Sunday 21st December 2014,
Comic Booked

Review: Spike Issue 2

Comic Booked Guest Writer 09/26/2012 Reviews

Spike’s in trouble?  Must be… well, must be Wednesday.

Spike: A Dark Place Issue 2 opens with Spike still in trouble aboard his bug-manned spaceship.  He’s not been thrown out of an airlock (yet) by a slightly toothier Gantu, but being held by a giant spacefrog tongue might not be a huge improvement over that fate.  Seems annoying and a bit sticky, having to (brace yourself) frog-march around like that.

Spike, being Spike, manages to slip out of the threat of death-by-airlock by convincing Sturgeon Demon Gantu that he really, really needs Captain Peroxide alive.  It seems that these charming, friendly creatures just want to go home – they, along with a host of other oogly-booglies, were stranded in Sunnydale when Buffy killed all magic.  They tried hitching a ride on something resembling an insecty Star Whale but crashed it into the moon when things went awry.  Now the demons need something magical – anything magical – to get them back home.  In exchange for not dying a somewhat splattery death, Spike will lead the Sturgeon Demons to the place where Buffy destroyed the Seed – but, naturally, he’ll need to be alive for that to happen.

They disembark in Sunnydale – or, rather, at the crashed gate and gaping pit that used to be Sunnydale – and the distracted Sturgeon Demons give Spike the space needed to start in on a glorious brood.  Sunnydale for Spike means trouble and heartache – and he doesn’t mind a bit.

Rivaling even Angel’s powers of self-involvement, Spike broods about the power of brooding, claims that it brings things into focus for him, makes everything clear and simple – but I’m too tempted to take his very deep thoughts at more than face value.  Maybe Spike thinks that “the tickle of unfinished business down the back of [his] neck” is Sunnydale-related (which really means “Buffydale-related”) but I like to believe (and have read enough of the other Dark Horse Buffyverse books to believe) that Spike’s premonitions are more about the Seed, less about the Slayer.  Regardless, Spike has time for one more cigarette – and a quick pout on his idea of “home” – before they’re off into the pit.

Meanwhile, back on the ship, the bugs (led by one-armed Sebastian and the endearing Frisky) stage an uprising, using an impressive trick with a lighter and a bottle of Spike’s finest to set their guard on fire.  Extinguished via beach chair beatdown, the bugs are on the loose – ready to save their Master but wondering if he feels anything near loyalty for them.  It’s too much time spent on clever bugs doing funny things to be anything but a Very Big Clue for the future, especially since it’s followed by even more Spike-moping about family.

Spike, unaware of the valiance of Frisky and Sebastian, continues to ruminate as he winds further into the tunnels.  Spike, it seems, is completely okay with clichés and will happily debate his role as “dark place” as he climbs further underground.  The descent to the Seed Chamber feels a bit slow, slogging through not just collapsing tunnels but the somewhat trappy inner workings of Spike’s mind.  If it didn’t signal Big Things To Come, it would feel like filler.  But, things are brewing for vampires and bugs alike, things set up to test the key terms that keep popping up everywhere: Family.  Loyalty.  Home.

Granted, further Spike Angst on any of those will have to wait.  Seems Sturgeon Demon Gantu wanted a bit more than a peroxide tour guide to the Seed room – he wanted the shards of the Seed itself.  Yeah, well… get in line.

The line starts in the corner, right behind Morgan the Succubus.  After some very adroit eye-signaling, Morgan and Spike handily dispatch the Sturgeon Demons.  Spike’s frog-captor gets his tongue cut off – and then electrocuted by heroic oversized cockroaches for good measure.  Battle Chief Gantu gets run through and then beheaded by Spike, who is finally allowed to kick a little ass, take a few names.  Dead Sturgeons litter the floor and Spike swoops in to find a little dark place of his own.  Seems everyone is looking for the shards of the Seed – which is absolutely no shock at all if you’ve read any of the other Buffy-related titles.

Since he’s a gentlemanly vampire (and since he’s talking to a demon in tight black leather), Spike nearly offers up his services in finding the shards – and then the roof collapses.  Danger of going underground in the remains of Sunnydale?  Possibly.  Danger of being anywhere in a Dark Horse Buffyverse book?  Much more likely.

In the final pages of Spike, the worlds between titles shrinks a little bit more as those damned twins from Angel & Faith turn up.  Spike’s left to deal with “Flowers in the Attic” – next month.

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