I decided I will read and review Spike miniseries #1 when I first saw the preview pages - and that was eons ago. The preview panels were amusing enough and the art looked adequate to the purpose of telling Spike's latest story, so my interest was piqued enough to grant a trip to the comic shop on the day of release. Unfortunately it also turned out that the preview pages were more interesting as standalone teaser, than when they became an introduction to the entire first chapter of the story - because quite frankly the opening issue of the miniseries did not live to its expectations.
Oh, it definitely was not a complete waste of time and money as it was at times funny, at times cute - but the comic could not hold my interest on the same level that the preview pages had generated. And the reason is simple : despite the outlandish exterior settings ( the Dark Side of the Moon!), steam-punk trappings of Spike's spaceship, and his bizarre yet funny team of giant cockroach companions, the story itself is quite plainly derivative. And I am not complaining about the triviality of the main plot kick off- after all said and done as it was once said by a professional - there are only two stories to be retold in fantasy genre : a stranger comes to town, or somebody goes on a journey. But it is a matter of how this particular journey kicks off that makes me shruggy . Spike had been on a bender after being rejected by various girlfriends at least twice before, and it always ended in him getting into even bigger trouble, thus trivializing his original 'trauma' and making him move on to the next obsessive crush. In the end of the day, Spike's love bitch mentality is simply too ingrained as behavioral pattern to expect any other outcome but him shaking off the dust of his latest fall from his bum, and starting planning the next attempt at 'taking over the world' aka getting into (Cecily, Drusilla)Buffy's, or some other girl's pants.
The problem with Spike as a the character post his ensoulment plot, has always been that he simply has no internal conflict and therefore no purpose aside from the aforementioned quest of getting to be loved by somebody. (But he did substitute it briefly with getting to best Angel in everything - or anything for a while, while in AtS S5.)
Spike does not think of himself as someone destined for anything big - therefore he does not struggle with that destiny like Buffy, he feels no overwhelming need to atone for his past sins because he does not give a fig about atonement, he has no concerns over the world 's fate after the destruction of magic, he has no real friends - with and for whom he would be willing to ride into mortal danger, he has not even a great ambition, like for example appropriating enough funds to upgrade his blimp to something as big and comfy as Millennium Falcon and go on to become the greatest space smuggler of his time ever. All he really has a is a 'ship' full of loyal space insects, who treat him half like an apple-of-their -eye-spoiled-child, half like capricious tyrant (which makes him look like something of an Emperor Kuzco's character from the Emperor's new Groove cartoon), and his ever broken - and ever resilient to self-evaluation heart - once again set on him getting to be Buffy's ( substitute some other girl's name if looking at past precedents.)
I mean , I understand the appeal of 'bad boys'; what I don't get is appeal of spoiled children, who bounce cigarette bums of their parental figures' heads ( somebody should trick Spike into giving Sebastian the bug a pair of old socks - so poor 'house-elf' can be set free!), and continue to mope over rejecting girlfriend while his loyal crew goes out to fight off the Moon Kermit - risking their precious antennae for this fancy. Oh, I get it that the bugs are there exactly because Spike is incompatible with any other crew but one made of adoring not-human clones, who dare to be cautiously sarcastic only when his Majesty's distracted, and would go into 'squish me with your boot of justice!' routine at first sight of trouble.
Can you imagine Spike trying to behave this way and getting away with it while being a captain of Serenity ? A head of Angel Investigations? A commander of the Slayer Army? Yet Spike gets away with being the center of his personal universe-within-a-blimp without the writer of the series batting an eyelash, and the audience is supposed to concentrate on his internal (rather trivial) melodrama for frigging 8 pages - without giving us a single glimpse at Spike worrying about anything or anybody else but his traumatized self.
Now, I get it that Spike's supreme self-centeredness is supposed to be part of his 'charm', I get it that Spike is supposed to arrive at some destination - eventually - with a new resolve and newly found ways to operate his 'shiny new soul'. It better begin to happen soon though, because internal monologues, somewhat childish humor, and iguana-like Space Pirates - who apparently gathered on the Moon to plan the Seed fragments mining operation in Sunnydale (?) can only take the series that far. On the side note - I am also disappointed that Spike did not compose any awful new poetry. One would have though the Dark Side of the Moon was a poetic enough setting to make him start rhyming - apparently the booze and overdose on sugary doughnuts suppressed his artistic gland.