"Alone Together Now"
Written by Brian Lynch
Art by Franco Urru
Editor: Mariah Huehner
Review by Patrick Shand
This is why I do these reviews. This sort of comic is why I made this site in the first place.
You might have noticed a lot less reviewage here. I've been doing the IDW Extravaganza here for a while now, and that will continue until the end of their ANGEL and SPIKE series. But there hasn't been a BUFFY or even an ANGEL review for a while now, which, as some of you pointed out, kind of goes against the name of the site. Well, I can promise that the SPIKE series, the ANGEL series (starting with #38), and the ILLYRIA mini will be reviewed in full... hopefully on their respective release dates. With all of these books, my passion for the comics has been reignited, and I'm glad to be excited about this wonderful universe again.
Now. Spike #1. Brian Lynch. Franco Urru. Neil Patrick Harris.
Well, maybe not that last. More on him later, though.
The issue starts with some background stuff. We have Spike narrating a scene in Las Vegas that involves murder, mayhem, and bugs. Not giant bugs, though. Casino-bugs that do the whole swarm and eat tourists thing. Then, more Spike narration over a montage of his life. He gets sired, he arrives in Sunnydale, Buffy's fist makes its first appearance in an IDW comic by punching Spike, Spike gets a soul, and then Spike admits that Angel is better than him, much to the chagrin of a bunch of Spuffy fans. Actually, though, not at all. The page I'm talking about, the image that was used as the exclusive NYCC cover, is not about evolution. It's not about who is better. It's the way Spike sees things, on a scale from "pure evil" to "so noble it's coma inducing." Spike is below Angel because, to him, he registers as a "chaotic 8 and a half." And that's the thing. Out of context, I can see how this would piss off fans who have spent years arguing that Spike is better than Angel or vice versa, but in context, it's just indicative of where Spike sees himself of the morality scale. He's a bad boy, the anti-hero who functions as a champion. He more than recognizes this; he revels in it.
Then, more set-up. Spike narrates the montage of him going to Wolfram & Hart, him going to Hell, the reaction to the release of "Last Angel in Hell," and then... then, my favorite moment of the issue. The loyal readers of "After the Fall" get some closure with Spider, wrapped up in the funniest "Twilight" parody since... well, probably since "Twilight" itself. Wait, what? You mean... "Twilight"wasn't parodying itself? It was... unintentionally that bad? Erm. Well. Shit.
So the "Twilight" of the Buffyverse is called "Twinkle," and Spider wrote it about Spike. There are a few scenes from the movie adaptation in the comic, and it's hilarious. Also, it's the segue from the pages of exposition to the actual meat of the comic. When a bunch of vampires decide to feast on some fans waiting in line to see the third installment of "Twinkle" ("Re-clipse"), Spike, Angel, and Illyria swoop in to save them. I love how Spike's behavior kind of riffs off the development he underwent in "Boys and their Toys," because even as he's working under Angel, it's apparent that he's aching to get out on his own. The two ensouled vampires still have the level of mutual respect (well, maybe more of a mix of respect and familial contempt) that they gained for each other in "After the Fall," but Spike is clearly antsy to go on his own adventure.
Which he does.
He picks up Beck. A sexier, more fiery, out of control Beck. He picks up Betta George, who rides in a sidecar on Spike's motorcycle. Picture it.
Based on "Asylum" and "Shadow Puppets," we know the team has chemistry (and I can't wait to see how they work with the fourth member, Groosalugg, who comes into play in issue #2), but we don't get much interaction time in this particular installment. Which is fine, because this issue is very much a set-up for things to come. It's a solid book, rife with hilarious lines and moments that are so damn in character that you'll start to forget that Brian Lynch didn't create Spike himself, but it does seem to scream "This is just the beginning." We're in for the most epic Spike tale that's ever been told, and the starting pistol has been fired.
The rest of the issue is essentially fast-paced action. A demon is making itself a giant body by sucking a bunch of Elvis impersonators to itself... which Spike has to deal with without hurting any of the innocent Elvises ("Er... Elvisii? Elvees?"), much to Beck's woe. She'd rather just torch the thing and call it a day. However, for the safety of Elvises everywhere, and also for the plot development, it's a good thing Spike told her to hold back. Right before kills the bearded, tendrilley demon responsible for the abundance of Elvises, he finds out that whoever hired this strange fellow knows him.
And then, things get super sexy. Like, remember when Buffy had sex in space? Well, actually, bad comparison, that was kind of just weird. Point being, the issue ends with Drusilla and a new enemy, all sorts of naked, talking about our lovely, bleach blond protagonist. Drusilla says that nothing the man does for her will ever be real, because Spike has her heart.
And then, the plot twist. The man says that he can do her one better. Spike has his soul.
Oh, also, Spike pokes fun at space sex. Yes.
So as I write this review, in formal attire-- What, you're surprised? Do you think that Brian Lynch deserves any less than to be reviewed by a dapper man in a suit? Well, actually, as much as Brian does deserve that, I'm dressed this way for International Suit Up Day. Are you not doing the same? Do the same. Neil Patrick Harris and Brian Lynch deserve no less.
I loved it. It was a fitting start to a series that I've been waiting for since it was announced almost two full years ago. Brian understand Spike in a way that no one else does, matching the quippy, clever Whedonesque dialogue with his own distinctly Brian-y style. I can't wait to see where he takes Spike, but I know it's gonna be one hell of a journey.
Also, check out Buffyfest's review of the issue.
Also also, man oh man... Franco's art. Best artist working in comics today, bar none.
Buy the damn thing.