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Thread: Spike mini #1 [full spoilers]

  1. #581
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    I don't think Spike is truly like that anymore because he has stayed away from her for so long. Which is why we see him come and hang around and then openly declare why sticking around once the threat is over doesn't work for him anymore, he won't make excuses to stay. Personally, I think they left it that he is giving her space to sort out what she wants from her life because he can't add to her making those personal decisions, he'll be back around at some point but he makes no declarations about when so they are clearly not tied to each other at the moment, on either side. How committed Spike's heart feels to Buffy, how much his hopes lie with her even if they are apart is kind of what I expect him to face a bit of in the mini. He needs to be doing what he wants to do for him rather than filling time until he next decides he will breeze by and see how she is and whether she wants him around at that point. It kind of figures in to what you are saying. They both need to be happy with their individual life choices without them being dependent on what the other is doing, only then can they really see if they can healthily meet in what they want. We'll see how it pans out (that is my S9 mantra).

    Look, look!!!! Less than 7hrs to go!!!

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    Seemed a pretty good issue. I think Spike's voice, both externally and internally, sounds as good as the same sincere anglophile effort it's always been, and I think he is in a pretty reasonable place emotionally. We never get, in this issue, to really see what possible horrible lightbulb has gone off in his head, although Maggie will be happy that the possibility that he chase down humanity the way he did his soul is not at all ruled out in the book, especially with his "it's always the dark" lament. When he hits a wall he changes the rules.

    The bugs are cute, but they already overloaded in this book. And the villains did nothing for whatsoever.

    I'm sure it is on the verge of being overanalyzed beyond any possibility to enjoy it, so wanted to get in early and say -- pretty good issue, no major surprises, reinforces all the "we're in Act II of a romance" vibe.

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    I just read the issue, I found it funny and quite enjoyed seeing Spike in board shorts
    Can't wait for the rest of the issues.

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    I read it and loved it...crap...maybe I'll get the next one. Once demon girl shows I'll put a hold on it.

    Lots of thoughts regarding this issue...and yeah, Spike going for humanity isn't ruled out. But there are also other threads to where this might lead him. There are so many things I want to discuss about it, but at the moment, can't. Sleep requirements, moving in the hot summer, and stomach aches suck.



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    Dedicated Spike Fan Maggie's Avatar
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    I love the boots and the shorts. He's such a dork.

    The villains are a plot device, but it's useful to have an amphibious demon -- sort of mirroring Spike who also belongs to two different worlds.

    I think he's pretty clearly going to turn back to the "dark" for a while -- whatever that means for him. But it won't take. The natural order for Spike has him in the light.

    I'd love it if he was heading for human. His fantasy of him and Buffy at the beach says he wants it. In addition to the beat of steps will be taken, steps must be taken... to restore the natural order, I thought the last line about jettisoning the dead weight was promising. OTOH, the natural order for Spike could be him coming to terms with his status as a vampire who belongs in the light, even if he can only have it with special windows installed. Still, vampires aren't natural and so I'd rather that the restoration of the natural order for him involves him becoming human. But dark turn first, I'm sure.

    I liked the way Spike was presented here. I like the way he's self-aware and completely lacking in self-awareness at the same time. I like the way he overhears himself and changes course. It just felt like my Spike. A depressed Spike, to be sure. But still my guy.

    Long and boring analysis: Spoiler-tagged to spare King and others:

    Spoiler:
    I have been moved to meta. Maybe itís because this comic is all about my guy. Maybe itís because Iíve had a month to ponder this. But in my head itís because we finally get some writing that triggers thiky thoughts, and honestly that hasnít happened to me thus far in season 9. So here goes.

    The opening page starts with an image of Spikeís ship sailing past the light side of the moon to get to the dark side of the moon. Heís thinking about Pink Floyd.

    ďThere is no dark side of the moon really, says Pink Floyd. As a matter of fact itís all dark.Ē

    Spikeís not oblivious to the fact that heís just sailed past the light side of the moon. He goes on to say that Pink Floyd isnít exactly scientifically accurate.

    ďI guess thatís Roger Waters making with the metaphor. Clever wankers, those rock stars.Ē

    Indeed. Dark Side of the Moon, which was a huge album back in the 1970s, is all about mental illness. When you are depressed, everything is black. And even if you know that itís the depression that skews everything black, itís still black. You can see that your brain is lying to you and still be absolutely beholding to the lie.

    Light/dark. Truth/lie. Real/Image. Spikeís confused about all of it.

    Spike in the Solarium

    The central business of #1 has to do with the bugís plan to cheer Spike up. The preview pages gave us a hint of what the bugs had in mind. We saw one of them scuttling by with a cardboard sun in hand. A fake solarium was going to be built so that Spike could sit in fake light rather than brood in the darkness as heíd been doing.

    But I was surprised when the bugs hoisted him up and started hauling him into the solarium while pushing the button to raise the blinds. They literally threw him into the sunÖ as it turns out theyíve fixed the glass with the stuff used at W&H, so Spike can actually bask in the sun in a pleasant non-fatal sort of way. And this is where we get all sorts of delightful complexity.

    To back up a minute, letís start with Spike brooding about Buffy. He goes to sit in the solarium, with the blinds fully down.

    ďThe solarium was going to be her place. A place of light.Ē

    But not some place Spike could go.

    ďItíll always be darkness for me, luv. My sort canít take the light, can they?Ē

    Spike left Buffy because he doesnít want to be her dark place, but thatís all he can be. He passionately wants something thatís absolutely impossible for himÖ which trust me is exactly the recipe for a dark brooding depression.

    Because depression paints everything black, itís impossible to see how to make things change. So the bugs take it on themselves, taking steps to make the sun vampire-safe. But they donít stop there. The cardboard sun is taped to the window, along with cardboard palm trees. Theyíve made a fake beach for Spike, and when we first see him in his new vampire-friendly solarium, heís basking in the sun in a beach chair with an umbrella drink in hand.

    Before unpacking all of this, can I just say that I love Spike sunbathing in swimming trunks with his boots still on? Thatís almost as great as the white sock panel from #36. Heís such a dork.

    Anyway, thereís Spike, basking in the real sun, in a room with a fake sun taped to the wall to give the illusion that Spikeís at the beach. Even better, Spikeís sunbathing with eyeball protectors on his eyes, so heís not looking at the fake sun or the fake palm trees. Heís basking in the real sun, eyes shut to the props. As weíll see later on in the issue, heís probably imaging him and Buffy at a real beach. But heís not at a real beach, much less at a real beach with the real Buffy. It is an illusion. But heís still in the real sun. Not looking at it because the brightness would burn his eyes.

    Sebastian tells him they got the idea for the fake beach from a magazine Buffy left behind. Spike doesnít go all maudlin at the mention of Buffy. Instead, he dismisses the ad they modeled Spikeís beach on as a ploy by Madison Avenue to get people to buy their products as a way of avoiding dealing with the mind-numbing dreariness of their own lives. Seb asks him why people would fall for it, and Spike says:

    ďThatís an easy one. Because they want to.Ē

    He then settles back in with his eye protectors to keep sunbathing in the real sun with the fake beach in his head. Sebastian then makes his big mistake. He leans in and says that Spike must be too smart to do that sort of thing. Spike observes it can be hard to tell when the bugs are being sarcastic. He then sits up in his chair and looks out at the bleak landscape of the light side of the moon. And decides that heís not going to be taken in by chicanery.

    Spike: ďRight, then. Itís got to go. The whole lot. Out with it.Ē

    Sebastian: ďButÖ but.. is not the light warm and comforting.Ē

    Spike: ďYouíve got a cardboard sun here, Seb. And a proper beach is near the sea. Splash and frolic. All that.Ē

    Sebastian: ďWeíre not going back to the dark side, are we, sire?Ē

    Spike: ďYeah, well, it may not be bright and shiny but at least itís believable.Ē

    What I love about all of this is that in rejecting the illusion, Spike is also rejecting the reality. He wants to be in the light, and he was in the light. He was seeing it in an illusory way, and because he recognizes that was an illusion, he concludes that the only thing thatís believable is something thatís all dark. And so he rejects the real light he was really basking in. This is again exactly right about how depression works. We are so focused on illusions about what we want, that we donít know that we actually have what we want, right now, in a non-illusory form. Rather than accept what we want in a way we donít want, we choose to sail back into the dark. Thatís more believable. But itís a lie.

    I love how the lie is inescapable. To escape one lie, Spike tells himself another.

    Presumably this is also a good mirror for Buffy. She wants normal, and thereís something real in that desire. But itís also a lie. Spike broods on a strand of her hair and wonders if itís the hair of a golden girl or synthetic fiber from a robot. Intervention echoes one more time. Buffy has been so detached from her reality she didnít even notice she was a robot. Itís been an interesting inversion of Intervention. There Spike constructed his own illusion. But came to himself in a real way when he had to put himself on the line for the real deal, Buffy. This time he tried to woo a Buffy!bot, thinking she was Buffy. And while she was, sort of; she also wasnítÖ and neither she nor Spike noticed. So what was the attraction? Was it the underlying unreality of the whole thing?

    In season 6 Spike and Buffy danced around the light/dark imagery and the real/fake imagery. Buffy came to Spike telling herself she deserved no better than the dark. In doing so she was embracing something of value (her connection to her slayer power, the part of her that dances in the dark). But she did so in a way that was a lie, and so when she rejected the lie (as she had to), she also rejected something real. Season 7 had given us a lot of healing. It seemed like Buffy and Spike had gotten real with each other and themselves.

    So is this regression? Or was season 7 one of those false epiphanies? They had a period of clarity, but maybe that was a lie too, masking an underlying unwillingness on both sides to really settle into the real. When the crisis had passed, neither of them could make a move toward each other. Weíll see how things unfold. But remember the basic dilemma. These swings from one illusion to the opposite illusion are born of an unwillingness to settle for whatís real. As long as you can avoid it you can dwell in fantasy, with alternating bouts of longing and despair.

    Anyway, back to Spike. He decides the dark is more believable. We can guess heís heading off to flirt with the dark for a while. And heís going to figure out what he should be able to figure out now. He doesnít belong in the dark. He belongs in the harsh light of day.

    Steps Must Be Taken

    Sebastian repeats that phrase three times. On his fourth iteration of the phrase, he finally completes it: steps must be taken to restore the natural order. He says that as Spike lounges in the solarium. If Spike in the solarium is the destination, what natural order are we talking about? It canít include a fake beach. Does the natural order have Spike in the sun, but still forced to hide behind necro-tempered glass? Or is it something more? A girl can dream, and hope that the dead weight will, in fact, be jettisoned.

    In the meantime, Spike goes to war with amphibian demons. Is his journey aimed at learning how to live when you belong not entirely to the water or to the land? Or is it aimed at finally choosing? Right now he thinks he has to choose, and he thinks he really only has one option. We know life in the dark isnít going to work out for him. The natural order for Spike has him in the light. But does it have him in the light the only way an amphibious/non-natural being like himself could be in the light? Or will steps be taken for Spike to find a way onto a real beach?
    Last edited by Maggie; 22-08-12 at 08:30 AM.

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  9. #586
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    The bugs are cute, but they already overloaded in this book. And the villains did nothing for whatsoever.

    I'm sure it is on the verge of being overanalyzed beyond any possibility to enjoy it, so wanted to get in early and say -- pretty good issue, no major surprises, reinforces all the "we're in Act II of a romance" vibe.
    In the main I thought the art was good. I wasn't totally convinced by the washed out look in the colours but it does look more like Spike than a lot of S9 artwork has to me. The voice of Spike was great, spot on I thought and that is where my love of this issue resides, I feel like I am seeing my guy.

    I think the second issue will probably show how much of an 'Act II of Spuffy' it is likely to be or a 'lets see him move on'. This issue was ever going to be heavy on the Buffy mourning. Not to say it has to be specifically Buffy on the panels but the vibe at the moment is him wanting to be able to have something that isn't a false wish so Spuffy or onwards is unclear from that to me. It could be that the false is being with Buffy as much as the sunlight so yeah, romance vibe is there but not necessarily Buffy ridden. But yeah, any deeper thoughts would definitely be on the overanalysis bent.

    I could have lived without the shorts personally, I just can't see him having those in his wardrobe, ha! My only actual complaint is that, if the baddies knew he was a vamp as they called him a bloodsucker and they want to jettison him, why not just stake him? Or just leave him on the moon?

    When he hits a wall he changes the rules.
    And this is the crux of it. Whether there is a romance angle heavy in the mini or not this is one of the things I love about this character and King has it spot on. If he has got himself to this level then things must alter. Demon lady could well be him feeling he should accept his place in the dark for him to come out the end of the series with a drive/plan which rebels against this and gives him a determined path out of it. So yeah, I can see the humanity chase more than I had thought it may be played. But there is a real feel of him internalising and seeking out the issue without it being all about Buffy, she is played as the catalyst here, and that I am really happy about. My hope to see him figure things out is here in this issue and if each goes on where external events just inform and play into his internal musings and considerations (rather than them dictating them) I will remain a happy camper.

    I really enjoyed this.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie
    What I love about all of this is that in rejecting the illusion, Spike is also rejecting the reality. He wants to be in the light, and he was in the light. He was seeing it in an illusory way, and because he recognizes that was an illusion, he concludes that the only thing that’s believable is something that’s all dark. And so he rejects the real light he was really basking in. This is again exactly right about how depression works. We are so focused on illusions about what we want, that we don’t know that we actually have what we want, right now, in a non-illusory form. Rather than accept what we want in a way we don’t want, we choose to sail back into the dark. That’s more believable. But it’s a lie.
    Yes, this is the flag waving at us about where this mini is going (and why I don't think the mini will be about a romance itself) and, as you say, are we lifting his belief that he should be in the dark so that he accepts himself as a vamp who belongs in the light, accepts his souled/vamp combo or are we looking at a Spike who is going to find a path that leads him into the literal light. Going on the solarium scene he is not wanting to accept himself in a substitute scenario, he wants the real deal. If that is a conclusion that he comes to then he will follow it with determination.
    Last edited by Stoney; 22-08-12 at 08:46 AM.

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    Good and fun issue. The bugs are hilarious, "Sodding off, Master", but don't hesitate to pick on Spike which in the end he really appreciates. OK don't fool yourself Spike, but also don't deny small harmful pleasures. I miss Spike's self-deprecating humor though
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    Ha, my mind is still churning. There is a link here with his slightly contemptuous comments about Buffy's magazine towards the way he viewed her suburbia utopia when he left. He said he wanted normal but then was pretty scathing towards her wistful musings and glances at Buffybodybot's set up, down to the wine being a bad choice! But we see him then feel he is accepting a falsehood in the solarium even though it is the real sun. The suburbia normal is one version of normal. And as disparaging as he may be of a reality sat in front of him that he thinks he can't have, he is still sat there daydreaming about running along a beach hand in hand in the surf. If he wants normal and Buffy wants normal what's the problem? How much is his perceived reality affecting by how much he feels he can fit in? He says he wants it but doesn't truly believe a 'real' light ridden normal is something he can even genuinely contemplate achieving. He thought that they could 'play' at being normal with the pregnancy thang. His wish/fantasy is to have normal and be in the light but he doesn't believe it is actually a possibility. He in fact defensively rejects and scorns it when it is there in front of him with Buffy looking fondly at it rather than trying to embrace it with her. His need to accept his right to be in the light is probably pretty much mirrored by the same degree to which Buffy feels like she shouldn't be in the supernatural world to qualify as having a normal life.
    Last edited by Stoney; 22-08-12 at 10:00 AM.

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    I know I haven't read it yet, but dear lord this all sounds like a right load of silly nonsense. Thank god those Bugs dumped Spike, so at least he'll be away from the damn things for a while.

    Sadly so far thats the only positive element I can see in this so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sueworld View Post
    I know I haven't read it yet, but dear lord this all sounds like a right load of silly nonsense. Thank god those Bugs dumped Spike, so at least he'll be away from the damn things for a while.

    Sadly so far thats the only positive element I can see in this so far.
    The bugs haven't dumped him, they are still all on board together at the mo with the baddies.

    And anyway, what sounds like a load of silly nonsense? The comments about him deep in self contemplation? The nods towards his barriers against being allowed 'normal'? The potential development of his wishes regarding romance? His potential search for humanity? The balance of his dark nature with his desire to be in the light?

    Or is it just because his supporting cast are bugs? Sentient creatures that were considering his state of mind and played into helping him to reconsider his self-depreciating attitude?

    This was a good issue imo, and showed the mini has really good potential development for the character being lined up. I suspect you could have made your post before anyone else had even made one let alone before you see it.

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    And anyway, what sounds like a load of silly nonsense? The comments about him deep in self contemplation? The nods towards his barriers against being allowed 'normal'? The potential development of his wishes regarding romance? His potential search for humanity? The balance of his dark nature with his desire to be in the light?
    The heavy handed way in which it's done? The fact It's been channeled through the most idiotic set up imaginable?

    Only two things am I'm sure about when it comes to this. A) the whole comic was shoved together at the last moment,, mainly because DH want to earn extra cash by splitting all the characters off into separate comics, (christ do they think we're that dim that we wouldn't realise that?) and B)I believe It's an excuse for DH to reshape Spikes character into something more akin to their liking and to get him to ditch Buffy for good.
    Last edited by sueworld; 22-08-12 at 10:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sueworld View Post
    The heavy handed way in which it's done? The fact It's been channeled through the most idiotic set up imaginable?

    Only two things am I'm sure about when it comes to this. A) the whole comic was shoved together at the last moment,, mainly because DH want to earn extra cash by splitting all the characters off into separate comics, (christ do they think we're that dim that we wouldn't realise that?) and B)I believe It's an excuse for DH to reshape Spikes character into something more akin to their liking and to get him to ditch Buffy for good.
    Well the character voice seemed very, very good to me. The story's theme is naturally progressive for him so I can't see how this is them reshaping his character in any way tbh. If he moves away from Buffy for good that wouldn't be out of the bounds of feasibility, but him sticking around her to just be a sidekick who romantically longs but never is chosen would be pretty boring and insulting to the character if they did that. He is a character with enough depth that it would be a waste, so if (and I don't personally think it is the case), if his story with Buffy has run its course I would rather see him off somewhere else and continue with the character than lose him.

    Anyway, it may have been a short notice decision to do the mini but that doesn't change the fact that there are 5 issues focussing on his character. There is no reason why that can't just be good and this first issue indicates that it has been done well.

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    Well the character voice seemed very, very good to me. The story's theme is naturally progressive for him so I can't see how this is them reshaping his character in any way tbh. If he moves away from Buffy for good that wouldn't be out of the bounds of feasibility, but him sticking around her to just be a sidekick who romantically longs but never is chosen would be pretty boring and insulting to the character if they did that.
    Hey, here's a novel idea, but how about the middle ground? It doesn't have to be either extreme you know.
    Last edited by sueworld; 22-08-12 at 11:23 AM.

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    Not particularly impressed either. It's okay. Nothing to get that excited about. The attempts at humour all fell flat for me.

    Spike's character voice is mostly all right, though if you want to nitpick, there are IMO a couple of false notes, notably the 'rock stars are clever wankers' comment. I don't think Spike would ever refer to anyone as a 'rock star' unless he was being sarcastic.

    I like that the artist gave Spike his own docs to wear rather than those silly Captain John boots, though. Also the rather boring villains kayo Spike with Thor's hammer.

    Loki reference? Probably not, but it amuses me anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sueworld View Post
    Hey, here's a novel idea, but how about the middle ground? It doesn't have to be either extreme you know.
    Obviously. But they have just established Spike in Buffy's book as still being in love with her and not wanting to sit around on the fringes of her life so for them to work towards him returning to BtVS, not being with her but happy to sit on the fringes of her life or not being with her but suddenly not being bothered any more, are not very character progressive and pretty unrealistic, respectively.

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    are not very character progressive and pretty unrealistic, respectively.
    Sums up why I have problems with how DH has chosen to write him really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sueworld View Post
    The heavy handed way in which it's done? The fact It's been channeled through the most idiotic set up imaginable?

    Only two things am I'm sure about when it comes to this. A) the whole comic was shoved together at the last moment,, mainly because DH want to earn extra cash by splitting all the characters off into separate comics, (christ do they think we're that dim that we wouldn't realise that?) and B)I believe It's an excuse for DH to reshape Spikes character into something more akin to their liking and to get him to ditch Buffy for good.
    And you know that despite not having read the issue at all?

    A really nice issue - it's hard to judge how good the entire arc would be until we read the rest of the issues, but it's a nice beginning. Spike is well written; I love the bugs and the writing for them is really funny, and it was great to see Spike protective of them. I'm relieved that there wasn't too much moping - and Spike being completely mopey but then shaking himself up and becoming very proactive is very IC for him. There's certainly a lot to think about re: Spike's thoughts regarding illusion and reality - we'll see where that takes him. When he talked contemptuously about the ads selling people the perfect beach I was also reminded of his contemptuous attitude to Buffy's suburban dream, but he seems to be attracted to the happy beach dream himself - so, he recognizes the falseness of those mainstream, consumer culture-promoted dreams and despises them, but still can't help being driven to them. I don't know where they're going with this "light" and "dark" imagery; but I will have a problem if they use it with the "light = good, dark = bad" view. Why can't one have both? And isn't that how "normal" life works? You can't have day without a night, it would become really oppressive and boring, and it's not like the night and semi-darkness brings you only bad things, is it!

    So far, the writer seems to get Spike; I knew he said he was a fan, but being a fan of the character doesn't mean you will write them well (see: Brian Lynch, many fanfic writers) but Gischler seems to be doing a rather good job so far. Certainly better than Chambliss and Allie have been doing writing Buffy, or Gage has been doing writing Angel, though that may be jumping the gun, judging by just one issue. (I thought Angel & Faith would be great and an honest exploration of Angel's character mistakes after the first issue *sigh*). The art is lovely and Spike looks like himself (I wouldn't say that Buffy's book has been bad an that account; there have been great Spike panels as well as bad ones).
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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    And you know that despite not having read the issue at all?
    The former doesn't need you to read the issue at all, the latter, well we'll see.

    Certainly better than Chambliss and Allie have been doing writing Buffy
    Imo thats not hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sueworld View Post
    I have problems
    I can pull a quote without its context too.

    TTB, I agree that there is a lot of cross over to the idealistic views, normalcy, light/dark, it is all very thematic of the season. I was expecting the aspect of home to crop up, and I am sure it will in the mini overall, but they have definitely started him in this balance of light and dark and his perception that he can't be in both, or at least only 'belongs' in one. Of course we have Buffy conversely fighting to not be both. I agree that it needs to be something they both seek balance on rather than behaving like one has to be chosen over the other. So yes, for Spike dark=bad is something to get past, not reiterate.
    Last edited by Stoney; 22-08-12 at 02:10 PM.

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    It sounds like fun chapter. Can't wait to read it. Judging by your reactions, I am glad that they got the Spike voice. overall I was afraid of this, but if so many Spike fans seams to like it, then it can't be all bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    I can pull a quote without its context too.
    That's little mean Stoney You should give her a

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