IDW's Spike #8 of 8
writer: Brian Lynch, artist: Franco Urru, colorist: Fabio Mantovani, letterer: Neil Uyetake
cover: Franco Urru, Fabio Mantovani
Blurb: Bugs, battleships, psycho-killers, ex-girlfriends... Vegas. Spike's had quite a ride. But the story isn't over until the giant demon things sing...
Page 01: With Willow now left, Drusilla in tow, Team Spike is left to confront the crash landing of a space ship down the Vegas strip.
Commentary: If, like me, you hadn't read this title as released you'll recognize The Bugs from BTVS Twilight arc. I recognized the armor of the 'invader' in the bottom panel on this page.
Page 02: Team Spike wanders up to the craft, but Spike is actually at a loss as to what they're going to do.
Page 03: The ship's occupants exit, in rather a poor mood for having their ship pulled off course in the first place.
While Spike tries to get a handle on an escalating situation, local law enforcement doesn't help by arriving with weapons drawn and issuing orders.
Page 04: While Spike is trying to head off a confrontation with the newly arrived aliens, our surviving W & H exec is looking on.
Page 05: Our surviving exec issues orders to W & H's shock troopers to take the vessel in order to allow the Senior Partners to leave Earth, and more importantly this dimension.
Meanwhile, our LVPD officer is about to take a shot at one of the alien bugs. This would lead to disastrous consequences, so Beck uses her fire elemental powers to melt his gun, warning him to back off and let Spike handle this tense situation.
Commentary: The only nitpick I have with this page is the presentation of our Surviving Exec. There is a real problem between this character in issue 7 and the same character in issue 8 as far as the suit he's wearing, the body type, and his entire personality. It's really jarring bad continuity. I thought that he was a new character we were being introduced to, until he mentioned he was important to protect because he'd be piloting the alien craft.
He also suddenly between issues looking like a schlub to an evil mastermind. Just check out that top panel close up of him.
Finally he's gone from looking a bit anonymous to looking like a cross between Santa Claus and a Tellarite (check out that nose).
Page 06: While the Bug-King's Adviser continues pushing for an immediate retaliatory strike against Team Spike and Earth, the vampire is able to convince the Bug-King that he can assist them with the real threat that brought them there.
Page 07: Unfortunately, just when it looks like peace will reign, the bugs come under assault fire by the W & H shock-troops.
Many of the bug soldiers are immediately brought down... including the King-Bug, which takes one to the chest.
Things very quickly degrade to an all out war between The Bugs and W & H's troops with Team Spike caught inbetween.
Commentary: In case you've forgotten, according to Lila-ghost, Wolfram & Hart has come to the realization that they've been played by something far grander and that they need to give up their purchase on this dimension for greener pastures. The implication is that they've probably come across the realization that the Universe Itself intends to start over via the Twilight Arc over in BTVS, and they don't intend to be here when it goes down.
Page 08: With the King quickly reaching his expiration, he grants safe haven within the Bug Ship to Team Spike, over the continuing objections of his Adviser.
Page 09: Wolfram & Hart's troops are on their heels though, and have managed to burn a hole through the hull to allow the Senior Partners egress into the ship.
As the shock troops work on patching the hole they caused, the Senior Partners issue orders through Surviving Exec to clear the ship of all other lifeforms.
Page 10: As W & H's troops continue the battle within the interior of the Bug Ship, the King reveals to Spike that they are a scout ship on a final mission of an extinct civilization. He impresses upon Spike that his men will be loyal, but that they need to have a strong leader to guide them. He intends to pass his leadership role onto Spike to give his men a new purpose.
Adviser shoves Spike out of the way to insist that King Bug [who was actually just the highest ranking member of the ship's crew] get to sickbay.
Page 11: With his dying words though, King Bug passes the baton to Spike. Although Adviser continues to not like or trust Team Spike, he gives in to the will of dead King.
Spike begins to organize a resistance movement to the intruders on board, not realizing that he's messing with the Senior Partners in the flesh.
Page 12: W & H are able to take over the main bridge of the vessel, as Spike finds out that he and his new troops are actually in an escape pod at the moment. With the ship under enemy control, the thrusters are activated and the vessel begins its climb to deep space.
Their precarious position isn't helped by the fact that they can't make a clean escape because Surviving Exec has locked down the escape craft and there isn't any way to override control from the escape pod.
Finally, as if this all doesn't suck enough, internal sensors detect the shocktroops and some staggering firepower headed up the corridors to their position.
Page 13: As Spike heads off to do battle, Adviser tries to unlock the escape pod from Surviving Exec's control. He remains disdainful of Team Spike.
Page 14: In the corridor leading to the escape pod, Team Spike tries to hold off W & H. But, one of the Senior Partners is taking a hands-on approach. It unleashes a lightning strike on Spike.
Page 15: He's able to dodge the first assault, but the Senior Partner unleashes another. This time, Spike is saved by Beck leaping and pushing him out of the way. She gets electrocuted in his place.
Page 16: Junior Senior Partner bitches about the partners above him not helping, which allows Spike enough time to grab up some of the shock-troop weaponry and fire on the Senior Partner Lightning Lad.
This buys enough time for a retreat to the far too close escape pod where they can make a final stand.
Page 17: Meanwhile, Beck tells Spike that someone always needs him as an explanation as to why she put herself between Spike and the energy blast.
Also, The Bugs have gotten some success with freeing control of the escape pod from Surviving Exec on the bridge.
Page 18: The escape pod is ejected from the main body of the ship. Surviving Exec offers to chase it down, but Junior Senior Partner objects and orders the vessel away from Team Spike, still appearing a bit rough for wear due to the shots it took from W & H's own weapons.
Page 19: From a viewport, Team Spike watches the main ship leave into extradimensional space. Beck lies dying in his arms, but Spike insists that they're going to save her.
He directs the Bug-Pod to the Clinic to get her help, much to the annoyance of the administrator there. Especially since not only did he fail to keep an eye on Beck to begin with, as he promised he'd do, but then he sent them an unexpected psychopathic vampire to boot.
Page 20: We find out that the staff was able to save Beck's life, a survival that impresses George mightily. We can also infer that the Bugs are on board with Spike being their new leader, even though Adviser is very clearly not happy about any of it.
Page 21: As Beck will be down for recovery for awhile, Spike decides to go after the Senior Partners on behalf of his new crew.
He and Beck share tender good-byes.
Page 22: Spike decides that going after the Senior Partners is some major sh*t, and so tells Jeremy [whose name he still refuses to get right] that he's sitting this one out. And, he also tells Betta that this is where they part company as well.
Page 23: Before leaving with The Bugs, Spike makes one more stop at the padded cell where the Clinic is holding Drusilla.
He tells her that the people around her are good and she shouldn't try to kill them.
Page 24: Spike, having gotten tired of playing second fiddle to Angel, has finally found a mission he can take on that will be far away from his mentor and rival. He gets his new Bug Crew fired up to go after W & H and make them pay for their killing of the Bug King... well, except for Adviser, who still is visually pissed with the whole situation.
Page 25: Adviser points out to Spike, once they're underway, that W & H could be nearly literally anywhere.
Page 26: Spike doesn't mind, being immortal. Adviser is less sanguine, but they get underway.
Commentary: Where one would think that Spike becomes alerted to the Twilight Mess so he can dramatically swoop in later....
The Good: I liked the unrelenting assault of W & H's shock-troops on the alien vessel and the way that Spike was overwhelmed with nothing to do but retreat. W & H may have had a reversal of fortunes, but they're not just your typical bad guys.
The Bad: Nothing, really.
Other Thoughts: I think you can see the seams of where this was meant to be a longer tale, cut short due to the licensing change from IDW to DH, but they manage it as best they can. It's okay.
I do think the story may have suffered a bit by not getting rid of serial-killer John sooner and retooling for a larger role for W & H's Senior Partners. And, having Willow leave prematurely to escort Dru off was a waste, especially since Urru included her on the cover.
I don't like the way that Cordelia the Dragon, Groo and ghost-Lila just vanish from the story, either.
The Score: It was an okay issue that had to wrap things up for IDW and hint of things to come, while not actually kicking off any new storylines that they would be unable to follow up on. Like I said, you can see the seams a bit, but they did what they could with their shortened time to wrap things up satisfactorily.
3.0 out of 5 stars
Next up: Angel #43