Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth, X-Men), writes a well-balanced issue. Spike has a lot of things to work through, which seems to be the plan for this mini-series. But it’s not all sad, as there is plenty of humor. Most of it comes from the bug minions that have been following Spike since Season 8. They toe the line of likable and annoying, which is the perfect balance for them. Most writers have languished in the annoying side, making them scapegoats for Spike’s rage instead of adding anything to the story. But one simple act makes them very sympathetic. The villains of the mini-series aren’t defined very well, but it’s not as big of an issue. Gischler has said before that he is a Spike fanboy, and that level of devotion is clear in the writing. I could hear James Martsters, the actor who played Spike, saying the lines in my head. The British dialogue can be a little over done, but doesn’t break the issue.
Gischler does the right thing in focusing more on Spike and everything he has been through the past couple of seasons. These monologue scenes are written well, and long time fans will find these scenes the most interesting. Spike has always given advice to anyone in earshot, but it’s strange to see him analyze himself. Spike is going through a hard break up, and it taking it the only way Spike would. This season has seen some of the biggest steps in character development since he got his soul back. Spike is more relatable than usual, since we have all felt the same after a break up. What left me with a smile after the issue though was how balanced the issue was. It’s downright depressing, then gave me a hard chuckle. Even with mini-series, the #1 needs to catch up fans that haven’t been reading the main book. Spike #1 does that well, with Spike going over everything in his monologue. The dialogue works it in well, without boring long time fans.
I’m not familiar with Paul Lee’s pencils, but he has certainly left an impression after the first issue. The majority of this issue is internal monologue, and Lee handles it well. He has Spike make small facial movements to match the thoughts, that I’m surprised more pencilers don’t do. While the artists on Buffy have been having trouble matching the look of the stars who originally played the characters, Lee nails the look of Spike. He looks exactly like James Martsters. Lee has the comedic timing needed for a book like this. The quick action scenes look great, and the monster designs giving the book a different feel than the rest of the Buffy books. Paul Lee has suddenly become a penciler to put on my watch list.
Spike #1 gets 4/5.
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