Spike #2

Out this Wednesday is the second issue of the newest Spike miniseries, this time from Dark Horse. (Which means it’s at least reasonably priced at $3.)

[Huge apologies — just realized that I got my weeks mixed up and this isn’t out until next week, September 19.]

Spike #2 variant cover

Variant cover by Steve Morris

Spike is my favorite Buffy cast member, but he’s a tricky one to handle. You want to keep him snarky, but without ignoring all the soulful character development that’s become part of his history. He’s not an obvious lead, because he’s easier to watch when he’s hanging back, commenting on what the others are doing. That makes him a difficult choice to headline a story, even a limited short-run one.

This Spike series takes the problem to the extreme by throwing Spike (and his spaceship full of bugs[1]) into a battle with aliens. Which, no offense, I hated. He’s all wisecracking and everything, but it reads like a bad mashup of Han Solo and when the Hitchhiker’s crew are being thrown out of the airlock by the Vogons. I want to see Spike with humans and vampires, not Predator wannabes.

Maybe that’s to come in the rest of the story, but there’s not a lot here to stick around for. The art is competent but not exciting. I’m also not impressed by the introduction of Morgan, a generic tough girl in skin-tight black zip unitard with heels and cocked hip. Anyone reading comics has seen her type too many times before. It’s not in keeping with the richer, more detailed portrayals of women in the Whedonverse.

Another thing about Spike that keeps readers coming back is that he has an immediately relatable motivation for much of the comic audience, since he’s in love with the girl he’ll never have. But to make this story stand-alone, there’s not much of that involved. The closest we get is the overwritten narration, an unintentional callback to bloody bad poet William. I should stick to my rule of Spike comics: only read the ones by Brian Lynch. He’s the only one who gets the voice and the plot right, in my opinion.

[1] As I asked about here, this summer I found out where the insects and their ships came from. They’re in the Spike: Complete Series collection, although they come in late and feel a bit like a “what the heck, I’ll throw in this random concept” writer’s whim. So even Lynch isn’t perfect. But most of the time, he’s entertaining.

16 Responses to “Spike #2”

  1. timetravellingbunny Says:

    “Another thing about Spike that keeps readers coming back is that he has an immediately relatable motivation for much of the comic audience, since he’s in love with the girl he’ll never have.”

    I have two questions. First, do you happen to have a crystal ball, or did you speak to Joss Whedon about the future storylines? If not… I’m not sure how you would know that?

    Second… What do you mean by the phrase? What exactly constitutes “having someone”? Marriage? Engagement? Long-term official relationship? I’m never sure of that. There are some people who use that term to mean have sex, have a sexual relationship, have a romantic relationship, have mutual love, etc… so they could argue he’s already “had” her.

    Or, one can be like me, and believe that people never “have” other people, because we only belong to ourselves. Even in the case of marriage with no possibility of divorce, as in the old days, you never know if and when the person is going to have enough of you and want to leave you. Or if and when you’re going to feel that way. So, in that sense, you’re right. None of us ever gets to “have” another person that we’re in love with… or vice versa. We may say otherwise because it sounds so damn romantic… but it’s not true.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Ah, I didn’t realize that that phrasing might annoy a Spuffy shipper. My take on the storyline currently is that Buffy and Angel’s relationship is the big, mythical love of the saga. I certainly don’t know what may happen to them all in the future, but the way the characters are currently portrayed, Spike’s feelings for her aren’t likely to be reciprocated any time soon.

  3. timetravellingbunny Says:

    “My take on the storyline currently is that Buffy and Angel’s relationship is the big, mythical love of the saga.”

    Really? Did you read season 8? It made Buffy/Angel the big, satirical farce of the saga.

  4. Johanna Says:

    I skimmed through it, and yeah, I thought that part was dumb, but I’m not sure the writers’ intent was to have us feel that way.

  5. timetravellingbunny Says:

    I’m sure Joss Whedon did, because I read the issues he wrote. It was pretty obviously satire.

    I’m at a loss how anyone could see season 8 as an affirmation of Buffy/Angel that left the two of them more likely to end up together than before. Well, I do know a few people, but they are the most hardcore of hardcore Bangels who think that Angel was a hero in season 8, that he didn’t do anything wrong, that he didn’t kill a bunch of people, that Twilight didn’t completely manipulate him and Buffy, that their space sex wasn’t of dubious consent at all, etc. etc. Everyone else thinks that Bangel is dead and buried. Well, except people who have started to believe that Whedon is an utter hack who isn’t a humanist or a feminist at all.

    Whether Buffy is going to hook up with Spike or someone else or no one is a whole other story, but I don’t see where the “Buffy and Angel will get back together” idea even comes from. Is it because she hasn’t hooked up with Spike yet, so it has to be Angel because it’s “Angel or Spike”, in the great tradition of cheesy love triangles that fandoms tend to love? Buffy’s current problems are about wanting “normal life” and not being sure if a vampire boyfriend (that would be Spike) could be a part of that. That’s at least what the story seems to be about (boring and poorly written as it is), and is supposed to be about according to the writers and editor of season 9. (BTW, Scott Allie has said that Buffy and Spike love each other but their lives don’t mesh together… But this statement probably comes from him being such a huge, famous Spuffy shipper… :p )

  6. Peyton Says:

    Interestingly enough Joss Whedom himself has gone on record that he finds Buffy/Angel dull and that Buffy/Spike is his favorite Buffy relationship, so I don’t really know where you’re getting “girl he’ll never have” from.

    transcript of interview below:

    “KL: Who did you like together with Buffy the most: Angel, Riley, or Spike?”

    “JW: You know what, I liked Spike. With Angel it’s too “Romeo and Juliet”. Which means, as soon as it happens you’re bored. Riley, you know he was a well-adjusted person who loved her in a much, much healthier way than the other two guys. Nobody wants to see that. With Buffy and Spike, they had a real Beatrice and Benedick kind of relationship, in “Much Ado About Nothing”. I think with the wedding, she would have tried to do something fast, but he would have made it elaborate and done everything wrong. It would have been extraordinarily counter-intuitive, and awesome!”

  7. Johanna Says:

    Interesting, thanks for sharing that Joss comment. I read it as looking backwards, though, not a comment on what might happen in the future. Putting Buffy and Spike back together in the same way would be repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, they’re my favorite of her relationships, too, but I don’t want to see more of what’s already been done.

    Right now, I’m liking seeing Spike struggle with his one-sided feelings. It’s a classic emotional setup fraught with drama.

  8. timetravellingbunny Says:

    I don’t believe they would be put together the *same* way. That’s unlikely. Both are very different now.

    “Right now, I’m liking seeing Spike struggle with his one-sided feelings. ”

    That’s not repetitive? Hello, season 5.

  9. Johanna Says:

    I’m not enough of a dedicated viewer to remember specifically what happened in season 5, but I’m seeing big differences between the relatively healthy “this isn’t good for me, so I need some time away to remove myself from the situation” in this comic and building a Buffybot. :)

  10. timetravellingbunny Says:

    I’m saying I’m at a loss how Buffy and Spike getting together again, but this time not in either a 1) catastrophic, mutually abusive sexual relationship while he’s soulless and she’s depressed, or 2) platonic tentative romantic relationship based on fighting the good fight against the apocalyptic threat and Spike trying to rebuild himself right after getting his soul back, would be “repetitive” – especially in the world where Buffy is not the One Girl in the World or fighting apocalyptic battles, but trying to build a life for herself… While Spike dealing with “his one-sided feelings” would somehow not be repetitive.

    Methinks it’s just your personal preference and it has nothing to do with that’s really repetitive. As far as I’ve seen, most people on various forums believe that the “unrequited love” shtick is, in fact, the most boring and repetitive plot they could possibly come up with. And what would that have to do with Buffy’s story, anyway? Why the heck would’ve anyone wasted half of her book this season on that?

  11. Johanna Says:

    Fair enough, that’s what makes horse races.

    My point in posting the review was just to say that I found this particular Spike storyline disappointing because I didn’t find the alien environment very well-suited to the character and I thought the plot points were overly familiar.

  12. zianna Says:

    Just to inform you that Lynch didn’t come up with the spaceship idea. The bugs were first introduced in S8#36, in August 2010. It was Whedon’s idea. (imo, the spaceship was going to play the role of a kind of space taxi, they had other, more cosmic plans for S9). But then they changed their plans for S9, and we got what we’ve been getting so far.

    Going back to the past, in Octomber of 2010, IDW started publishing a story about Spike, with Bryan Lynch. It was supposed to be an ongoing story, not a miniseries of 8 issues. But IDW lost the license and DH took it back, and it had to be done for 8 issues. Since it was the 2nd time that DH messed up IDW, and because Lynch knows Whedon, they decided (DH and Whedon) to let Lynch tell the story of how Spike got the spaceship and became the master of the bugs. So, since Lynch had to change his story and cut it in only 8 issues, he added the story with the bugs at the end of his Spike miniseries. That is the reason why there are many continuity errors in his story (for example, when he leaves Angel in LA and goes to Las Vegas, Angel isn’t Twilight yet, but when arriving in Las Vegas Twilight is already in war with the slayers, and many other mistakes). Lynch’s story was supposed to be different and was supposed to have nothing to do with alien bugs and spaceships, he just changed it somewhere in the middle, because IDW lost the licence.

  13. THATguy Says:

    Well, methinks timetravellingbunny is kind of a know-it-all, as is evidenced by her wannabe analytic posts here and other forums that attack everyone’s opinions as if they are inferior regardless of the fact that they are over a fictional universe that she obviously must need desperately because she has nothing better going on in her life…

  14. Johanna Says:

    Hey, hey, no insulting the other commenters. We’re all fans, and dedication to a hobby is cool, not something to make nasty insinuations about. And I’m learning more about the series and how it was put together as a result.

    If you have different opinions, talk about them, don’t attack the people who disagree with you.

  15. Rosie Says:

    A part of me feels it would be a lot better if Spike moves and get over Buffy. I don’t how she feels about him anymore. I guess I never really have. And frankly, it would be in his best interest to move on.

    But . . . I don’t think a Buffy/Angel hookup is a good idea, either. The problem I have with Angel is that all of his good deeds and compassion – traits that led Buffy to fall for him in the first place – are the results of a curse forced upon him against his will – three times. I think Buffy is in love with an artificial personality that was created by magic. I think Angel is capable of making the choice to regain his soul on his own. I think. But as long as the saga never reveals that possibility, I don’t know.

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