After a delayed release, Victor Gischler and Dark Horse Comics finally deliver with the fifth, and final, installment of Spike: A Dark Place. While some fans seem hopeful that the extended hiatus will bring forth a satisfying and momentous ending to Spike’s journey, the creative team struggles to develop the full potential of the series, leaving a lot to be desired and questioned.
WRITTEN BY: Victor Gischler
ART BY: Paul Lee
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: January 23rd
After Morgan reveals that she has one of the missing shards of The Seed, which she plans to use to open the Hellmouth, issue #5 begins with Spike hot on the Courtesan demon’s heels as she leaps through the spaceship’s window and towards the monolithic statues of Easter Island. It’s hard to tell whether Paul Lee took artistic inspiration, specifically, from Rano Raraku or Ahu Akivi, but as far as World Heritage Sites go, incorporating one of such cultural and physical significance as a location for a Hellmouth is one of the best things that happen in this mini. My only fastidious qualm is that the Maori were perhaps too well preserved in print.
Morgan calls on the Maori guardians to open the Hellmouth, only for the statues to come alive and wreak havoc upon her and Spike. For a situation as grave as the one presented, I’m a little surprised by Gischler’s creative choice to portray an almost playful interaction between Spike and Morgan. But on the other hand, it appears as though we’re supposed to empathize with her plight to return back to her home dimension, and understand that desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s just really difficult discerning where the succubus stands in terms of alignment; though I’d classify Morgan under Chaotic Neutral. Her freedom comes first, while Good and Evil come second to her need to be free; and the only reliable thing about her is how utterly unreliable she is.
Regarding Sebastian, Frisky, and the rest of Spike’s loyal space bug minions, this issue sees the crew fighting to save their Master until the bitter end; but at a quasi-significant cost.
Overall, “Spike: A Dark Place” #5 is an average issue that delivers as much as the readers probably expect at this point in the game. Gischler and Lee capture the voice and likeness of Spike to an uncanny degree, but that’s not going to make me disregard the plot holes this series has to offer. By the end of the mini, I’m left wondering why the shard from The Seed is never mentioned after Morgan uses it; I’m curious as to the significance of the superfluous Pearl and Nash cameo in issue #3 that ultimately lead to nothing; and I’m also questioning the rationalization concerning Spike’s trip to the freakin’ Moon.
Fortunately, there’s some slightly meaningful character development regarding Spike’s wanderer spirit and sense of home/belonging, and the series closes with an interesting cameo from a fan-favourite character that sets up Spike’s next adventure in London, England. Goodbye bugs, hello “Angel & Faith”.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd