Issue 5 of 8
'Bedknobs and Boomsticks'
Writer: Brian Lynch, Artist: Stephen Mooney, Colorist: Andrea Priorini, Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Cover: Nick Runge
Blurb: Spike's been having a rough time. Went to Vegas to sort out some strange events, only to find Wolfram & Hart back in the game. Then, Drusilla shows up along with her new (and very mad) "boyfriend". How is Spike supposed to deal with his old flame and the biggest bad of them all?
Page 01: We open at the off-strip motel that Team Spike retreated to when they found their way out of Vegas blocked by W & H.
Beck is sitting alone, when she suddenly hears Betta George's thought projections. He's finally woken up from the Drusilla telepathic-interface trip he'd been on and he is not at all pleased by what he found in her head. He tells Beck that they have to leave. His main beef is what Dru's thoughts revealed about Spike's past.
Commentary: So, I suppose one has to have sympathy for Betta, considering how he sees Spike as a friend. But, on the other hand, what exactly did he think Spike's past consisted of? It's no doubt a real bummer to be confronted by it so directly, but... y'know... hanging out with Dru and being all evil. I'm not sure what he was expecting.
Page 02: Meanwhile, Spike and Drusilla are at a wedding chapel in front of one of the many Elvis-inspired ministers. Drusilla is into the whole wedding thing with Spike, including wearing her white veil. However, before you think Spike has completely lost his at-times tenuous hold on sanity, he's only there because the Elvis impersonator also has a bit of magical ability.
Spike wants to hire him to send out a distress call to Willow, without resorting to any high magicks that might alert W & H to where they're at. We also learn through dialog that possessed-Jeremy is being kept in the trunk of whatever car Spike has gotten his hands on since the last one was destroyed.
Fortunately for Spike, Faux-Elvis is more than willing to cut him a deal since he was part of the Elvis-Combine that Spike saved a few nights ago.
Page 03: Spike chooses to send Willow a hologram of himself long distance. And, blaming it on Andrew being on his brain, pulls the Princess Leia "Help me, Willow Rosenberg. You're my only hope".
At least he recognizes that was a bit pathetic. But, he fills her in needing her to drop by through W & H's energy field. He specifically asks her to keep this as a 'for your eyes only' message, and not involve Buffy. He also tells her that if she happens to be sporting the solid black eyes at the moment, she can ignore the message.
Commentary: I liked this page alot. It was cute and it emphasizes that Spike really doesn't want to intrude back into Buffy's life, which he'd made clear to Andrew in AtS: 'Damage'. I also like the he's even mentioned having goodish-thoughts toward Xander, which was unnecessary, but appreciated. Well, yknow - my whole spander thingie, so... yeah... that was a nice thought.
Page 04: Spike takes Dru to a supernatural bar in Vegas to await whether Willow's gotten his message and will show. In the parking lot, he warns demon-possessed Jeremy to not cause a problem. Jeremy complains at the amount of time he's spending getting smacked around and stored in trunks, so Spike knocks him out again with a fist to the jaw.
Commentary: I don't know about this choice, Spike? Doesn't a supernatural bar seem like one of those places where W & H would have a spy, if for no other reason than to keep abreast of anything going on in the underworld that they may be able to profit from? I think I might choose some abandoned building in a dark corner of the area to wait, rather than someplace where you're face in front and center. Especially, since you have an unpredictable companion with you.
Page 05: And, actually, the problems with Spike's waiting place reveal themselves even outside of the W & H thing.
He's confronted by a group of Mind Flayer-looking demons (that would be a Dungeons & Dragons reference), who hated the 'Twinkle' movie and hated Spike general side-switching.
In addition to this new headache, Drusilla is threatening to kill Willow if she does manage to show up.
Page 06: Spike tries to convince everyone that there doesn't need to be a scene made... mostly by ordering Drusilla not to start a'butcherin' and trying to talk down squidfaces. Obvs, this is not a usual thing for Spike and he doesn't seem to be doing a great job of stopping things from escalating.
Fortunately for he, Willow manages to show up then and begins levitating everyone and thing in the room, and turning them into kittens, putting a stop the the brawl before it can get started.
Page 07: "Okay. Consider me crossed over. What now?"
Commentary: Obviously, this is a reference not just to Willow crossing over the W & H barrier, but also her crossing over from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Title and over to the Angel family of books. It's also referencing Willow crossing over from Dark Horse to IDW for this title.
I likes it alot.
Page 08: Spike's first concern is for Buffy, still, as he wants to make sure that she doesn't need Willow before addressing his problem. Willow blows this off by joking that she's fine after her totally dangerous spell to even sneak in there to help him, thank you very much.
Spike asks after the gang and seems more than a bit relieved when Wills gives him a big ol' hug.
Page 09: Back with Betta and Beck, they've taken to a highway out of town with Beck arguing that whatever George saw in Dru's head, that isn't Spike anymore. He acknowledges that, but the images have been so disturbing that he doesn't want anything more to do with Team Spike.
Beck tells him she's going back to help the vampire. But before she can leave, and Betta can continue his escape, a pair of limos arrive with armed gunmen. A man in a business suit wants a word with Betta.
Page 10: Betta confirms the business suit is W & H's man, which Beck didn't really need confirmed. She puts up a fire-barrier between them in warning. Business Suit insists that they just want to see what Dru may have deposited in Betta's head but that they don't mean harm to our pair. One can't really blame Beck for not trusting the messenger.
Before things can progress further into - no doubt - a fight, Dru's psychopathic paramour busts in on things with a tear gas bomb.
Page 11: Beck and George take off, while John easily kills the gun-goons of W & H.
Commentary: I do so like when the evil law firm's own hires turn on them, but I can't keep the thought that John shouldn't be that hard to neutralize from intruding on my enjoyment of this lovely page. Why haven't they just come down on him like a ton of bricks and have done with it?
Page 12: With W & H's goons out of the picture, Beck turns to fight John. His response is to fire a rocket at her!
She activates her fire power blast, but Betta tries to warn her a bit late that the rocket launched is a heat seeker. She's just made it that much easier to get blown up.
Page 13: Not only is the rocket a heat seeker, but its payload is heat activated -- it blows up above Betta and Beck. The payload released turns out to be a buttload of knock-out darts. It appears that Beck won't be helping Spike, and Betta George won't be leaving him behind.
Commentary: I liked this page a lot as well. The artwork for the action scenes is really good this issue.
Page 14: In the car, Spike tries to update Willow on W & H, but she's geeking out at his making friends and hugging and all of those changes since the last time she saw him when Sunnydale imploded.
Page 15: Willow is still geeking out over the 'new' Spike, even though he tries to assure her that he's the same old Spike. She mentions the fact that he even took a kitten with him, which is all so cute.
Until he mentions the kitten he grabbed was one of the changed-into ... the Drusilla one.
Well, as we learned in "The Long Way Home", Willow still has a small problem with dark power when she gets agitated. Drusilla certainly does that. She accidentally blows up the side out of the new car, bringing them to a sudden stop.
Page 16: Willow levitates above the road, and accuses Spike of irritating her in order to put a stop to her touchy-feelies, but no. She casts a counter-spell on the transformed kitty, and yes -- Dru is there.
Page 17: Wills is now both pissed, and disappointed in Spike. Drusilla, meantime, doesn't like Willow's tone and with Spike holding her back wants to fight her.
Willow is thoroughly down with Drusilla getting her wish. But, Spike gets between the two girls. He reminds Willow that the Scooby-credo is supposed to be about second chances for even killers: Angel, Andrew, Faith, himself... and Willow.
Page 18: Willow is unhappy with the situation, but agrees to put aside her personal revulsion at Dru's presence to evict the possessing demon from Jeremy. She just warns Spike to keep Dru on a tight leash.
Which, he then has to clarify for Dru was actually just a figure of speech. Her response: "Oh. I liked Willow for a moment." LOL
Commentary: I really loved the continuity shout out and all, but I can't help but wonder why Willow didn't mention that the "second chancers" were given them because they were ensouled. Something which Drusilla never was and isn't now. Obviously, the end point would be the same, Willow has to swallow her desire to kill Dru for everything from setting Angelus onto Jenny Calendar to the killing of Kendra but it seemed like an obvious thing for her to have thrown that out there.
Page 19: Meanwhile, Beck, W & H Suit and Betta have been chained to a wall somewhere. John orders Betta to contact Spike on John's behalf for a chat. In order to motivate the fish to cooperate, he runs a sword through Business Suit at the abdomen. The implication to Beck is made clear.
While this is occurring, Willow and Spike are dealing with the Jeremy situation.
Page 20: Before they can carry out moving the demon spirit to a snake body and freeing Jeremy, though, the telepathic projection from Betta comes through. John tells Spike about his first thrilling kill, apparently leading up to something, some explanation of why he wants Spike's soul perhaps.
Page 21: We learn more about John's history, as he admits that killing humans started to lose its luster so he moved onto the supernatural for victims.
But, he crossed somebody's line somewhere during his spree.
In the meantime, he's also running another sword through Business Suit's middle to Beck's growing horror.
Page 22: John shares that he was imprisoned for a long while (and it appears to be where he's holding Spike's freinds now). John gets into the nitty-gritty of why he ever thought that Spike had control over his soul in the first place. Now, remember, this is being told by John so we don't know how reliable the information:
"... They took my soul. After that, killing just wasn't the same...
Wolfram & Hart found me and helped me see the light. I was held prisoner all that time because they needed to keep a balance. Soul for soul. Restore one, means to take one...."
Commentary: Interesting. And, quite disturbing. Now, again, we're talking a psychopath and W & H, so we may want to take everything with a grain of salt. But, doesn't this imply that W & H may have actually arranged for the Wish-Granting Demon to give Spike his soul? Maybe they intervened on his behalf to ensure that after he won the trials, that the demon would grant that in answer to Spike's "make me what I was" request?
I'm not sure how to feel about this, because it doesn't seem like Spike should have been on W & H's radar at that point. On the other hand, they have seers too, so maybe they already saw that Spike could be a major player in stopping The First from carrying out its plans which W & H weren't looking forward to.
And, again... we have no idea if this is a line of bs by W & H to John in order to put him to use. They could have even arranged for Drusilla to seduce John, after retrieving her from the "I'm home again" illusion during 'After the Fall'.
Curiouser and curiouser. And my interest level in the story has just gotten a large boost.
The Good: I liked the bits of humor in the dialog and I like the way that Willow was brought into the story.
I like the artwork, largely (there is a caveat in 'other thoughts').
The confrontation between Willow and Spike over Drusilla was nicely done, if a bit short.
Obviously, the implications of John's story at the end really grabbed ahold of my interest.
The Bad: I'm going to go with nothing badly done.
Other Thoughts: As to that artwork caveat, I'm not crazy about Willow's face in several panels. Stephen, in my opinion, didn't really catch Aly's likeness.
I was also a bit confused as to what exactly Willow had done in the bar & why she didn't realize Drusilla was with them in the car. The introduction of kittens already in the location (being used as tips to the pole dancer) confused me... I thought those kitties were just being levitated, not that she had also turned the occupants outside of Spike into a kitten, as well. It took a bit for me to understand the sequence of events.
It would have been very cool if there could be a knock down drag out between Drusilla and Willow -- but Wills powers would have to be somewhat neutralized in some way for it to actually work, or Dru would be taken down without much effort.
The Score: 3.75 out of 5
Next Up: Spike #6