The Story so Far: I am reading and reviewing the Buffyverse comic series’ that are canon with the television shows they are based on, including Buffy Season 8, Fray, Spike, Angel & Faith and Angel: After the Fall among others. I will post a final reading list when I’ve caught up to season 10.
I’ve included links to my previous posts in this reading marathon at the bottom of the page.
This Week: Many of the characters from Brian Lynch’s Spike: After the Fall originated in Spike: Asylum so I decided to read and review it for this marathon. I also read Spike: Shadow Puppets, and Spike: The Complete Series.
Spike: Asylum (Issues 1-5)
A wealthy couple hires Spike to find their half-demon daughter Ruby, who has committed herself to an asylum for the supernaturally unstable. Once inside, the tables turn and Spike finds that there is no way out.
This mini-series made Joss Whedon take notice of writer Brian Lynch. Whedon was so impressed by Asylum that he had Lynch write Spike:After the Fall and insisted that he bring back the telepathic fish, Betta George. I added Asylum to my reading marathon for this reason and because the Mosaic Wellness Center, George, and Beck all appear in later canon issues of Angel. You don’t have to read Asylum to make sense of these later issues but if you are curious about these characters and want to understand all the inside jokes, I highly recommend that you read the entire Spike trilogy which begins with Asylum, followed by Shadow Puppets and ends with Spike: After the Fall.
Spike: Shadow Puppets (Issues 1-4)
Buffyverse and Muppets: two of my favorite things together in one action-packed Spike mini-series! Anyone who has seen the Angel series episode Smile Time will remember the demonic children’s show that turned the broodiest vampire with a soul into a wee little puppet man. Now Smile Time is back on the air, this time in Japan. Spike is recruited to save the day and backing him are Betta George, Beck, Lorne and a new character, a ninja named Tok.
If you liked Smile Time, you will love Shadow Puppets. There are loads more puppet characters this time around including Spike, Lorne and Betta George as the cutest plush heroes ever! Fans of the show will appreciate Lynch’s ever-impressive grasp of the characters and the universe. When Lynch makes a joke about Spike living with Xander or mentions Andrew it shows that he knows and love this universe as much as the fans do. Shadow Puppets has everything that is great about the Buffyverse: pop culture references, loads of humor, action, and a lot of heart. This is writer Brian Lynch at his best!
There are also great puns and jokes in this issue about canon. First Spike is blasted by Smile Time’s Official Cannon, a literal cannon. Then Betta George breaks the fourth wall by saying:
“Seriously, I’m still feeling puppety. I can’t go canon as a puppet. The internet is complaining about me as it is.”
I can’t recommend this mini-series enough. This is smart, endearing and laugh-out-loud funny. A must-read for any Buffyverse fan, Muppet fans, or anyone looking for a hilarious read!
Spike: The Complete Series (Issues 1-8)
The Big Bad with a soul finally got his own book…well 8 issues anyway. He’s stepping out of Angel’s shadow and creating his own destiny in Las Vegas. However, the Wolfram & Hart branch of Sin City has plans for Spike that involve old flames and new friends. Spike teams up with Beck from Asylum, Betta George, and calls upon Buffy’s best pal Willow to work a spell or two. Two other notable characters from the television series return in this volume: one a blast from Spike’s past, the other a former rival of Angel’s.
Whedon and Lynch have confirmed this series as canon. Previous Lynch books, Asylum and Shadow Puppets are not confirmed canon, but I feel that they are essential chapters in the Buffyverse and that readers will appreciate this series and After the Fall more if they read Asylum and Shadow Puppets first.
Once again, I was impressed by Lynch’s development of Spike and his understanding of the characters in the Buffyverse. Fantastic writing and beautiful illustrations particularly Stephen Mooney’s work in issues 5-7. I recommend this series to Spike fans and anyone continuing onto Buffy Season 8.
- Fray, Angel: After the Fall 1-2, and Spike: After the Fall
- The Conclusion of Angel: After the Fall
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, volume 1!