Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike #1 – Comic Review
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Title: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike #1
Writer: Victor Gischler (X-men, Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth)
Penciler: Paul Lee (Predators, Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
Inker: Andy Owens (Dollhouse, Nightwing)
Colorist: Cris Peter (FF, Casanova)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Number of Issues: 1 (Limited Series)
Page Count: 32
The Review Bit
I have something of a bias to admit before writing this review. I am a huge fan of Spike, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m not sure if it is the dreamy-ness of James Marsters or the sheer cool factor that comes from a smoking, drinking, English vampire with Billy Idol hair, but he’s always been a favorite of mine. So while I was happy that Dark Horse had re-acquired Spike when it regained the Angel license, I was a little worried considering how nicely IDW had spoiled me with Spike mini-series after Spike mini-series. Well thankfully Dark Horse knows just what I want and has brought us a brand new Spike mini-series. Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike #1 spins directly out of issue #10 of Dark Horse’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9. If you haven’t already, check it out, we even gave a nice little preview of the new series earlier this week.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike #1 follows Spike directly after he left Buffy in her book’s tenth issue. Having finally given up on always being the Slayer’s only-in-desperate-circumstances fallback guy, Spike leaves his love for a place of brooding. Along with his army of cockroach aliens, Spike takes his spaceship to the dark side of the moon for a little bit of drinking and mourning. Now if you’re a fan of Spike but are lost already, you might want to go read Buffy season 9, perhaps Buffy season 8, and Spike volume 2 from IDW. However, if you already know about Spike and his aliens, or can just wrap you head around the vampire joining the crew of an alien cruiser filled with beings that worship and serve him, this can be an okay jumping on point for Spike fans.
While on the moon, Spike laments about his lost Buffy and how he seems to never find the love he is searching for. Thankfully, his loyal crew of bugs can’t handle their majestic leader being so lost in the darkness and take steps to rectify this. There solution is surprisingly not the coup one might expect, but rather the creation of a fake beach scene they stole from a Corona ad, that allows their vampiric captain to sunbathe for the first time in 140 years. Sadly this doesn’t bring Spike the peace he desires, but while he’s enjoying the attempt at relaxation, moon bandits attack his ship. Okay, maybe not moon bandits, but some form of big baddies that have been stranded on the moon with a giant alien frog that likes to eat cockroach looking aliens.
The conflict of this issue doesn’t appear until the latter third of the book, leaving much of the early part a recap of Spikes tormented feelings after he chose to leave a woman who wouldn’t love him back. It is hardly the most exciting opening issue, but it has its funny moments and wee bit of action towards the end. The writer, Victor Gischler, already has a fair amount of vampire-related comics under his belt thanks to some Dracula stories in recent Marvel titles, but has no problem playing with the Buffy-verse rules of blood suckers and emotional drama. He seems to capture the voice of Spike rather decently, even referencing one of the few things Spike enjoys in this world, Manchester United. However, while the dialogue is well captured the story runs a little slow and doesn’t give us the most ideal jumping on point for fans who might not have kept up with Buffy season 9. A little more sex and/or violence could have definitely aided this Spike story.
On the art end we have pencils by Paul Lee, who is no stranger to the Buffy-verse, having drawn, and even written, a few Buffy titles at Dark Horse dating back to 12 years ago. Lee does a good job of capturing Spike’s visage in comic form, and giving the character a particularly more James Marsters style appearance than many of the IDW artists ever did. It is nothing particularly extraordinary, but it certainly keeps with the Dark Horse Buffy look and provides us with some new, Whedon-esque looking aliens. Andy Owens, the veteran comic inker that he is, has no problem providing some good line work and simple shading to the book over Lee. So this leaves our colorist, Cris Peter, who provides some fairly straight forward color to the book. Peter’s colors don’t pop, but there is nothing really wrong with them, as they particularly fit the gloomy mood and dark atmosphere existing in this vampire title. All in all, Lee, Owens, and Peter make a fairly solid art team that can’t really be complained about.
The Rating Bit
Spike #1 is a good book that fans of the character or Buffy-verse will undoubtedly enjoy. It is not a great book, or anything groundbreaking with the character, nor does it come off as a must read. Yet Spike #1 does provide a fun and decent story, with good art, earning it a moderate 6 out of 10. This might just be a mini-series best left for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that aren’t getting enough brooding and vampire action in the series’ main title.
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