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June 5, 2013

Dark Horse Review: Spike: A Dark Place

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Written by: Dr. Bustos
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Spike A Dark Place CoverSpike: A Dark Place

Publisher: Dark Horse

Writer: Victor Gischler

Pencils: Paul Lee & Cliff Richards

Inks: Andy Owens

Colors: Cris Peter

Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt

Chapter Break Art: Jenny Frison

Cover Art: Jo Chen

Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

The comics continuation of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series has been a mixed bag for me. I enjoy seeing the characters I grew up with from TV still running around, but the situation has greatly changed in the span of just two seasons. It’s been mostly miss for me, with the occasional enjoyable moments. Spike has been a favorite character and so where does this book that takes place in Season 9 fall in my own enjoyment? Let’s find out.

Spike has gone separate ways from Buffy and taken to his spaceship filled with alien bugs. To brood, he heads to the dark side of the moon to be alone with his thoughts. Here’s the thing, a story where a vampire takes a spaceship run by alien insects to go off into space should be the coolest story ever, but most of it is spent being introspective. I’m fine with introspective but the entire Buffy series has struggled with big adventure and introspection.

Thankfully this story does pick up as we go on. The aliens get weary of this attitude as well so what ends up as a vacation turns into a bunch of demons hijacking the ship looking for the last remnants of magic. Once back on Earth the story picks up into a globe trotting adventure in the style of Indiana Jones or Hellboy.

Spike is always at his best when he’s out of his element, that’s why he was interesting as an anti-hero, the guy spent a literal century being a monster and was suddenly stuck helping good people. Then he realized it suited him cause he had something to prove, the story even shows that back in Spike’s bad old days he was still capable of heroics, even if accidental. Spike gets to punch out demons, faeries, and Easter Island guardians (yes this happens and it’s amazing) so we do get action but it’s mostly in the tail end of the book.

The art is great, especially in the cover pieces and chapter breaks, they capture the look of Spike very well. Fans of the show we’ll be able to easily recognize the star of the comic and the designs for the demons are fun and interesting to look at. The more I think about the book, the more it starts off slow and introspective but then it picks up when we leave space for the rich environment of Earth. I’d love an ongoing series where Spike is just vampire Indiana Jones. More of the latter half of the book please.

Alexander Bustos

drbustos@comicattack.net

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