James Marsters has forged an impressively diverse career, ambitiously roving between stage, television, film, and music, and now he returns to Dark Horse Comics with another fantastic piece of fiction to add to the Buffyverse. Pick up “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike—Into The Light” today at your local comic book shop, and hit the jump to read our review.
WRITTEN BY: James Marsters
ART BY: Derlis Santacruz
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: July 16, 2014
Reviewed By: ShadowJayd
James Marsters’ “Spike—Into The Light” is set in Greenville, California, near the beginning of season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s structured as an intimate exploration of Spike’s journey as a newly-souled vampire, learning to survive in a world where his inclination to sin has all but been overthrown by his arduous–though firm—effort to be good. Marsters takes the narrative in a direction that feels more personal and familiar, as he easily slips back into the iconic role he helped to define, and the results are admirable. His tangibly strong connection to the character allows him to provide deeper characterization and a distinctive level of poignancy and dark humour that significantly adds to the effectiveness of Spike’s tale of redemption and strife; ultimately leading the character out of the darkness and into the light.
The typical formula for a Buffyverse arc commonly consists of a prominently featured “Monster of the Week Moment” subplot. And while there is the expected demonic obstacle in Spike’s way, including many action-packed panels of engaging violence, Marsters creatively opts for the Big Bad storyline to take a backseat to souled-Spike’s narrative of self-discovery and post-acquired soul survival. Along for the ride is romantic love interest, Dylan, whom Marsters has said is modeled after his gorgeous wife, actress/singer-songwriter, Jasmine Marsters.
The artistic team behind this issue work in beautiful tandem to successfully convey Marsters’ story and vision, with an impressive grasp of tone, form, and technique. With tons of great detail, Derlis Santacruz allows the scope of the writer’s narrative to be told with his pencils, and demonstrates his ability to effectively illustrate character likeness to a degree on par with Whedonverse comics gem, Rebekah Isaacs. His artwork is lifted to extraordinary levels by colorist Dan Jackson’s large palette of gritty dark hues, which emphasizes the chaotic and somber-mood of Marsters’ one-shot perfectly. Jackson’s solid rendering work is terrifically complimented by Andy Owens’ bold inks.
Goodies: Following the end of Marsters’ “Spike—Into The Light” is a four-page art spread—presented by Dark Horse Comics editor-in-chief, Scott Allie—which features an exclusive look at cover artist, Steve Morris, and penciller Dan Jackson’s rough sketches and tryout pages for the Whedonverse.
James Marsters’ “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike—Into The Light” is a fan-must-have for your Buffy comics collection.
ShadowJayd, known everywhere else as Farah Jayden Hakkak, has been a staff writer for Bloody-Disgusting since July 2012. You can find her on Twitter, or passed out by the dirt road behind Wendy’s.