Spike, the charismatic other vampire-with-a-soul to love and fight alongside Buffy the Vampire Slayer, stars in his own eight-issue Vegas adventure beginning in October, courtesy of IDW Publishing. The series comes from the minds of the “Angel: After the Fall” team of Brian Lynch and Franco Urru, and with the recent announcement that Angel and associated characters will return to Dark Horse late next year, will likely represent Spike’s swansong at IDW. CBR News spoke with Lynch about his plans for the series which places Spike squarely in the spotlight.
Recent events in the “Angel” ongoing have seen Spike take an active interest in his legacy, employing writers to pen prophecies about him which he can then bring to fruition. There has also been suggestion that the blond vampire has somehow lost the soul he fought so hard to recover at the end of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” season 6. With two issues remaining in that arc, it’s uncertain whether these issues will play out in the core title or in Spike’s mini, but it seems clear Spike is ready to break out and do his own thing.
Lynch told CBR that, as the series begins, “a huge threat has popped up in Las Vegas. The city has become more evil than usual, and supernatural occurrences are happening all over town.” Spike volunteers for the mission, assembling his own crew. “He wants to be in charge for a change, and not have to follow anyone else’s lead, so he assembles his own team, full of people that he thinks will listen to him.
“The group consists of Beck from ‘Spike: Asylum’ and ‘Spike: Shadow Puppets,’ the very first Whedonverse books that artist Franco Urru and I did together. She’s a 21 year old firestarter who has always looked up to Spike. Only now she’s got some problems that she’s dealing with. Spike also enlists Betta George, the telepathic fish from ‘Angel: After the Fall,” the writer continued. “People seemed to really take to him and I’m excited to have him come back for more. Finally, Spike calls in some characters from the ‘Angel’ TV show. Saving some for a surprise, but fans of the show will definitely not be disappointed. In the very first issue alone, Angel and Illyria have some really great stuff to do.”
Joining Lynch on “Spike” is “Angel: After the Fall” collaborator Franco Urru. “I have worked with Franco on a ton of books now, and I find that that the man is all strengths. He’s so great at the little moments, and the epic hero beats and the big, apocalypse-a-poppin’ monsters-everywhere-you-look battles,” Lynch said. “I’ve said it before, but when I get an email with new pages from him, it’s like Christmas morning, I can’t wait to see how he brought my words to life. Any writer that works with him seems ten times as good as they are, the man is a master at handling any scope of scene. I hope I work with Franco for years to come.”
CBR asked Lynch about the dynamics of having Spike in the lead rather than as a supporting character, however prominent. “Having Spike headline a comic definitely makes for a different story than if Angel or Buffy took the lead,” Lynch said. “He handles things differently, he’s got a great, dark sense of humor about most situations, but above and beyond all that, he leads with his heart. He’s emotional, and that can either pay off great for him, or blow up in his face. Now that he’s taking the lead, he has this huge responsibility on his hands: not only to deal with the big threats but to look out for the core group he’s assembled. So there are some growing pains. It’s much easier to be part of a team than to lead it. And his solutions to things aren’t always clean or easy.
“I’m looking at this as what would happen if Spike headlined his own TV show. He’s a great leading man: you can go light or dark as you want and Spike goes with the flow,” Lynch continued. “As it’s Spike’s show this time, all the supporting cast are there to service his story. He’s not off on the side, making a pithy joke about the main character’s plan or problem, he’s front and center, making the plan, driving all the action – and then making a pithy joke.”
Though the story begins with Spike on a mission, this won’t be a usual Angel Investigations case, Lynch told CBR. “He doesn’t go about solving the supernatural problem in Vegas the same way Buffy or Angel would – that would be boring. Spike plants a flag, makes his presence known, ready to throw down. Once he’s arrived, the forces behind the supernatural occurrences send for people and other assorted creatures that have dealt with Spike in the past and are really excited about the prospect of going face-to-face with him again. This includes some faces that ‘Angel’ fans haven’t seen before, and a few they have. Definitely one in particular that fans have been chomping at the bit to see reunited with Spike.
“Very early on, Spike realizes that not only does he have this huge threat to deal with, he’s also dealing with all this personal stuff. Being the leader means taking care of your group. So it’s saving the world and handling people and their problems. Spike definitely has his hands full in ways he didn’t anticipate.”
Over the course of the miniseries, Spike will be facing “a great mix of both” familiar villains and new threats. “To save the day, he has to call in some familiar faces. The one I am most excited about (and the internet seems to agree with me) is Willow,” Lynch said. “I am a huge huge fan of her character, and I love her interactions with Spike from ‘Buffy,’ so I’m thrilled to have them interact and play again. It was extremely cool of Joss and Dark Horse to lend us Willow for a few issues.
“On top of that, Mariah [Huehner] (my ‘Spike’ editor) and I are talking to Scott Allie over at Dark Horse so the ‘Spike’ series flows into the ‘Buffy’ book. You’ll see how he got there and why he’s with the people he’s hanging out with. A kinda-sorta-very loose crossover like that makes it more fun for the reader. It adds to the feeling that this is a big ‘Spike’ event. It’s his time to shine, and we’re pulling out all the stops.”