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Week 16: Spike A Dark Place

Buffy Summers

Yataro
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Sineya
This week we are discussing Spike: A Dark Place (#1-5):

"Spike: A Dark Place #1"
Writer: Victor Gischler Penciller: Paul Lee
Having fought to regain his soul after falling in love with the Slayer Buffy, the once-terrifying vampire villain Spike has been a bit less fearsome (to humans, at least). On his own adventure, Spike is forced to examine the man he once was, the man he is now, and the man he still hopes to become.
As master of a steampunk ship filled with loyal, oversized alien cockroaches, Spike embarks on a journey to the dark side of the moon, setting into motion an adventure filled with demons, witches, and others who brew new evil in the world without magic!

"Spike: A Dark Place #2"
Writer: Victor Gischler Penciller: Paul Lee
Spike, traveling with a crew of cockroach-like aliens and stranded demons, is headed back from the dark side of the moon to… Sunnydale. If you’re a vampire on a walkabout who wants to gain some perspective and get over a girl (psst… it's Buffy), it might not be the best idea to return to the nostalgia-filled hometown you helped her destroy. But if you don’t have a choice, maybe the best hope is to find another way to put out the old flame…

"Spike: A Dark Place #3"
Writer: Victor Gischler Penciller: Paul Lee
Spike meets a demon in distress and a familiar, exceptionally nasty duo that are all after something buried in the rubble formerly known as Sunnydale. For a vampire with a soul and an aching heart, dabbling in a little villainy is a welcome distraction. But Spike will have to beware if the distraction becomes too much to handle…

"Spike: A Dark Place #4"
Writer: Victor Gischler Penciller: Paul Lee
Spike departs from the ruins of Sunnydale—and all those memories—with a demon who wants desperately to return to her home dimension. But with the loss of magic, her connection is lost. Spike, ever the hero, offers to help this mysterious damsel in distress in her journey to find any remnants of magic that might reconnect her to her world.

"Spike: A Dark Place #5"
Writer: Victor Gischler Penciller: Paul Lee
Spike and his new demon companion are getting along really well... On Easter Island, the duo work to activate a remnant of magic to help get Nadia home. Spike has stars in his eyes, but the bugs are wary of Spike’s newest friend and their master’s overly relaxed attitude. Something seems off. He’s come out of his self-inflicted dark place a bit too swiftly...

Source: Wikipedia
 

Priceless

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This is a very slight story, concerned mainly with Spike's soul searching, which isn't as dour as it sounds. The drawings by Paul Lee were some of th best I've seen in the comics. There were some good fun moments with the demon sturgeons and when the bugs take charge. I also liked Morgan the succubus a lot and hope we see her again one day.

The story, though seperate from the main arc, kept connected by showing Spike's short history with Pearl and Nash, and their search for a shard of the seed to restore magic.

It was an enjoyable read but I would only recommend it to big Spike fans.
 

wickedtiger86

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Sineya
I'm a big Spike fan!

You know, if the bugs hadn't tried to give Spike some happiness, just a tad of sunshine, then this whole amphibapocalypse could have been avoided. Also, I think I prefer frogpocaplypse.

I liked to see some of Spike's soul searching. I feel like it's been a while since we've been in his head. I also liked the part where one frame he was asking what you're supposed to do now? After asking himself a bunch of philosophical questions. And in the next frame he's chugging down a bottle of whatever, on the dark side of the moon. I mean, of course that's where he'd go.
 

thetopher

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I could barely finish this.
Thin plot, pointless flashback, the old IDW stand-by of having some skanky badgirl hang around Spike for 'reasons'.
The whole 'character arc' is never really resolved as we see when Spike goes over to A&F and ends up sleeping with Harmony to get over his Buffy-funk. :rolleyes:

You should be able to do so much more with a 5 issue arc devoted solely to one character, but by this point it's clear they don't don't know what to do with Spike away from Buffy...
 

Guy

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I could barely finish this.
Thin plot, pointless flashback, the old IDW stand-by of having some skanky badgirl hang around Spike for 'reasons'.

Yeah, that was weak.

The whole 'character arc' is never really resolved as we see when Spike goes over to A&F and ends up sleeping with Harmony to get over his Buffy-funk. :rolleyes:

I think the character arc IS resolved. Spike's arc in season 9 is about learning to take charge of his life without a woman to obsses over. And this mini-series concludes this arc with a bow, as he turns down what's-her-face and resolves to go on with his life, instead of running directly back to Buffy (even when he DOES eventually come back to San Francisco, it's for Dawn, not for Buffy). Now, the EXECUTION of this arc is very basic and pretty uninteresting, but the character arc itself does work. It moves Spike from one mental point to another, in a logical fashion.

As for his role in 'Angel & Faith', I thought it was very entertaining. I love whiny!Spike (remember 'Lovers Walk'?), and I don't think he was out-of-character in it, and Harmony is always fun. The only real problem with his role in 'Angel & Faith' is that it kinda feels like Spike regresses from where he was at the end of 'A Dark Place', but Spike snaps out of it by the end of it, and he continues his arc solidly when he gets back to the main 'Buffy' title, so I'm cool with it.

And in season 10, we see that Spike really did learn from season 9, and specifically from this mini-series, as he is no longer blindly obssesed with Buffy. In season 10, Spike is capable of making his own independent decisions, and is not just Buffy's shadow anymore. He's more equal to her. So, I think this mini-series' place in the canon is fine... It's just a shame that it isn't a more entertaining story.
 
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thetopher

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I think the character arc IS resolved.

Fair enough.

Spike's arc in season 9 is about learning to take charge of his life without a woman to obsses over. And this mini-series concludes this arc with a bow, as he turns down what's-her-face and resolves to go on with his life, instead of running directly back to Buffy (even when he DOES eventually come back to San Francisco, it's for Dawn, not for Buffy)

But he goes over to A&F and immediately hits on Faith, then Giles aunts, then ends up sleeping with vamp-Harmony. How is obsessing over ANY WOMAN going better than just obsessing over Buffy. A different kind of desperate?

As for his role in 'Angel & Faith', I thought it was very entertaining. I love whiny!Spike (remember 'Lovers Walk'?)

This isn't that guy, this is the guy from S5 Angel, the guy who comes in when Angel is doing something genuinely important, snarks at Angel to annoy him, calls him a Nancy boy or whatever and is ultimately inconsequential to the resolution of that plot.

I don't think he was out-of-character in it

There was a lot of Spike-fan outrage after the A&F arc, how Spike would never cheat on Buffy (?) with Harmony. How he would never dream of 'almost' wishing he didn't have a soul because he thinks Buffy liked him better that way.
There was a lot of volcanic level of hatred by Spike-fans for CG (and also despair when it was announced that he was going to write Buffy S10) which is of course now completely gone and he's now a magnificent writer...

But I don't think it was out of character either, I just think it goes against what we see here.

The only real problem with his role in 'Angel & Faith' is that it kinda feels like Spike regresses from where he was at the end of 'A Dark Place',

Thank you. Exactly my point, this arc doesn't resolve itself because of Spike's turn in A&F.

And in season 10, we see that Spike really did learn from season 9, and specifically from this mini-series, as he is no longer blindly obssesed with Buffy. In season 10, Spike is capable of making his own independent decisions, and is not just Buffy's shadow anymore. He's more equal to her.

Came back for Dawn (yeah, the writers remember there was a distant time in S5/6 where Spike cared that Dawn existed) but stayed for Buffy.
And I really don't see Spike as an equal in S10, he just doesn't hopelessly stalk Buffy anymore. But he's still in love with, still obsesses about a life with her, still believes that he could be what she wants and wants to be with her. It just manifests itself slightly differently.
That's not really an arc because Spike doesn't move on, he just changes his mindset.

And it has to be said that when their together Buffy treats Spike fairly appallingly and he just sits/stands there and takes it, tries to break up but she won't let him. Spike will always be Love's Bitch and therefore will never be Buffy's equal.
 

Guy

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But he goes over to A&F and immediately hits on Faith, then Giles aunts, then ends up sleeping with vamp-Harmony. How is obsessing over ANY WOMAN going better than just obsessing over Buffy. A different kind of desperate?

Like I said, Spike kinda regressed in 'Angel & Faith'. I was OK with it because I thought it was fun (I enjoy whiny!Spike), and because his arc continued properly once he got back to the 'Buffy' title.

This isn't that guy, this is the guy from S5 Angel, the guy who comes in when Angel is doing something genuinely important, snarks at Angel to annoy him, calls him a Nancy boy or whatever and is ultimately inconsequential to the resolution of that plot.

I enjoy AtS season 5 Spike too ("I'm his date"). And it's not all that different from 'Lovers Walk', really - In both cases, Spike is snarky toward Angel and resentful about a recent break-up.

There was a lot of Spike-fan outrage after the A&F arc, how Spike would never cheat on Buffy (?) with Harmony. How he would never dream of 'almost' wishing he didn't have a soul because he thinks Buffy liked him better that way.
There was a lot of volcanic level of hatred by Spike-fans for CG (and also despair when it was announced that he was going to write Buffy S10) which is of course now completely gone and he's now a magnificent writer...

Well, some people idealize Spike too much, and some people demonize Spike too much. I like to think that I'm somewhere in the middle - Spike is one of my top favorite characters, but I think he's a very flawed person. I mean, if he wasn't so flawed and human, I wouldn't be so interested in him.

And the "cheating on Buffy" accusations are obviously ridiculous. Also, I really liked how Gage reacted to that controversy in season 10, like when Buffy sees that Spike slept with Harmony and is all pissed off. Jealous people are funny to me.

But I don't think it was out of character either, I just think it goes against what we see here.

I mostly agree, but I'm OK with it. People regress sometimes, especially when they meet with people they haven't met in a long time. I could very easily buy Spike's actions in 'Angel & Faith', and they were entertaining to me. His arc wasn't really advanced in 'Angel & Faith', which is a shame, but meh. It was just 2 issues and change, and he got right back on track after returning to 'Buffy'.

Thank you. Exactly my point, this arc doesn't resolve itself because of Spike's turn in A&F.

I disagree. The last issue of this mini-series is a resolution in and of itself. Not an especially entertaining resolution, but a resolution. In 'Angel & Faith' Spike takes a step back, but in 'Buffy' he continues his arc from where it ended in the mini-series, so it works.

Came back for Dawn (yeah, the writers remember there was a distant time in S5/6 where Spike cared that Dawn existed) but stayed for Buffy.

Not really. Spike stayed because there was a big fight in Santa Rosita and he was needed there. And then he stayed to help with the vampyr book, and he got himself a job with the supernatural police unit. It's not like he was just there to be Buffy's shadow again.

And I really don't see Spike as an equal in S10, he just doesn't hopelessly stalk Buffy anymore. But he's still in love with, still obsesses about a life with her, still believes that he could be what she wants and wants to be with her. It just manifests itself slightly differently.
That's not really an arc because Spike doesn't move on, he just changes his mindset.

And it has to be said that when their together Buffy treats Spike fairly appallingly and he just sits/stands there and takes it, tries to break up but she won't let him. Spike will always be Love's Bitch and therefore will never be Buffy's equal.

Spike still loves Buffy, of course, and he still wants to be with her (which does NOT contradict this mini-series! This mini-series wasn't about Spike no longer loving Buffy, it was about Spike growing out of his obsessive tendancies. He still loves Buffy, but she isn't his whole world anymore), but he isn't blindly obsessed about her anymore. He has his own desires and his own interests and he seeks them out. And when Buffy treats him like crap near the end of the season, Spike says they should break up. That's a HUGE difference from who he was before. Pre-season-9 Spike would NEVER break up with Buffy, under any circumstance. In the end, Spike and Buffy seem to resolve their issues in season 10 (I still haven't read issue 29 of season 10, so no spoilers please!), and it feels very authentic and human to me, and it does NOT seem like Buffy just "won't let him" break up with her. They simply talk out their differences like adults, and Buffy convinces him to stay by changing her behaviour for the better, not just by asking that he'll be with her. I liked their little talk there a LOT.
 

thetopher

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Like I said, Spike kinda regressed in 'Angel & Faith'. I was OK with it because I thought it was fun (I enjoy whiny!Spike), and because his arc continued properly once he got back to the 'Buffy' title.

I enjoy AtS season 5 Spike too ("I'm his date"). And it's not all that different from 'Lovers Walk', really - In both cases, Spike is snarky toward Angel and resentful about a recent break-up.

Well, some people idealize Spike too much, and some people demonize Spike too much. I like to think that I'm somewhere in the middle - Spike is one of my top favorite characters, but I think he's a very flawed person. I mean, if he wasn't so flawed and human, I wouldn't be so interested in him.

And the "cheating on Buffy" accusations are obviously ridiculous. Also, I really liked how Gage reacted to that controversy in season 10, like when Buffy sees that Spike slept with Harmony and is all pissed off. Jealous people are funny to me.

I mostly agree, but I'm OK with it. People regress sometimes, especially when they meet with people they haven't met in a long time. I could very easily buy Spike's actions in 'Angel & Faith', and they were entertaining to me. His arc wasn't really advanced in 'Angel & Faith', which is a shame, but meh. It was just 2 issues and change, and he got right back on track after returning to 'Buffy'.

I disagree. The last issue of this mini-series is a resolution in and of itself. Not an especially entertaining resolution, but a resolution. In 'Angel & Faith' Spike takes a step back, but in 'Buffy' he continues his arc from where it ended in the mini-series, so it works.

Not really. Spike stayed because there was a big fight in Santa Rosita and he was needed there. And then he stayed to help with the vampyr book, and he got himself a job with the supernatural police unit. It's not like he was just there to be Buffy's shadow again.

Spike still loves Buffy, of course, and he still wants to be with her (which does NOT contradict this mini-series! This mini-series wasn't about Spike no longer loving Buffy, it was about Spike growing out of his obsessive tendancies. He still loves Buffy, but she isn't his whole world anymore), but he isn't blindly obsessed about her anymore. He has his own desires and his own interests and he seeks them out. And when Buffy treats him like crap near the end of the season, Spike says they should break up. That's a HUGE difference from who he was before. Pre-season-9 Spike would NEVER break up with Buffy, under any circumstance. In the end, Spike and Buffy seem to resolve their issues in season 10 (I still haven't read issue 29 of season 10, so no spoilers please!), and it feels very authentic and human to me, and it does NOT seem like Buffy just "won't let him" break up with her. They simply talk out their differences like adults, and Buffy convinces him to stay by changing her behaviour for the better, not just by asking that he'll be with her. I liked their little talk there a LOT.

Agree to disagree I guess. I don't see Spike in Season 10 is that much of a step-up from S7, he still doesn't stand up to Buffy, or challenge her or push her in any real way. He either accepts it or tries to run away/break up. That's not equality in any real sense and its not grown-up.
One of the reason I never cared for the ship. It's not just to do with Spike, its that the two characters don't add up to anything together, quite the opposite- they detract. I'm convinced that Spike would be a better, more fully rounded character if he stayed far away from Buffy, but clearly the comic writers disagree.

Anyway, the point- they could've done so much more with Spike here. Have him have a real epiphany and decide to move on from Buffy, resolve to become her stalwart friend and ally just like Xander did. Maybe find love somewhere else with a fresh start.
But nope, he's all 'I'm still in love with you' in S10. Big raspberry and no real hopes of him growing beyond the ship like Angel and Riley did. In the bigger scheme of things this really is disappointing.
 

Guy

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Agree to disagree I guess. I don't see Spike in Season 10 is that much of a step-up from S7, he still doesn't stand up to Buffy, or challenge her or push her in any real way. He either accepts it or tries to run away/break up. That's not equality in any real sense and its not grown-up.
One of the reason I never cared for the ship. It's not just to do with Spike, its that the two characters don't add up to anything together, quite the opposite- they detract. I'm convinced that Spike would be a better, more fully rounded character if he stayed far away from Buffy, but clearly the comic writers disagree.

Agreeing to disagree is fine, of course. :) I personally think that Spike's best stories are with Buffy ('Fool for Love', 'Dead Things', 'Beneath You', etc...) but that's just me.

Anyway, the point- they could've done so much more with Spike here. Have him have a real epiphany and decide to move on from Buffy, resolve to become her stalwart friend and ally just like Xander did. Maybe find love somewhere else with a fresh start.
But nope, he's all 'I'm still in love with you' in S10. Big raspberry and no real hopes of him growing beyond the ship like Angel and Riley did. In the bigger scheme of things this really is disappointing.

1) They definitely could have done much more in this mini-series, I agree.

2) I think they DID have Spike decide to become Buffy's friend like Xander. At the beginning of season 10, Spike doesn't show any romantic interest in Buffy. He still loves her, sure, but he decides to move on and be his own man. Just like Angel after 'Graduation Day', except that circumstances made them keep working together. The Buffy/Spike story in season 10 developed out of that.
 

GoSpuffy

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I finally read this arc and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. They lost me at "giant bugs on a space ship". Lame. But in the end it was interesting and it did show me a step I was missing in Spike's S10 journey.
 
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