With dark yet colorful artwork that can only be described as quirky (and astounding), dialogue that sounds like Whedon wrote it on a good day (which is astounding), and Spike moments that range from poignant, to revealing, to funny (done astoundingly), there is really no reason that Brian Lynch's "Spike: Asylum" isn't on the tippy top of your "To Read" list.
If you've liked IDW's Angel and/or Spike comics, you'll like this. Matter of fact, you'll love this. It's better than all the Angel mini-series, better than the intriguing "Spike vs. Dracula" and better than the Spike one-shots. Not to rag on those, because they--for the most part--are highly entertaining. "Spike: Asylum" is just on a different level. It, unlike the others, transcends comics; you don't have to be a comic lover, a comic reader, or even familiar with the medium to enjoy this series.
While it's not as addictive as "Buffy: Season Eight", it's no doubt as well-written. With a different writer writing or artist drawing the same story, the story might have seemed a bit too fast paced, but the creative team of Brian Lynch and Franco Urru handle the job in a manner that can be described as nothing but perfectly. This actually reads as if it was the pilot of a Spike series (if it were canon); there's a cast of memorable characters (a few of which we'll see again, judging from the covers of the upcoming Lynch/Urru project "Spike: Shadow Puppets), and it just makes me want to read more. This is not a series that it's okay to miss.
But why are you reading this? After reading Lynch's take on Spike, Joss Whedon himself contacted Lynch and told him he wants him to write "Angel: Season Six" in comic book form. That in itself is pretty much all I had to say in this review, but I'm a long winded kinda guy.
They don't call them "comic books" anymore, and they sure don't sell for a dime. "Graphic Novels," at least this one, have grown up considerably over the years, in every way from raw material to story content, a fact I was not aware of until just recently.
"Spike, Asylum" is targeted for the more mature fans, unlike the several paperbacks on the market, a fact that I find mildly ironic. But that has little to do with an assessment of this story.
The story consists of the results of our hero infiltrating a demon asylum in search of a missing girl' The inmates both know and hate Spike, which provides the excuse for all the action contained between these two covers.
The writing and artwork are adequate, and the title character reacts to his surroundings much the way as the one created by James Marsters, and there are quite a few inside jokes scattered throughout the story to make it a fun read for dyed in the wool Buffy fans, though those not familiar with the "Buffy," and "Angel" series may be somewhat lost. Keep that in mind when buying and reading this story, and you won't be disapointed.
This is one of the more intriguing plot lines of the post-TV Whedonverse. Largely in character (unlike most of the tie-in novels) with a nice mix of the usual Whedonverse elements -- violence, humor, and character development. One of the better tie-in offerings and worth the notice of any Spike fan.
This story takes place after the end of the Buffy TV show and after Spike has returned from the dead, soul intact. Spike is sought out by the Monhans, the parents of a part demon teenager who is being held against her will by a cult who operates the Mosaic Center. Her parents want Spike to rescue her and play upon his weakness for women to get him to agree. Spike commits himself to the Mosaic Center, although the place turns out to be quite different than what he expected. The place is more like a maximum-security prison for demons run by a giant slug-like warden. As you'd expect, Spike doesn't make friends too easily in the place and soon is butting heads with the leader of the vampire clique named Weisau. The only demons who don't want to kill spike is a small group of misfits. If that wasn't enough, Spike has just found out the real reason that the Monahans wanted Spike's help.
The trade paperback collects the entire five issue limited series from IDW. Spike is at his big-mouthed best in the book and it only serves to get him into more and more trouble. What seems to be a fairly simple plot is cut open to reveal much more once Spike is finally inside Mosaic and several interesting surprises are served up for the reader. Writer Brian Lynch moves the story along quickly. Artist Franco Urru is a new name for me but one who I hope to hear more about in the future. His rendering of Spike is spot on and he also gives readers some very interesting (and disgusting) looking fellow inmates. Look for a surprise guest star as well. IDW is doing a great job with the character.
Like many Spike and Whedon fans, I enjoyed Spike Asylum. The story is fairly meaty, though given it's a series that focuses on one character that's far easier to do than in the new Angel: After the Fall series that Lynch is also writing where there are any number of characters that need page-time.
I liked little touches such as a nod to the Gentlemen from BtVS S4 and some of the references to times past (particularly the eyepatched smartass). I think the thing that made the comic enjoyable is that I there's a sense that Lynch really enjoys writing for this character.
The storyline itself definitely casts Spike as a hero who, however reluctantly embarking on this mission, nonetheless quickly develops a sense of responsibility about the people he encounters and what he feels needs to be done in the demon asylum. It's also nice to get a cameo appearance from Lorne, who Lynch will later pair (to great effect) with Spike in Shadow Puppets. The artwork is also quite good and serves the story well.