Spike is not your average vampire; as many fans of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series may know, Spike has earned back his soul. Wandering the streets of Greenville, Spike is depicted struggling with feeding – he cannot attack as he once did and consider himself a moral being so what is he to do? During an impromptu attempt to save a woman’s life (where he hopes to earn some cash or maybe sneak a free meal) Spike damages his shoe. Oddly enough, that single fashion conundrum sends Spike through a wormhole of personal discovery he never saw coming. Faced with new feelings, a friend to talk to and pitted against one hell of an ugly demon – Spike has a lot to consider and learn in this new Buffy the Vampire Slayer derivative tale.
Spike has a slow introduction however; it helps reveal some things about the character that may not have otherwise been considered. For starters, being one of original monsters in the series, Spike experiences the most important behavioral metamorphosis (e.g. saving a woman’s life because he can and not because he wants eat her instead). He begins to evolve spiritually and is forced to delve into the balance of good vs. evil. This comic asks the reader to really analyze Spike: Who is he as a man? What is he going to do now that he has a soul? How will Spike’s past shape his future? What will he do when faced with uncertainty? Throughout the novella Spike experiences levels of emotion unfamiliar to him; emotions that force him to consider the morality behind his actions.
Being one of the few Buffy comic stories I have read (I must admit I am more familiar with the television series than the comics), I find myself surprised by my pique in interest. Not only is the story cleverly developed, the comic has exquisite artwork and engaging detail. Every page hints towards something more that the reader should focus on: a garden of daisies here or a lonely tree growing on a hill overlooking the city. It encourages exploration of the subtle key notes that guide one towards comprehending Spike’s mental unrest towards the odds stacked against him.
Beyond the stimulating philosophical discoveries, this comic has some sick (yes, I said sick – deal with it) combat scenes. In one scene, Spike must face a child obsessing demon with a punch that would send Optimus Prime reeling. There is fire, there is tumbling, there is punching (and more punching), there are children looking dazed and there is even a weird transformation of Spike’s foe (Seriously, can anyone say messed up tentacle monster combined with demonized Slenderman? It’s oddly grotesque…).
For those with a penchant to purchase all things vampire this may not be the book for you…but for those looking to see a journey of self-discovery and some badass fights, I would definitely recommend this Buffy the Vampire Slayer derivative. After all, it’s not every day you get to grin and watch Spike squirm at the thought of breaking into a Pawn shop because it’s not “the right thing to do” (yep, he can’t even steal people – dude is out of luck on the bad boy routine).