This Week in Comics: July 21 (Black Widow, Spike)

A week ago, when I reviewed last week's comics, I casually mentioned that I'd have a TWIC this week even though it was a "light" week. Well, I guess I didn't take too close of a look at the shipping list for this week, because as it turned out, there were five books I ended up buying (well, technically 7, but we'll get to that).

There are three issues I want to give a full review, so those posts will come later today. They are:

Amazing Spider-Man #638
Charmed #1
True Blood #1

So this week's TWIC only has two entries, Black Widow #4 and Spike: The Devil You Know #2

Black Widow #4
This series always seems to do just enough story wise to bring me back for the next issue, and this issue fell squarely into that classification. I didn't feel engaged with the character as she explored her past, but once the tables turned on her in the end and she was back on the wrong side of the law, I was re-hooked. With that said, the art style -- sort of a washed-out painted look, is starting to wear on me. It's really a personal preference more than anything else, and I can see how some readers might actually like the style, but I just don't think it's working for these characters anymore.
Grade: C

Spike: The Devil You Know #2
And here's a case where the art bothers me for a completely different reason. With Spike, we have a character who was originated on TV, and throughout his comic incarnation has always looked like his TV counterpart (James Marsters). However, in his vampire form in this issue, he almost looks unrecognizable, at least in the face. Still, that's the only disappointment for a book that is otherwise turning out to be a shining star in the overflowing swamp that is IDW's Angel tie-ins. The story advances just enough to not be stale, and the majority of the book is spent in action scenes, where Spike can shine. The interplay between him and Eddie feels a lot like how Spike and Angel never really quite got along, even when they were working toward the same goal. And what comes through Tansy's Hellmouth is both unexpected and awesome -- and a nice way to tie together some "Buffy" lore (the Hellmouth) with some "Angel" lore (the... well, I don't want to spoil it for you...)
Grade: B+