Poet, vampire, murderer, lover, hero, prisoner, slave—Spike has been called a lot of things. But, by the time this fight is over, he’ll have one more name: Lord! Or “dust”… maybe we’ll just call him dust, considering how it seems things are going in his immediate future. But after enjoying this collection of the four-issue Spike: After the Fall series you’ll be looking at the events of Angel: After the Fall in a whole new light, courtesy of Brian Lynch and Franco Urru! (synopsis from Goodreads)
I love Spike. He’s my favorite Buffy character next to Willow. However, I was a little disappointed with this spin-off series. And despite the claim in the synopsis, I have not viewed the events in Angel: After the Fall any differently. It just explains how Spike got to the position he was in at the beginning of A:ATF.
While the dialogue was pretty faithful for the characters that we know so well, I found that the story was lacking that thought provoking and sometimes heart-wrenching aspect that I have grown accustomed to with anything Buffy/Joss Whedon related. It was a pretty generic storyline with cameos by other key characters that didn’t need to happen and felt like a desperate attempt to keep our interest. Also, I actually became a little more confused about the situation with Gunn because of these cameos since he popped up at some point and then kind of disappeared. I felt like some background on him would have cleared up some lingering questions, but his cameo failed to do that and left me disappointed. I also felt that the moments the story was getting deeper emotionally became cliche and slightly overdone. I missed the subtlety that I’ve come to love from the Buffyverse.
Since it is a graphic novel, I feel that a note should be made on the art. However, other than saying that the art was just fine, there really isn’t much to say. The characters looked much like the actors, which is a plus, and the new characters were drawn pretty well. Nothing overtly distracting, but also not anything particularly new or stunning.
Basically, it was all right. If you really want to know Spike’s story right after everything goes to hell (literally) than go ahead and give this a read. However, it won’t change A:ATF for you very much, and the whole story honestly could have been explained in a couple of panels in A:ATF. It didn’t really need a whole series, even though you can never have enough Spike.