I can't imagine any of this sticking either. I'm definitely leaning towards the "IDW screws with Joss" angle. However, since you mentioned it I just like to point out that Angel never manipulated time because of jealousy. Both times it was out of love.I haven't read it yet, but I was under the impression that nothing that IDW did after the return from hell was canon. I agree, if that is not the case, and if this is really supposed to be their attempt to tie their series in with what Dark Horse has been doing, then Spike's entire character is going to have to be reevaluated. Then again, it isn't as though Angel hasn't altered reality to serve his own wishes, so maybe Spike's just doing what he learned from granddaddy. (On a much larger scale, of course)
That would, of course, be a great way to serve both the Spuffy AND Bangel ships, if Spike were to end up with the girl, making the Spuffies happy, while the Bangels can say, "Yeah, but he had to cheat to do it. If Buffy were thinking straight, she would be with Angel." Then Season 9 could be about Angel finding a way to manipulate time yet again, this time so that HE gets the girl. Then the Spuffies can say, "Yeah, but Angel cheated too. Buffy was under a spell when she picked Angel this time, so ..." The gist being that Buffy wasn't acting on free will either way.
And once more the argument goes on. And on. And on. And...
---------- Post added 07-31-2010 at 12:11 AM ---------- Previous post was 07-30-2010 at 11:40 PM ----------
Just to add a little light on the "Spike returned from hell" question, this
Spike #1 (of 8) at TFAW.com
is TFAW's teaser for the Spike 8 part series coming up, which is, I believe, supposed to be IDW's attempt to tie their story line in with what is currently going on with Buffy at Dark Horse. It's supposed to explain how Spike got his weird vehicle, where the crew came from, and so on. Note that it refers there to Spike as the "vampire with a soul," so, apparently, at least for Issue #1, he still has his soul AFTER the return from hell, so I would say that at least the "returning from hell without a soul" part is wrong. Which isn't to say that he won't lose his soul during the next 7 issues, but I seriously doubt that Joss would accept anything like that major a change in one of his star characters to be considered canon.