Spike: After the Fall

by Alan Rapp on August 21, 2008

in Comics

  • Title: Spike: After the Fall #1 & #2
  • Comic Vine: link

The first issue of the Angel: After the Fall spin-off begins with Spike and Illyria/Fred taking out some demons and protecting a homeless and frightened group of Californians who have found themselves inexplicably sent to Hell.

Spike’s job is that much harder given Illyria’s penchant for turning into a helpless Fred whenever her human emotions are tapped into, often at some very inconvenient times.  That plus a group of unruly kids and adults which Spike has to lead (not exactly his strong suit) and you could say William the Bloody is in his own personal kind of Hell… while in Hell.  Okay, maybe you don’t want to say that.

The first issue is a good opener and sets up Spike’s story and gives a little explanation to Illyria’s condition (something the previous mini-series had some trouble stammering out), though it doesn’t come close to the quality of Buffy’s Eighth Season in Dark Horse Comics.

It’s not a great intro, but the mood and character of Spike is well portrayed and as this one is only a four-issue mini-series as opposed to twelve I might even stick around until the end.  Maybe.

“She seems okay.  So does Jerry.  There’s the new kid, surrogate parents.  Annoying teenagers.  Lots of Amazons.  Day’s looking up.  Pixie in a skin suit.  Seems fairly simple.  Plow into the Pixie.”

Issue #2 starts with a great scene, all of which takes place in Spike’s head.  One of the advantages of comics over television and movies is the ability to concentrate on internal monologue of a character.  To see inside how a character like Spidey or ol’ Bats and learn what they are thinking is part of the unique comic experience.

Now normally Spike isn’t the type with deep thoughts, but having him go face-to-face with a dragon thinking to himself about his options is definitely one of the better moments from this comic version of Season Six.

After his daliance with the dragon (which ends in the purposefully confusing non-endings these Season Six books have made their sole reason for being) our hero, much to his consternation, must go save his flock from some seriously demented demon bitches.  Of course this being Spike the results aren’t quite what he planned.

A pretty good second issue follow-up which begins with a bang and has some nice humorous moments, plus some not too subtle lesbian tension between Fred and the head demon.  Worth picking up if only for the first few pages.

In terms of humor and action the first half of this four-issue mini-series delivers.  In terms of story, it struggles.  The cryptic let’s not give away anything too soon (dude, it’s four issues! and there’s only so much you can cram into the final one) which got in the way of actual storytelling of Angel: After the Fall is sadly present here as well.  It’s no real suprise given the series is done by the same people, this too common Lost style of storytelling rears its ugly head much too often here as well.  There are enough Spike moments that fans of the character should have a good time, but far from enough to make this one a must-read.  A mini-series should have a point, given its limited structure and time, not just a few laughs.

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