Review: Spike #2 - A Dark Place, Pt. 2

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Spike, traveling with a crew of cockroach-like aliens and stranded demons, is headed back from the dark side of the moon to . . . Sunnydale. If you’re a vampire on a walkabout who wants to gain some perspective and get over a girl (psst . . . it's Buffy), it might not be the best idea to return to the nostalgia-filled hometown you helped her destroy. But if you don’t have a choice, maybe the best hope is to find another way to put out the old flame . . .

* Spike heads back to Sunnydale!

SYNOPSIS

Spike talks his way out of a sunny, space-void death and tells the demons holding him captive that he can help lead them where they want to go: the Sunnydale crater where the Seed was destroyed. They fly back to the crater and Spike -- leashed by the tongue of the giant frog demon -- leads the way. Meanwhile the bugs revolt against the one demon left to guard the ship.

Spike and the demons arrive at the Seed Chamber, and the shards of the seed are gone. Morgan, a succubus, was there looking for them too, and she says they were gone before she got there. The lead demon doesn't believe her, a battle ensues, the bugs arrive and Spike saves Morgan's life. They try and figure out who took the shards, but before they can, Pearl & Nash arrive.

REVIEW

Right up front, let me just say that this issue still has the problem of being caught between a spin-off of Season 9 and something that can stand alone, but it's less of a problem here because it has its own story to build on too.

As for that story, it's pretty clear that it's building to bringing Spike back into the main series, and that's not just because of the appearance of the villains from the "Angel & Faith" ongoing. A search for the shards of the seed (say that five times fast) can only have larger implications in this universe.

I thought Spike sounded more like Spike in this issue. Part of that was he spent so much of Issue 1 moping about Buffy -- and having his bugs try and cheer him up from moping about Buffy -- that he couldn't just be Spike. Victor Gischler does a much better job here getting the maudlin-but-snarky Spike across on the printed page.

Paul Lee's art continues to be good, and his Spike likeness is probably the best of any of the interior artists that have worked on this series in quite some time. Morgan is just the right amount of completely sexy without being ridiculous (and I can't help but think there's a little Black Widow influence there).

The issue isn't perfect. The bugs are still annoying and I wish they were gone, but their role in this issue is minimized (they have one two-page scene to themselves, then half a page during the battle). The demons get a backstory that ties them into the end of Season 8, but it's really just a plot device to get Spike back to Sunnydale. But this issue is a huge step up from #1, and makes me excited for the rest of the series.

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