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Spike : The Devil You Know

"Spike : The Devil You Know" Comic Book - Issue 2 - Newsarama.com Review

Wednesday 21 July 2010, by Webmaster

In certain ways, Spike: The Devil You Know #2 is written for those coming in late for the story, and in that regard this book works pretty well. If you have even the slightest inkling of who Spike is — ever seen one episode or even one commercial with the Joss Whedon character — this issue works as a solid, albeit not revolutionary, beat-’em-up thriller.

I think a lot of that goodwill, of course, comes from artist Chris Cross, who gives some speed and mood to the fight sequences. Yeah, Spike himself doesn’t exactly look stylish when he’s in full-on vampire mode, but that’s because of fidelity to the original television designs, and nothing more. What I thought was most visually interesting, however, was Spike’s ally Eddie, who is able to transform into one cool-looking demon. While Spike himself doesn’t quite have the visual oomph — again, created for TV, where the look isn’t nearly as important as the story and performance — Eddie translates really well into comics, with his horns and tail and blue skin really bringing a nice change of pace to the fight.

Writer Bill Williams, out of all of this, is pretty well content to stay out of Cross and company’s way. He’s got a couple of chuckle-worthy moments coming from our bantering heroes — particularly with Spike defending his "manly scent" to his demonic companion — but past that (well, past that and one admittedly cool beat at the end of a fight) the characterization is lighter than you might want. Then again, that could be the television influence at play here — you have to have a character that people can understand quickly, and you can’t have "EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG!!" every few episodes. Even still, it’s a little disappointing not to get more into Spike’s head.

This book, while visually crafted very much for the mainstream comic fan, isn’t necessarily a home run. While the art looks good, ultimately the characterization preaches to the choir rather than bringing in new converts. Of course, that’s a bit of a double-edged sword: Spike: The Devil You Know #2 is certainly easy enough to jump into, but will new readers want to stick around?