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"Yeah, but she's our witch."
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March 27 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss Angel & Faith #20. "Spike & Faith".

I LOVED this issue! I'm constantly floored with how awesome the Angel & Faith title is. Faith and Spike's conversation while they're killing the Enders was AWESOME! I love how far Faith has come and how well she understands Angel and Spike. The Spike monologue while guarding Angel was awesome as well.

I'm just incredibly impressed at how seamlessly they can make the entire issue so character driven, but forward the plot at the same time. I feel like the Buffy series does one or the other. I know I'm just repeating myself, but I really wish the Buffy title was as good as Angel & Faith has been all season.
Well I'll just say the same here I've said elsewhere...

So Spike had no valid or positive impact last issue and this issue he slept with Harmony, but only after he hit on any female in his vicinity. This was even more pathetic than I expected and my expectations were pretty low. I have never held back in how much I dislike Harmony, she is awful, vapid and I see zero value in her personally. Spike is a free agent and, to many, very attractive, so why do we have to have him so pathetic that he is not even able to get meaningless sex without having Angel pimp him Harmony, which was completely and utterly foul. And Angel also gets to label Spike for being shallow at the same time even though this was his suggestion, his ‘thank you’, he wouldn’t do that for Faith but he just knows Spike so well that this would be what he wanted/needed, utter, utter yuk. Despite all the bad writing this season I was surprised at how abysmal this was. There is no personality compatibility between Spike and Harmony he just uses her for sex and they totally validated that here just to get some action into the comics because this was entirely void of any meaning. Oh no, wait because in S5 of AtS Spike realised that using Harmony when she cared for him made him an arse and he shouldn’t do it. So now he is just the arse who doesn’t care that he realised that he was an arse and just did it again anyway. It was pretty boring and you’ve regressed him past his own development, great writing, well done.

So the point is supposed to be that he is trying to get over Buffy but can't fully yet. So fine, this was all about polyfilla emotional response but did they have to make him play the desperate fool with no standards to do it for gods sake. Plus this seems a step down and far, far away from what he went through and where he was at in his mini. His characterisation is pretty unrecognisable in this crossover to how he has appeared in S8/S9 and his mini (and I miss VG’s voicing and Paul Lee’s art). I can’t wait to see Spike leave A&F, his visit was completely awful, roll on April.

My desperate attempts to make some sense here… this could be a set up/link for Spike/Buffy addressing the post Chosen/AtS period, but I very, very, very much doubt it. Or perhaps they are gearing up for her chasing him a bit whilst he gets more aloof. He is so sure she isn’t interested it would make sense from a writing pov that this is about the time she finally decides she is. Maybe we are supposed to be seeing him subconsciously react to how he perceives Buffy actually preferred him (which only makes sense if he is totally ignoring the relationship they had in S6 and their development in S7 beyond that, but hey ho). Or perhaps it is all just gearing up to him being turned human or some such change, they have so heavily laboured now how unhappy he is in the status of being a souled vamp.

Perhaps this is all supposed to be symptomatic of him moving on, of him looking for his own path. But whereas the idea that he was wanting to settle his wanderlust and find a better balance for his souled side, find a ‘home’ etc seemed to be the message by the end of his mini, which felt progressive and mature, we now seem to have backslid massively from that to wanting to be ‘wicked’ and the ‘big bad’ because he’s better that way. Can it be OK for him to have relationships/dalliances with evil/soulless females? How is that progressive or a good thing? They have teased him losing his soul here, although against this at least it hurt more when it was heading out, so maybe not. But importantly, it feels like they are repeatedly having him talk regretfully about having got his soul or that he didn’t really need it. Sadly, and as a Spike-centric fan this bothers me far, far more than anything else, it is basically to the point of him forgetting and no longer valuing what he did and why he did it. Geez, not good.
read it and enjoyed it
I haven't read it yet, but after reading several reviews I'm not sure I should.
I don't understand the point of Spike rejecting Morgan, to turn around and hit on anything with ladyparts in this issue. Then being willing to use Harmony, when he already expressed regret for this kind of behavior in Season 5. He really needs Angel now to get him laid? WTF?
ARE they trying to make Angel seem better by making Spike seem awful?
For me, it's just making the comics seem awful. I enjoyed the Spike mini a lot, but it sounds like this issue might just upset me.
I think Spike got the same soul-flu from IDW's latest Angel issues.

And of course there is the missed opportunity to write some Giles/Spike flashbacks...

[ edited by anca on 2013-03-27 15:13 ]
Some people thought Spike sleeping with Harmony was about Gage trying to show Spike in a bad light. I disagree. If that were the case, he would also be trying to show Angel in a bad light, since he pimps Harmony out to Spike. And that's not what Gage *intended* to do. It's just what he sees as fun and likeable behavior in his heroes. Angel and Spike are bros, so Angel wants to help his lil' bro and helps him shag this dumb ho again to make him feel better.

But he wouldn't do that for Faith, because she's not really like that... because she's a gal, you know, who's progressed into a heroine, so of course, she's become chaste. You can see the progression: morally ambiguous/evil Faith of season 3 = flirtatious and promiscuous, reformed season 7 Faith = flirtatious but ends up in a serious relationship, heroine Faith of Angel & Faith = no sex, just platonic adoration of Angel.

As for Harmony: I've seen the explanation that she's written as having "moved on" from having feelings for Spike, so it's OK to him to use her to blow off some steam. I don't agree with that either. I think she's been written as if Gage never noticed anything in her characterization on the shows that went beyond the "dumb, shallow bimbo" stereotype. Yes, Harmony on the shows was the closest to a one-dimensional stereotype out of any of the characters, but Buffy and Angel were actually great shows with layered writing, so they subverted that by slowly and subtly adding sympathetic layers to her: while she was dumb and shallow, she still was in love (as deeply as she was capable of) and she was in an abusive relationship and used by Spike and this was shown to be wrong, and season 5 of AtS in particular focused on that as well as giving her moments where she showed compassion for others, all without changing her basic characterization as shallow and dumb. On the shows, they didn't forget that while she may be dumb and shallow and a soulless vampire, she had feelings and she was a person, after all. (Some may debate that, but if you think Spike was a person in season 5 or 6, then so is Harmony.) But in these incredibly shallow comics, every character is losing their layers, so of course Harmony is nothing but a caricature, because women like that are there just to be made fun of and use for sex. If she doesn't seem to have any feelings for Spike in this comic, it's not because she's meant to be over him (if that were the case, they'd make sure to point that out, say, Spike or Angel could be uncomfortable with it and ask her about it and she could say she's over him, but that never even comes up), but because Gage never noticed she had any feelings to begin with.

Angel & Faith has been remarkably sexist all season, and it continues to be so. Maybe that's why Spike seems to have developed a bad case of Nice Guy (TM). And in the process, he's also become really confused about the past events, apparently. Buffy liked him better when he was a monster? She rejected him when he got a soul and became good?! Oh yes, I remember, Buffy was delighted with how wonderful Spike was when he was evil and embraced him wholeheartedly as her boyfriend when he was still soulless, and then was so disappointed when he got his soul back and dumped him right away. That was the Alternate Universe season 6/season 7, where the exact opposite happened. And when he became good, she immediately dumped him for "the first brooding ponce that came along"? What is that about? I have no idea. Finally, wasn't Spike going on the whole season about Buffy needing humans and needing good guys, didn't he want her to hook up with the human "good guy" cop Dowling, and didn't he seem convinced for some reason (whatever it was - crystal ball, mysterious mode of stalking Buffy without being there, mysterious gossip net, psychic abilities, personal belief...) in the previous issue of this same comic that she was currently dating the human "good guy" Dowling? So where does this rant now come from?

Sometimes it seems like Gage didn't even read the Buffy title or the Spike mini, with this enormous dissonance between how the character acts there and how he acts in A&F.
"Sometimes it seems like Gage didn't even read the Buffy title or the Spike mini, with this enormous dissonance between how the character acts there and how he acts in A&F."

You know from reading the article posted yesterday here, it seems that Gage is a very busy guy. So I think there is an excellent chance that he hasn't read anything else. I would prefer to think that, than that this is the Spike we are going to get from here on out.
By the way a question for anyone who has read it. Is there any moment of apology from Angel for trying to kill Spike at the end of season 8?

[ edited by Xane on 2013-03-27 15:56 ]
I wish I'd skip this issue. Sorry, mr. Gage, Spike/Harmony scene is sleazy. Even if it was Angel's idea.

Overall, I'm not happy with the issue. The plot is standard one-shot. They need to extract Giles' soul out of Angel's body - they extract it. Oh, and Spike wants to get laid, so he gets laid.

Characters. The good news is that Faith is written awesomely. The bad news is that Spike is written terribly. He's downgraded to his season 2 persona - shallow, dumb boaster who enjoys insulting Angel.

Interestingly, Spike knows that Faith had sex with Xander. I wonder if he and Xander had a long and meaningful conversation about sex and their first times.

Is Faith supposed to talk to herself on the panel where she offers to dust Angel? Or it's an editor's mistake?

[ edited by Moscow Watcher on 2013-03-27 15:53 ]
@MoscowWatcher In season 7 when Spike and Faith had their heart to heart in the basement she mentions that any time Anya gets annoying, she reminds Anya that she (Faith) has Xander first.
Good comment, Time Travelling Bunny. That's how it reads to me too, and I can't even process the idea that suddenly Spike thinks Buffy preferred him when he didn't have a soul.

As for your question, Xane, no, there's no mention of Angel trying to kill Spike in season 8. In fact, there's no mention of season 8 at all. I'm beginning to think I imagined whole chunks of that story, since it never gets referenced.

The vibe in this issue is very much Big Brother Angel thinks Little Brother Spike needs help moving on from Buffy so he arranges for him to get laid, which - apparently - has magically done the trick.

I'm not a guy, so I can't comment on whether this strategy works as a rule. I can comment on the fact that Angel and Faith are massive, massive hypocrites to act all squicked out by what Spike and Harmony are doing, considering that a) Angel set it up in the first place and b) Angel's horrific treatment of Buffy in season 8 has yet to be addressed (though I think that may be one of the chunks I imagined seeing as no one ever mentions it).
Sickening. I have never felt so much visceral disgust at a comic book before. Not even with the Twilight debacle. This is the worst characterization I have ever read of Spike, except IDW’s Willingham’s take on the character. As a Spike fan, this is isn’t Spike. I don’t recognize this caricature as Spike. His thoughts on Buffy, his sudden (and intense) Nice Guy Syndrome that we haven't seen since his soulless days, and his thoughts on his soul were just so wrong and out there that I honestly cannot believe that this is Spike.

For these two issues I have actually felt honest dislike for my favorite character.

Here is some fun fanwank: Spike, on his way to help Angel, was abducted by shape shifting demons in order for them to garner secrets and weakness regarding both Buffy and Angel, since they seek vengeance because they broke the Seed. In the meantime one of the demons took Spike’s shape and went over to Angel and Faith. There, Angel, being smart, noticed it right away. At the end he called Harmony as a ruse and when this Spike personator took the bait Angel jumped into action to find and save actual Spike from the other shape shifting demons. Once Spike was free he got a call from Buffy regarding Dawn and took off to help. (That explains the bad characterization and why Spike wasn’t there immediately to help with the Dawn situation.)

[ edited by Tennyoelf on 2013-03-27 16:36 ]
@Xander - Thank you! I've forgotten about that.
Painfull,disheartening,infinitely sad. Should I keep going??
So this is what Gage see as humorous, a bro pimping out a stupid girl to his depressed friend??.Of course lets forget everything that happened before in Spike story line (he rejected a beautifull woman/demon just days before) and make him look patetic, and lonely and desperate to get laid with the first female form that have him (he already had that chace people!!!!).
There is not redeming value here.Not for Spike, not for Angel.And no ever for mr Gage.
Yeah, the end was pretty skeevy and out of character for both our boys. I enjoyed a lot of the rest, though.

Is this the issue that Christos Gage said he was going to do a SlayAlive Q&A for? That should be interesting.....!

[ edited by Alex_Jamieson on 2013-03-27 17:09 ]

[ edited by Alex_Jamieson on 2013-03-27 17:20 ]
Yes, the Q&As have opened, one for Christos, one for Rebekah.

[ edited by Stoney on 2013-03-27 17:12 ]
I liked this issue more than most Spike fans, but the last few pages were, indeed, jarring. I'm just really not sure what the point was, and it does make everyone look bad.

I'd say my real disappointment is that nothing that happened in season 8 seems to have registered in the way that Spike and Angel interacted. Angel screwed up (at a minimum) in a way that caused enormous damage. He brutalized the supposed love of his life to turn her into a suitable Goddess/lover for him (yeah, yeah, in service of saving the world -- but that still leaves him torturing her/beating her down in order to transform her). Even if Spike can't muster outrage on behalf of the slayers and red shirts that died as a result of the Twilight event, or himself for being nearly burnt to death by Angel, he might manage a bit of anger about what Angel did to Buffy herself. Or some reaction of some sort. The only thing that mitigates my disappointment on this score is that I'm finally coming to accept that the writers just are not interested in treating what Angel did last season seriously, and don't see the Twilight choice/outcomes as reflecting in any way on Angel The Hero(tm).

More positively, I liked that Spike finally got to be portrayed as smart, brave and even compassionate. If it hadn't culminated in Harmony, I wouldn't have seen him as just randomly trying to get laid, but rather as trying to make some sort of connection (especially with Faith). I think a lot of the dialogue between him and Faith was rich, and I liked a lot of his monologue to catatonic Angel. But the Harmony ending does undercut a lot of what was good. It disregards the problematic nature of the Spike/Harmony relationship in favor of some kind of joke (or whatever it was that the plot move is supposed to serve).

And I have to say as a Spike fan, I can't love more material that gives anti-Spike fans yet more reason to high-five. But I've seen a few high-five posts, and I expect to see more. Makes me kind of want to run away and pretend that fandom (and the comics) just don't exist at all.

ETA: And at some point the running joke about Harmony the ditzy bimbo just gets flat offensive. Having Angel pimp her is really across a line, I think.

[ edited by Maggie on 2013-03-27 17:28 ]
Hmmmmm...I am not exactly sure what this issue was going for. It should have been a very dramatic story of trying to get Giles soul from Angel, and the dangers inherent in that. But instead it was "Spike is horny and tries to sleep with every girl in the book, but in the end Angel gives him Harmony's number and they bang in Giles flat'


A bad blip in an otherwise great story line.
Well, I've been used to being disappointed since S-8 issue 20 or so, so I'll still get this.

Maybe Harmony's inept nature makes her an Acceptable Evil Person, as opposed to Morgan?

Maggie: I've explored Harmony's sexuality extensively in my own fics*, but I like to htink I was more respectful and also gave it more real meaning than this.

*with her first vampire boyfriend after rising, a femslash peice with Faith set in spring '04 which is no longer available, and a hetslash peice with Xander in summer of '05.
I'm actually glad that Gage supports the bromance version of the Angel/Spike dynamic, rather than that completely out-of-character antagonistic behaviour at the end of season 8.

And as for having a one-night stand with an dumb-but-hot ex? That's not exactly behaviour which is totally unheard of in the real world.
Perhaps this is all supposed to be symptomatic of him moving on, of him looking for his own path.

In the way that the Buffy comics have often left something to be desired in the way of being in character, I'd probably hope/agree with that. That he's been down this road before is what I'd take issue with. But then, Angel feeling guilty and atoning for things where his personal culpability is highly debatable is a road the writers like to keep shoving him down as well. It seems like Spike is on a repeat of his Cecily rejection behavior. Cecily begot Dru. Dru begot Harmony. Now we have Buffy begot Harmony (again).

@TimeTravellingBunny - Would this would be the same Spike that uttered the phrase "The girl needs some monster i her man" to destabilize Riley and Buffy? Spike has never had a characterization that didn't include manipulative tendencies OR the ability to rationalize how him feeling better is the best course of action. That quote alone is the NICEST of Nice Guys (TM). It is jarring to see it now after so much apparent growth, but since I had to watch the writing staff go back to old Angel after so much apparent growth... honestly I'm used to it.

Also... and this is the flaw of using Nice Guys in a reductive manner, men AND women can handle rejection gracefully on the surface and still boil and writhe underneath until they finally accept it. And none of their actions may be manipulative in point of fact. Rejection is one of those very unique things in how it plays out with people. I've seen people fine with it and explode with emotion later in my life personally. And they weren't bad people, they just thought they were more OK with it than they were. My point is, I can see Spike saying supportive things and then about an hour later going, "dear god, what did I just say?!"

So Spike's delayed reaction doesn't really ring hollow for me unless I view him as (well to borrow from you) some sort of sexless platonic cheerleader for Buffy. I think the writing staff is just reaching the end of what it can do with vesting Angel and Spike's sexual agency in "The Plot" relating to Buffy. The characters keep growing EXCEPT as it relates to Buffy and at a certain point that keeps coming into conflict. As fans, we keep finding Spike and Angel feeling OOC because... well frankly "because Buffy" tends to be a poor excuse for as nuanced as both characters actually are. It works well with early Spike and Angel, because there's not enough characterization to invalidate.

I hope that's what the writers are moving away from, but it's going to be painful and seem strange. If for no other reason, that the writers have spent so long participating in giving fans of both pairings hope that removing those options from the board requires actual storytelling and not the kind fans of these pairs are going to enjoy.
When Spike says "I mean, typical women, isn't it? They go on and on about how they want a good man. A sensitive man who respects them. But the moment they've beaten you into one, they find you a dreadful bore and throw you over for the first brooding, tortured ponce who comes along. And now I'm bloody stuck this way." The way I interpret this is, well, Spike is drunk, he is lonely, he still loves Buffy and is clearly not completely "over" her, he now feels the guilt of all his past horrific deeds because of his soul, etc., and he said some stuff he doesn't really truly believe. We do it all the time in the real world! We don't always say what we believe, at least what we 100% believe. We get angry, upset, depressed, etc., and then say something which, maybe at the moment we kinda believe, but upon further reflection, less alcohol, time, and so forth, we clearly wouldn't hold as the truth of truths. Also, he is having slight buyers remorse about his soul. Not surprising. What is surprising was how quickly he adjusted to having it, considering all the troubles and transitional issues Angel had. This latest is just him adjusting to the new reality that emotions make us vulnerable, in a way. With time I'm sure he'll come to full realize that Buffy never truly loved him when he didn't have a soul, but came to respect him much more after he acquired it.

Spike has always needed a woman in his life. He has almost never been alone since becoming a vampire. He is also a horny bastard, and maybe he just needed a little sexy time to regain his equilibrium. He slept with Harmony in season 5 of ANGEL, so clearly having a soul doesn't mean he is less willing to have sexual relations with someone without the co-existence of profound love. He is single. Harmony is a consenting adult. And there you go. Nothing too sleazy about it, unless you think all sex outside of marriage and/or outside of profound love is sleazy, which is your opinion, but not necessarily Spike's.
No offence but if it wasn't meant to be sleazy, I'm not sure what was the point of Angel and Faith repeatedly using that word.

I'm also not sure where the idea that Spike is a 'horny bastard' has come from. He's had three girlfriends in 120 years.
If pressed to define "horny," I'd say it is the state of enjoying, desiring, and requiring regular sexual fulfillment. Someone who is a horny person, therefore, is someone who enjoys, desires, and requires regular sexual satisfaction. You will notice that nothing in my definition necessarily denotes promiscuity, or an inability to be in a committed relationship.

Spike really needs sexual relations to be happy. He also needs emotional, romantic intimacy to be happy. Spike has normally been able to satisfy his sexual needs within the framework of committed relationships which also provide some degree of emotional intimacy [Note: Was this really what he had with Buffy during season 6?], but sans such relationships, given the proximity of another consenting adult, I don't think it is out of character to imagine he would have sex.

I think that a reasonable definition of sleazy is sordid, corrupt, or immoral. The reason Angel and Faith repeatedly used the word sleazy was because because the writer was trying to reassure readers that what Spike and Harm were doing wasn't immoral/corrupt/sordid, or at least that Angel, Faith, Spike, and Harm didn't think it was immoral/corrupt/sordid. Again, if you think that all sex outside of committed love relationship is in fact immoral/corrupt/sordid, then I will not bother trying to convince you otherwise because that is your own moral opinion on the matter. However, what needs to be comprehended, I think, is that Spike doesn't feel that it is wrong to have sex with another adult when both people are single and consenting.

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-27 19:59 ]

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-27 19:59 ]
@deborahmm - I guess it's about male worldview versus female worldview. According to male worldview it's okay that Angel gives Spike Harmony's phone number and that Spike uses her for sex. According to female's worldview, it's morally dubious and it makes both Spike and Angel look bad.
@DocBenway, Spike obviously doesn't think there's anything wrong with what he's doing, since he's doing it of his own free will, gleefully even. The question is whether him being so excited to have hours of sex with a soulless vampire for whom he has zero personal respect makes him look bad or good. I, for one, find it hard to square with his idea that he's now more "mature" (since I associate that attitude towards sex with young louts). And I remain confused about what point the writers are trying to make by portraying Spike (and Angel) in this way. It was just a jarring, unpleasant way to end what had up until then been a rather rich issue.
Did I miss something here!? Did Spike rape Harmony? Did Angel have her chained in the basement and then he conveniently served her over to Spike? Did Angel make Spike pay to have sex with Harmony? Was Harmony under a spell which prevented her from making her own considered decisions, and Spike and Angel knew this to be the case?

Or was Harmony a consenting adult?

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-27 20:15 ]

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-27 20:17 ]
I think you've misunderstood me.

I've no personal objection to sex between consenting adults, but Angel and Faith repeatedly used the word 'sleazy', or reassured themselves that what Spike and Harmony were doing only wasn't 'sleazy' because 'Harmony is Harmony', whatever that's supposed to mean, while IMO making it pretty clear from their facial expressions that it was indeed sleazy.

So, far from being reassured that the writer didn't think Spike and Harmony were doing something sordid, I've ended up feeling quite the opposite - not least because Faith all the way through the series has acted as the voice of the author, and she clearly finds the whole incident distasteful - not because it's sex outside marriage, or whatever, but because it's Harmony, and therefore sleazy by definition.

I don't happen to agree with Faith, but as I say, I think she's clearly speaking for the writer.

As for Spike having emotional intimacy with Buffy in season 6, I don't recall saying that he did (he does have it in season 7, though). I also don't think it's outside the bounds of possibility that he'd engage in casual sex if it was on offer. Not at all. I do, however, think 'horny bastard' not an apt description of him. That's all.
How are any of those questions even relevant? Do mature adults get excited about screwing women they have no respect for? No. Not in my book. That's what the frat boys at the Animal House think is a good time. Are they doing anything immoral when they run around looking to rut with women they despise? No. But they are the opposite of admirable or mature when they do so.
I don't suppose Spike having sex with Harm, if he really had zero respect for her would be good, and certainly not mature; however, I take it as given that he has matured, and therefore by the very fact he has sex with her it can be inferred that he does have some respect for her, otherwise he wouldn't have done it. He may not love her, but that is not the same thing as not respecting her.
@Doc From #40 last season:

Spike (talking to Buffy):

"I've begged you not to call me that (blondie bear). Reminds me of that moron who -- among other things -- has completely ruined "Dancing with the stars" this season."

[ edited by Maggie on 2013-03-27 20:22 ]

[ edited by Maggie on 2013-03-27 20:23 ]
It was good up to and including the fight with the Enders. After that...I don't understand, what exactly was the point? After Spike's monologue while guarding Angel (where Spike frankly comes off as an entitled idiot with severe memory problems, but I can't really blame the character for his bad characterization) there's a jarring change of tone, everything is fine in 5 nanoseconds and (I guess) we're supposed to laugh at Spike hooking up with Harmony. Yeah, it was funny. In Season 4.
Spike's last words on Harmony (written by Joss no less) are "That moron who - among other things - has completely ruined Dancing with the Stars this season". The only time he's ever given her any respect was that moment at the end of Harm's Way when he realises she had harboured genuine feelings for him and was capable of being hurt by other people's low opinion of her. So to the extent he respects her he wouldn't use her for sex again and to the extent that he doesn't, see Maggie's point above.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2013-03-27 20:46 ]
Anybody can slip, even if they don't have a demon living in them, as William does, can slip.
I can quote a lot of things Buffy said negatively about Spike during and after her affair with him, so why does she get a pass and Spike is held to a different standard? Did Buffy truly "hate" or totally disrespect Spike, or was it more complicated than that? Do people sometimes says things while under the sway of emotions, alcohol, or what have you, which isn't truly what lies in their heart of hearts? Why do these characters have to be the Platonic ideal of perfection all the time when clearly, in life, people aren't.

Even though Spike may have called Harm a moron for ruining Dancing with the Stars, that doesn't mean that this is his final word on the subject.

For instance, Spike frequently calls Angel names, much worse names, and sometimes even acts as if he hates him, but clearly he is host to a great number of feelings, thoughts, and emotions, which are complicated.

Have you ever called someone a moron [or another name] when maybe, in retrospect, that may have been a little harsh?

Also, Harm IS a moron. That doesn't mean that Spike doesn't respect her in his own way.

Also also, Spike has additional girlfriends outside of the show if you count the IDW stuff. And ever if you only count the show, I'm still not sure where the number 3 came from regarding past lovers...

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-27 21:30 ]

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-27 21:31 ]
Buffy didn't get a pass. She certainly didn't give herself one when she was sleeping with Spike despite him being "Everything I hate, everything I'm against". The scene ended with her breaking down and begging Tara to tell her she was wrong. But even in that phase of her relationship not all she had to say about Spike was negative. She praised his decorating and sexual skills and admitted to liking him sometimes. What has Spike ever said about Harmony that was positive? Even the point he makes to her at the end of Harm's way is something of a backhanded compliment.
I have my copy of Angel & Faith # 20,"Spike And Faith."

I'm going to keep this really short.I know that there are many who do not like this issue.I enjoyed it though.I thought it was fun and I really did enjoy the Faith and Spike dynamic.I thought we got some interesting insight into Spike's head post his miniseries.

The trying to hook up with Faith and the aunts was part of that and again,I really liked how the dynamic between Faith and Spike played.

Also enjoyed the moment where Angel tells Spike he's not over Buffy either.Thought that was some nice bonding moments in immediate panels leading up to it even though Angel doesn't say anything until that moment.And played much better IMO than the end of TGIQ which I think was going for the same idea but a comedy route rather than like drama here.

I did think the way they resolved Giles soul in Angel was a bit on the pat side.

As for the Angel hooking Spike up with Harmony ending.I think it was just meant to be played for comedy even though that isn't the way it's playing for many.That's not the first time that's happened in the verse.

So I enjoyed the issue and sort of see it as a breather before the final arc.

I am currious about one thing,how Spike gets back to SF for the end of Buffy?Is he in next issue of A & F or part of next issue and gets word of what's going on with Dawn,Illyria and Severin and than heads back or does his exit happen offscreen in between this issue and next with possible exposition about his taking leave?

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2013-03-27 21:36 ]
From upthread: yes there is a word balloon attribution error or some such, as it would be Spike suggesting staking Angel, not Faith. There was a word balloon attribution error in the last Buffy, too.
I sort of wish we would not refer to Harmony as a "moron," which is often used offensively. The standard definition is "a person affected with mild mental retardation." She is thoughtless and selfish, but she is not a moron. Even if the authors used the term for fun and games.
I've asked Gage a question for his upcoming Q&A about Spike's comments about Buffy and Dowling in the previous issue (i.e. how he knew that Buffy and Dowling were seeing a lot of each other after he left, and why would he see that as Buffy brushing him off for Dowling, when Buffy and Dowling had barely talked to each other before Spike left, and Spike was the one trying to push Dowling towards Buffy), and about Buffy & men in this issue. And while I was writing it, I thought of a possible explanation for the latter.

Maybe Gage is implying that Spike still believes that Buffy was in a relationship with the Immortal? That could explain why he thinks she likes "monsters" and that, after he got his soul back, she fell for "the first brooding, tortured ponce that came along" (I don't know if the Immortal fits that description, but I can't think of anyone else that would). I've asked him if that's what he meant.
If you only count the show, which I do, the number three for Spike's girlfriends comes from Drusilla, Harmony and Buffy. There aren't any others.

You could even argue, since Buffy insists Spike's not her boyfriend, that he's only had two.
Could the "brooding, tortured ponce" comment have referred to Angel, circa "Twilight"?
@Wenxina: It wouldn't make sense to refer to Angel as "the first brooding, tortured ponce that came along". Angel is Buffy's first love, great love, first lover, ex-boyfriend, a guy she's known for years. The expression is one you'd use for someone new, a random guy she met.

@azzers: The things that Spike says make no sense. Granted, most of the Nice Guy-ish things that angry guys say don't make a whole lot of sense, but I can't even see where this came from. Spike used to say that Buffy "liked some monster in her man" when he thought it would give him a chance over Riley. But Buffy only ever started giving him the time of day after he showed he was more than just a monster (Intervention). In season 6, he reverted to the idea that she liked the monster in him, but she ultimately rejected him for being a monster. It was only after he gained a soul that they built something good between them, and it ended with cuddling and sleeping in the same bed and Buffy believing he could be a hero/champion - and then Spike burned in the Hellmouth. He got resurrected but didn't call her. So I don't see where he got the idea that she preferred him as a monster.

My above idea/fanwank about the Immortal is the closest I can get to understanding what's supposed to be going on in Spike's head, even though still wouldn't be a remotely reasonable thing for him to say.

Re: Spike and Harmony. Yes, he used her for sex while treating her as crap and not showing her any respect in AtS season 5. But then at the end of Harm's Way he seemed to get the clue that he had been a jerk and hurt her feelings so he tried to be at least somewhat nice and later stayed away from her. But in these comics, it seems that characters not just don't develop and mature, they even regress from their previous positive development, in tune with the overall rule that "Nothing changes for anyone ever" (to borrow King of Cretins' term).

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2013-03-27 23:34 ]

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2013-03-27 23:38 ]
But he was the first guy that Buffy more or less hooked up with since Season 7, since I'm guessing Spike wasn't privy to knowledge about the Satsu affair and I'm assuming that the decoy in Rome is general knowledge by now. The Immortal wasn't exactly depicted as "tortured" or "brooding."
Yeah that word balloon thing seemed really off to me to (I stopped, reread and thought it must be a mistake, and typical of bad/sloppy editing).

And regarding the whole Spike/Harmony ending, *eyeroll*, that seemed to me to be a badly done attempt at a humorous ending, done by someone who doesn't do humor well and doesn't know (or care) about the history of these characters. Just really lame.

So my main problem with this is that I don't believe for a second that this mess is Executively Produced by Joss Whedon. I don't believe he even read it over before it was published (or at any point). Frankly I've feeling like I should quit the series, but it would disappoint my comic book store owner!

I want to read stories created by Joss, but at this point I'm doubting Joss' involvement. Can someone ask him about it at WonderCon? Because it is getting annoying.
I was half expecting Carry on Randy Giles with Sid James playing Spike judging by some of the comments from earlier but that was not to be. I got an enjoyable take on Spike's character. Heresy I know but I couldn't help it.

Post-apocalyptic trauma, combined with the love of his life sleeping with "The Immortal" and then Twilight/Angel and a heady mixture of self loathing and resentment of Angel (almost the reverse of that scene where Angel feels bitter about Spike getting used to his soul in three weeks) does make for interesting times. No wonder he's retreating into his "lad" persona and sleeping with a former flame, it's safer that way. Less likely to get hurt. If I could form more than two coherent sentences, I would compare to him and Anya getting together but I'm a bit tired so I won't.

Faith actually is criminally ignored half the time in A&F commentary but she's getting a good character arc. Which means she'll probably get killed off in the last issue.

Angel well... no one can write your favourite character the way you want to them to. Joss more or less admitted that he couldn't get a handle on him and other writers have stumbled at the last hurdle. Minear and Greenwalt knew him best I always felt.
I think people are taking this whole Sparmony hookup too seriously. Consenting adults have meaningless sex all the time. Why are we so critical of Spike here? Yes, he's using Harm, but I think she's fully aware of that. The whole Angel pimping thing was kind of weird, for sure, but we see this kind of stuff all the time between bros on TV. Just look at Ted and Barney (before Barney became all committed).
I do not understand the freakout over the Harmony thing. Spike needed to get laid, Angel knew Harmony was in town and that those two pretty inevitably have sex if in each other's vicinity. So what?
I haven't even read this issue yet but how does it make sense that in Spike's mini, he was completely hesitant of Morgan, wouldn't even KISS her and then in 2 issues later sleeps with Harmony? Contrary to popular belief, Spike isn't a horny, desperate character... He does enjoy sex, but who doesn't? If Spike's mini didn't happen, this would be believable but... Why would Spike deny Morgan and then have sex with Harmony? Why is sex with Harmony even brought up/why did it even happen? Does this add anything to the issue or Spike's character as a whole? If the answer is no,.... I really don't feel like reading this issue.
Harmony and Spike have a history and understand what sex between them does or does not mean. Morgan and Spike, not so much. That's the difference and why it's not inconsistent.
Did I just read the most perfect issue of Angel & Faith (and any Buffy comic) ever? Yes, yes I did. The dialogue, action and character portrayals were worthy of any season of both series. Kudos, writers and artist. THANK YOU Dark Horse!
In my opinion, if Spike wouldn't sleep with Harmony at the end of Season 8, why would he now? After he's matured as a character? This plot point seems like Spike in the tv show, not after Angel S5 and Buffy Season 8. I just can't picture Spike doing that in character...maybe when I read the issue it'll be better in context... But again, I ask, does Spike sleeping with Harmony serve a purpose in the issue? Does it serve a purpose as a development in his character? No? Then why write it? What's the point?
Okay. I wasn't sure how I felt about the meaningless sex thing. But I don't especially care about that because I'm more focused on the missed opportunity at the end. The whole tone of the thing seemed too perfect.

At some point in AtS, I was taught to be extremely paranoid whenever there was a possibility of Angelus showing up. Because if he did, he would pretend to be Angel until the right moment (as has happened before.) I was paranoid about this from the moment they locked him up downstairs. When he slipped out of his chains and said that they got Giles's soul out of him, I was certain they had actually got Angel's soul and left Angelus and Giles in his body.

I spent the rest of the issue confused and uncertain and stared at the last panel looking for some clue that all was not as it seemed. But I really do think that everything did go as cleanly as it appeared.

And I'm strangely disappointed about that? It seemed like all issue they were building to the return of Angelus. And now I can't get it out of my head how amazing that could have been. Angelus hasn't gotten to strut his stuff since Angel S4, and he hasn't been truly Angelus since Buffy S2 really. And this would be the precise WORST time to have him back with his mind games and his evil and his everything. Throw in Giles' soul as well, and things could have been even weirder as they tried to: 1) not kill Angel, 2) reinsoul Angel and 3) resurrect Giles, while also having to deal with Angelus, who knows everything Angel had planned and everything about Faith as a person. I mean, come on. That could have been incredible.

I realize it's kind of strange to be disappointed that one of the two main characters DIDN'T turn evil, but I just can't get it out of my head how interesting that would have been.
I think it IS Angelus!
I have to agree with the whole speech bubbles being for Spike thing, I could totally see the first line being like a sarcastic line from Faith and I guess with some thinking and reading the next line as a combination of the line and the next line Faith says, like saying yeah YOU guys were thinking it but I wasn't. Which sort of works I guess, but is less awkward than Spike saying that and Faith coming back with the whole line in the next panel. I can see the panel art in a way for each of those possibilities too, I don't know what you guys think but with Faith saying the lines, the holding the stake could be her like motioning with it to drive in the point, or if it is spike saying the lines it could be he had the stake and Faith snatched it from his hands. What do you guys think?

And I have to say I think it could be interesting if it turns out to be Angelus, like just because they didn't go at the end of the issue look this could be Angelus you guys better buy the next issue and find out doesn't mean it isn't Angelus.
Why pay attention to Spike as a character (with his own arc, narrative, history) when you can treat him as a caricature; lather, rinse, repeat.
I just read it, and it was actually worse than I expected.
This line "I don't see you dragging Daniel Craig back here for me" Angel's answer "Come on, you're not that shallow"
Implying Spike is that shallow? Spike is no saint, but he's not shallow. If he was shallow he would still be with Morgan!
The art was disappointing, it didn't look like Spike at all. And I was really looking forward to the art.
Holy cow how did it go so wrong?!
The whole thing was just gross. At this point I kind of wish he had ended up with Morgan,stayed on his ship and we just got Spike's adventures. That would have been preferable.
Why is this so hard? Lynch and Urru got it right, the Spike mini got it right, the Buffy series was okay, this was just wrong. Like, Willingham wrong.
I got a strong Angelus vibe from the supposedly freed Angel as well. I wonder if it's all in our heads or if he's biding his time until he can get the characters alone.
That would explain why the last few pages feel so out of synch tonally with the rest. Hey, maybe the mumbo jumbo going downstairs sucked out both Angel's and Spike's souls and that's why they're acting like douchebags. The Harmony thing and Spike's nice-guyish rant are clues! ;) well... I'm (mostly) joking but that'd be a nice twist, now, wouldn't it?
I wasn't keen on this. Although the Spike mini was disappointing, yet the characterization was tons better than what was here. Spike was comedy foil to both Angel and Faith and looked rather shallow and silly by the end. Were we supposed to assume that he has got over Buffy by having sex with Harmony ? That was what was sort of implied. I have problems with Spike using Harmony for sex after the events of Harm's Way, when he appeared to realise that it was wrong to do so and I found the last few pages of this comic very tacky. I think I was supposed to find it funny, but instead I feel extremely uneasy at the attitudes of Angel, Faith and Spike. I found the full tilt comedy of the issue too much - and too much of it centred around the sex life of Spike. I've really liked this series and Christos' writing so far, but this issue was the weakest and seemingly uneccessary.
Wow, this is the most comments I've seen for a Buffy or Angel comment in YEARS on this site. I really cant remember what issue had the most discussion before this. Maybe Joss' Issue 1 of Season 9? So I suppose if the writer's intent was to get people talking, mission accomplished.
Well I would hope they are more astute than just wanting to get people talking. Sure you need to stay true to your story but people are invested in characters here and if they pull them apart too much and make them unbelievable/unrecognisable/unlikable then they will lose some of their readership and they damage their own product. IMO they have dropped the ball here. Hopefully we will be able to shrug it away as a blip on the crossover as best we can and it just be Gage's take on the character that time and distance will fade, but if they carry this characterisation forward I think they will find a good portion of people would rather not invest in it anymore. As they could tell the story they want to without the degradation of Spike's character and his past arc/progression as they have here, it would be a mistake to carry on regardless. But noone else this season has written him this way so I am hopeful we can just move on (it has such a bitter taste after Victor Gischler had Spike's voice so well and developed him in such a mature way) . Hopefully Spike won't hang around for much of the same next issue before he heads onwards.

[ edited by Stoney on 2013-03-28 17:52 ]

[ edited by Stoney on 2013-03-28 17:54 ]
And people have only been saying that for... Oh, a good couple of years at this point.
They aren't listening. Nor, necessarily, should they.
This is the first time Spike has been written this badly in the comics.
A fun issue, I thought.

I think people are a tad too earnest in their defense of favourite characters. There has to be room for play, or the comics - and all stories - are lifeless.
For February of 2013, Buffy ranked 94th in sales, with just over 22,000 sold; it was the third DH book on the list. AF was 143rd overall, with about 14000+ sold. Willow was slightly higher. This may rank high for DH in terms of their overall sales, but in comparison to DC and Marvel this is very low. Sales are down for this book series. It is stable at around 22000 for Buffy, but there is no growth any more. I would say that those who have left, have left for good, and the 22000 are in for the haul. I do not see that DH needs to invest anything much in this series, for they have to know they will no longer see growth, but they will also not need to worry about any further erosion. I worry that it removes an incentive to do what is necessary to make growth occur. Theoretically.
The reason Spike and Harmony were together in the first place was sexual chemistry, pure and simple. There is no reason to imagine that this has gone away. Buffy and Spike are no longer together, and Spike even admitted that he is not good alone. He needed some sexy time, some R+R, the sensual attention. Spike is a lusty guy. Walking sex. He isn't Angel, who seems fine going decades without sex, and prefers sex with love. But there is a precedent for Spike having sex with women he doesn't love, but likes [Anya, possibly the vamp he took to Anya's wedding, Halfrek {implied}, Maria Harley {implied}, Buffy Bot, he has the whole "Spikettes Harem" in After the Fall {who knows what happened there}, even Angel {implied}]. Spike has a soul, but he hasn't become a celibate, nor a moral prude. Indeed, Spike has matured, Harmony has matured, Spike acknowledges that he can't play with Harmony's feelings any more, etc., and so two consenting adults decided to get squishy with it. It is about time Spike had sex, which was just what he needed considering how impotent, unattractive, and hurt he seems to have been feeling lately.
It isn't surprising that people have left the comics. What was surprising was how many people read them initially. The idea that the original numbers should hold over the course of hundreds of comics, minis, spin-offs, it just unrealistic. For instance, my dad read some of the comics initially, but stopped. Not surprising. The comic format isn't for everyone. I never frequented comic shops before Buffy Season 8 or Angel: After the Fall, and now I go all the time and even buy other stuff, so these comics have brought new comic readers into the fold. Dark Horse is obviously doing better with this franchise than most of their others. There is no indication that Dark Horse is unhappy with sales or are going to stop anytime soon. I love reading the comics! It seems, however, that there is a fair share of folks out there who like to hate-read. But then again, people have always found things to complain about, even when the show was playing.

Here are some of the most common complaints and complainers spanning the various seasons:

Season 1- Too monster-of-the-weeky with intsy tinsy seasonal arc. The master was a Big Bad Minus. The characters are all stereotypish and thinly portrayed. The special effects suck-ers.

Season 2- Starts out abit too much like season 1-ers. There are the Why can't Willow and Xander get together-ers, Why can't Angel be good-ers, and why can't Buffy and Angel get together-ers?

Season 3- There are the They-Brought-Angel-Back-To-life-Come-on -now Cheap cheap-ers. Faith is a hosebag-ers. Xander and Cordillia hookin up pinheads.

Season 4- Most people complained about the initiative and hate Riley. Then there are the Oz lamentors and Tara seeth-ers. Angels miss-ers. Spike chip freak-ers.
I miss the high school stuff-ers.

Season 5- Dawn despisers. Major plot hole mania pointer outers (A mystical key, to a portal, which opened up the dimensions, with blood, but when it stopped it would shut, but Buffy had the same blood...hmm, ahh huh wha?). Giles is a capitalist pig anticapitalists. Glory blows-ers.

Season 6- Oh boo hoo too depressing. Buffy and Spike sexcapade hating Angel puritans. Giles is gone crybabies. The nerds were weak ass villans expounders. Buffy should have stayed dead psychopaths. Whats this crap about heaven atheists. Xander and Anya should have tied it depth charges. Evil Willow cognisent dissonances. Why couldn't the show have just ended with season 5ers.

Season 7- The "The potentials were all winy [...]. Tara didn't rise from the deaders. Why did the main characters have to die ers. The ending suckers. Kennedy mashers. The excess phlabatinum wretchers. The Why are the Ubervampires so varying in kill quality pointer outers and so on.

For every conceivable development in the story, for every nook and every cranny, there are people that complain and rant and rave and yack and scribble.

I say...relax, ya'll!

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-28 18:32 ]

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-28 18:35 ]

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-28 18:36 ]
I've no idea who Maria Harley is and I'm not going to even speculate about whether Spike might have had sex with some character we never saw him have sex with.

Also, I didn't see anywhere in this comic Spike acknowledging that he can't play with Harmony's feelings any more. As far as I can see, no one in the issue - not Angel, not Faith, not Spike, and certainly not the writer - seems to have considered that she actually had feelings at all.

Actually, on reflection, I think Angel and Faith come out of this book looking worse than Spike does. He only has sex wth Harmony. Angel and Faith are the ones who talk about her like she was some disgusting low life only fit for shallow people like Spike but who they themselves are far too good for.

Which when you consider what Angel did in season 8 it - well, hypocritical barely begins to cover it.

[ edited by deborahmm on 2013-03-28 18:42 ]
"I've no idea who Maria Harley is and I'm not going to even speculate about whether Spike might have had sex with some character we never saw him have sex with."

Spike: After the Fall. Also, there is a thing called subtext and inferencing. It is a more advanced critical technique employed by readers/viewers. It works like this: writers imply something without directly stating it, and readers/viewers pick up on the cues and infer accordingly. Sometimes writers can even put things in a text unconsciously, and it is still open season for reader/viewer inferencing! If it is in the text, it is fair game! This is how, for instance, we get queer readings of Angel/Spike: "Well, there was that one time..." The writers were very good at suggesting and implying lots of stuff in the show, by the way.

"Also, I didn't see anywhere in this comic Spike acknowledging that he can't play with Harmony's feelings any more. As far as I can see, no one in the issue - not Angel, not Faith, not Spike, and certainly not the writer - seems to have considered that she actually had feelings at all."

Harm's Way

"Actually, on reflection, I think Angel and Faith come out of this book looking worse than Spike does. He only has sex wth Harmony. Angel and Faith are the ones who talk about her like she was some disgusting low life only fit for shallow people like Spike but who they themselves are far too good for."

Oh, come on! You've never had a friend who had sex or maybe a relationship with someone you didn't like or maybe even couldn't stand? Doesn't that make you a terrible person? We all have people we like and don't like, people we'd have sex with or wouldn't have sex with. Just 'cause Faith and Angel don't want to jump in and have a four-way doesn't make them terrible people!

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-28 18:47 ]
The out of character Spike argument is weird to me. Spike's always been a bit of a melodramatic poser with an inferiority complex who cries, drinks, and screws. Whatever progress or maturation over the years, these things don't just vanish.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2013-03-28 18:49 ]
I had my problems with how everyone came out of this looking, though I enjoyed the issue in general.

One thing I will say is that I think the Angel/Faith cringe faces were because they got a bit too much information about EXACTLY what Spike and Harmony were up to (sex in the shower, their naked bodies, the manacles), rather than at the general idea of them having sex.

ETA I mention this because upthread, people felt that Angel was being a hypocrite for setting up Spike/Harmony and then being skeeved out by their having sex.

[ edited by Alex_Jamieson on 2013-03-28 18:59 ]
I don't mind Spike being used for comic relief IF it is funny. But the total lameness of the 'jokes' here just remind me how Joss is not at all writing this. I don't believe Joss is even reading it, and so I start to question why I'm bothering to buy/read it. I'm here for the Joss fix, but I'm not finding it in any of the current DH titles. Frankly I'm just appalled that Joss is allowing his name to be attached to this lame unfunny nonsense.
I continue to love the Angel comics, this one being no acception. I found the Faith and Spike banter to be in character and funny. I love that Faith shot Spike down and her later comment about having matured. I am beyond thrilled with the extraction of Giles soul, now if they can only find a way to put it back into his body...Angel giving Spike Harmony's number was also a touching moment, Harmony has always been into Spike. Yeah, she's a soulless demon but if it was good enough for Buffy in season 6, then it's good enough for Spike now.
The nod towards Angel not being over Buffy was great. The biggest surprise to me was in the revelation of Spikes true motivation for fighting for his soul as told from his own perspective. The reveal wasn't so much a surprise but in it being another area the creative team decided to answer in black and white.
DocBenway, you're new. We have had infinite numbers of reader response/authorial intent arguments on this board, so we get it. Deborahmm is saying it is not in the text. I am the leading reader response guy here, and I do not see it in the subtext.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2013-03-28 19:35 ]
I'd rather we didn't play the old-timer card here, it's not a terribly welcoming thing to do by trying to shut down what someone is saying.

"I am the leading reader response guy here, and I do not see it in the subtext."

Don't see what? What specific particular of my argument do you not find to be supported by the text?

As Whedonesque's most esteemed, long-tenured, and "leading" reader response guy, you should know that all constructive arguments require a claim. A claim is the minimum requirement for a debate. [Debates also require cited evidence and an explanation showing how the evidence proves the claim, but to even get that far you need to state a claim.]

All you have done here is try to pull rank and make some vague ad hominum attack ["you're new"], which is the last refuge of the uber-cranky.

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-28 20:14 ]
Dana5140, thank you.

Doc Benway, I have no idea whether you're new on this board or not. I don't post much here myself, but if you're going to go on aiming your comments at me I'd respectfully request that you make your tone less patronising.

I don't need you to explain to me what subtext is, thank you very much, nor do I appreciate being talked down to like that.

And Angel and Faith don't have to like Harmony, but I think the way they talk about her has strong elements of slut shaming in it, which makes me dislike them both quite a bit.
Sure, they are always complainers, which is good. It's essential to know when people are unhappy with what you are doing professionally. One or two people, you hear them out but generally you wouldn't listen. But when you have a mass of individuals all complaining about the same thing, then maybe it's something to pay more attention to. I'm not saying to ever give into what fans are saying, but to at least listen. It's their project and it's up to them to do what they want, however to improve it's always good to at least heed the critics and contemplate them so you never go overboard.

Spike fans have been complaining since the beginning of the comics. I don't think that is ever going to go away. However this is the first time Spike fans en mass are complaining about bad characterization. I've seen about 90% of Spike fans disliking this portrayal of Spike. They (we) didn't complain about his characterization (maybe we did just a bit, but it was livable, not a big deal) in season 8, or the beginning of Season 9, or even during his Mini (maybe at the end, just a tad, but again, it wasn't a big deal). This is different. Issue 20 was a gross example of character assassination and bashing and people are really upset. I've seen a lot of people saying that this was it for them, and who can blame them. It's really that bad.

I also think it comes down to how people see Spike. It seems everyone has a different opinion on who Spike is, even among Spike fans. The general consensus though among Spike fans is that Spike is different with a soul. A lot of people tend to ignore that or don't see it because they don't pay attention to Spike like the die-hard fans do. Of course, that's just a generalization and doesn't ring true for everyone.

Here is my main beef with this issue. The things Spike says to Angel and Faith are not consistent with his souled personality. In fact, Spike comes across much more like his unsouled self. There doesn't seem to be much consideration to where he was at the end of his mini nor anything that has happened since season 4 or 5 of Buffy. Spike comes across as extremely regressed, to the point I wonder if he even has a soul anymore. Souled Spike is different than unsouled Spike and not just int he fact he plays for the good guys and the text here doesn't, at all, take that into consideration. Spike wouldn’t blame Buffy, after his soul he just wouldn’t. Spike thinks differently than soulless Spike and would never blame his soul on his hardships, never blame Buffy to which he comes off as extreme Nice Guy TM. And he would never ever think that Buffy liked him better soulless or that he was okay without a soul. Souled Spike knows better! If soulless Spike was the dark side of William, and souled Spike pretty much William, those thoughts that Gage put into Spike’s mouth even if they did pass in real Spike’s mind, his soul would dismiss them immediately and it wouldn't ever pass his lips, even drunk. It does a huge disservice to Spike and his respect for Buffy and himself to parade around saying those things and giving them air. I see this as disregard for Spike’s souled differences. But that is what happens when people don’t really pay attention to Spike’s character, as Gage did and many other comic writers. They see soulless Spike and souled Spike the same and do not respect the difference. It hurts the underlining theme of exploring the human condition and dark sides. I miss Joss and Jane penned Spike very much.

Regarding the sex, there seems to be no point in it. It doesn't progress Spike's story at all. Sure, Spike's a guy, but he isn't such a sleaze like how he is portrayed here, that he only needs to get laid to feel better about himself. If that was the case, he should have just slept with Morgan. Of course that makes me wonder just how much he really respects his feelings for Buffy. They aren't together, but why is he returning to Buffy or even wanting to return to Buffy at the end of his mini if he just wants to sleep with the first female that is willing? Spike is a typical guy, not a sex-a-holic who needs to have sex every other week to make himself feel better. Yes, he is a sexual/sensual person, but you know, isn't that a bit normal? Even if he is slightly more so than normal, I feel it's too extreme here. He left his mini feeling better about himself, this really makes the mini completely and utterly pointless. How it was executed and portrayed was just disgusting. I want Spike to have sex, don't get me wrong, but not like this and how this was supposedly connected to his "arc" (which at this point I even wonder if he had one).

Another thing is that Spike left his mini feeling more sure of himself and his feelings for Buffy. He may still be hurting, but coming from his mini this behavior does not mesh with where he was in his mini. This issue back pedals his growth (which, granted, wasn’t much) and shows him to be extremely bitter. He came out of the mini thinking to to go back to Buffy but to do what? Him going back to Buffy now makes even less sense. If he felt, after his mini, that he wants to find a place for himself and that what he felt for Buffy was real and wants to continue to be around her, than why is he bemoaning in this issue? As stoney says, it lacks maturity.

Spike can be hurting from this, but I would think after all this time and everything that has happened he would have a better head on his shoulders. I personally think him bemoaning and blaming Buffy and his soul for not getting what he wants to be very regressive of his character. How should they have shown a hurting Spike? Have we seen a hurting souled Spike in the past? Season 7 didn’t have time to really explore that, but AtS had clues. He drinks a lot and gets into fights and picks on the people around him, taking it out on others but in a way that wasn’t completely jerkish (more eyerollish, playful). He never blames others for his failures nor would he blame his soul after he got his soul. I could very much see Spike flirting and poking holes at Angel and Faith and getting really drunk if he was still hurting so much, but I just can’t see him do or say anything like he did in issue 20. And again, it goes against what was set up in his mini, which with better characterization, I think hold more truth to where Spike should be now than anything we have in AnF.

In regards to play, of course there should be room for play. But is it too much too much to ask to keep the characters in character? To keep their progression? Whatever you do, it should be done well, or at least well as one can make it. I only wanted something that remained true to the characters and their journey.
I'm a Spike fan. He's my favorite character in all the Buffyverse hands down. I'm not complaining at all about his depiction in the Darkhorse comics. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Don't change a thing, Darkhorse! Keep up the great work!

Re: Halfrek (Implied) -- if you were referring to the double take in Older and Far Away, you are missing the joke. The actress playing Halfrek is the same actress who played Cecily. It was a fourth-wall moment -- though it leaves open the possible plot point that Cecily went on to become Halfrek (or was Halfrek back in William's day). If that's not what you are referring to I couldn't guess at your meaning.

Your better argument (from the material that is universally accepted as canon) is the date in Hell's Bells, though the primary reason Spike was with her was to make Buffy jealous. The text leaves open whether he did or did not go home and make good on his implied claim (threat?) to Buffy that he was going to have sex with her.

What's missing from your list is anything that suggests that Spike is gagging for it to the point he'd screw anything that walks. And while he did have the thing with Harmony, there's (to adopt your own rather patronising tone) such a thing as character development. After Harm's Way it seems like a pure regression in Spike's character to have him so hard up that he'd hook up with a woman for whom he -- to repeat -- has zero respect. It's also counter to the theme that he's matured to show him as having the sexual maturity of a 16-year old boy.
@IrrationaliTV: That's why I said 90% of Spike fans. I know there are some Spike fans that love this particular portrayal of him.

I'm just referring to the majority of Spike fans that are extremely unhappy with this characterization.

And to somewhat agree with you, I have little to no issues with Spike's characterization in season 8, beginning of season 9 and his mini. I'm only referring to Spike in Angel & Faith. If Dark Horse continues with those earlier types of characterizations of Spike, than I will not complain nor speak up regarding this issue. If they continue with Gage's interpretation then I have a HUGE problem with that.

[ edited by Tennyoelf on 2013-03-28 21:14 ]
@Maggie: Re: Halfrek. Yes, there is indeed a joke there in Older and Far Away because the actress who played Halfrek also played Cecily, but the fact remains that there is an implied history between the two characters:

Halfrek pauses, looking to her right as Spike walks up.

HALFREK: (shocked whisper) William?

SPIKE: (frowning) Hey, wait a minute.

BUFFY: You guys know each other?

Shot of Willow, Clem, Sophie, and Tara getting up and approaching slowly.

Halfrek still staring at Spike, but now she snaps out of it.

HALFREK: (quickly) Uh, no. (laughs) No.

She fiddles with her hair nervously.

SPIKE: (still frowning) Not really.

Shot of Buffy looking confused.

There are basically three ways to read this exchange: 1) Cecily became Halfrek, or Halfrek was Cecily, they are the same, and this explains the exchange between her and Spike; 2) Spike and Halfrek had a relationship, or a fling, at some point; and 3) Both 1 and 2 are correct, but the relationship would have happened after Spike became a vampire.

I tend to support reading 2, although there is nothing in the text which really denies reading 1, and therefore I leave that open to possibility. However, in most cases the simplest answers tend to be correct, and in this case the simplest answer is that Halfrek and Spike had a sexual history, not necessarily that Halfrek is the same person as Cecily.

Also, I didn't mention before but it was also implied that Spike and Angel had wanted to have a four-way with Dru and Darla. In The Girl in Question, Angel states that they [Dru and Darla] never let them [Angel and Spik] do that [have sex with Dru and Darla at the same time]. This after the Immortal had sex with Dru and Darla simultaneously.

Also, I don't think that Spike would have sex with anything that walks...

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-28 21:28 ]

[ edited by DocBenway on 2013-03-28 21:30 ]
You can read that exchange as a nod at the fourth wall. Or you can read it as implying something actually once happened. But since we know the fourth wall is driving it, it seems a stretch to cart out the example as evidence that Spike is a sex-driven guy who likes to get laid, and for whom it's not a regression to show him running around showing off his weenie to people while crowing about another six hour marathon with the brainless ditz he has chained up in the next room.

I, on the other hand, continue to read that as distinctly immature behavior, (boorish, indeed). But maybe I just have old fashioned attitudes about what constitutes an adult attitude towards sex, or the way mature men should relate with women.

Re: Darla/Dru etc. That's not even just implied. It's straight-up text that he wanted that. Back when he was an unsouled vampire. My reply is again to appeal to that other literary concept about character development.

[ edited by Maggie on 2013-03-28 21:39 ]
I'm curious about the location of the scientific poll determining the the breakdown of Spike fan opinion. I'm being sarcastic of course, because I sometime stumble into that tactic, too. Mainly, I don't think anyone gets to slap statistics onto their side of a debate like this.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2013-03-28 21:47 ]
Well, Maggie, you've got a bit of a problem on your hands: Angel and Faith is canonical. There is no denying that Spike indeed had naked sweaty time with Harmony in issue #20 of A+F. Now, I have chosen to read this genital/S+M/potentially six hour event as the consensual decision of two matured individuals [Spike more so, Harm less so, but both so] who aren't necessarily prudish or puritanical in their relation to their sexuality. Since I hold this position regarding the events, I can continue to read Spike as matured, and not particularly sex-driven nor immature nor boorish. You, on the other hand, are insisting on reading the event as sex-drive immature boorishness, and therefore are proving the very point you wish to argue against: that Spike is a slutty ho.

The sex happened. Now, depending on your attitude towards the event, and sexuality in general, it must color and inform your reading of Spike. Is he a man-slut or not? I say he isn't. What say you?
The One True b!X:

It is a well known fact that 90% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Including this one.

@Doc and b!X:

It's true I don't know the actual percentage, because I haven't done polls and studies. I'm just basing that number on the fact that around the Spike fans that I know, estimating in my head, MOST, except 1 or 2, who consider Spike their number 1 favorite character, have issues with this characterization. It was an estimation based on reaction that I've read around the internet. I'm seeing more negative than positive. Actually, hardly any positive.

Please, tell me, what has Spike's fan's reaction been around the net? Tell you me your experience? Have you gone to different blogging sites, forums, and other places to base your assumption that I'm just completely making this up?

With my own eyes the majority of the Spike fan response to this issue, that I have come across, has been negative.

And my original 90%? It was connected to "I've seen" which should tell you, the reader, immediately that this number is based solely on my experience and does not hold scientific fact as if I was stating "90% of Spike fans believe this" but instead I said "I've seen 90% of Spike fans" which hopefully comes across as what I described above (meaning, in my experience, everyone has a different experience).

[ edited by Tennyoelf on 2013-03-28 22:36 ]
It is worth noting that a frequent complaint about Buffy and Angel IS sex-negativity. Now I'll admit it's coded a little differently if we're saying it's OK for Spike to just have sex and for everyone else it results in heartbreak and loss. Who knows though? This could be the start of a rekindling of that relationship. Heck, that wouldn't be less thought out than the Xander/Anya initial pairing.

To many of the Spike fans I would say this: Spike post-soul has had by far the easiest portrayal of anyone. If he were a wrestler, we'd say he tends to get over on everyone. His function has been to be by turns supportive, heroic, and comic. If you're a fan, NONE of that is hard to digest. If you were a fan of any other character: Buffy, Angel, Willow, Xander, Giles, etc. you've had more moments of "umm... what?" to deal with.

I'm not suggesting in or out of character here. I'm suggesting if 90% of Spike fans unscientifically don't care for it, it's not shocking when this is to my memory Spike looking less than lovely for the first time in a while. It's almost Buffy in S6 in that way.

To me, I'm OK with this as a direction. Let Spike be confused and heal and become a better guy. If it's a good story, go with it. I don't mind an episode of Nice Guy, if that includes him growing. Because having a moment of personal entitlement is human. It's about working out complex emotions in a negative way. Why Spike specifically should be immune to that is something I don't understand.
Docbenway (and Simon): Sorry, sorry. The exchange was "I've no idea who Maria Harley is and I'm not going to even speculate about whether Spike might have had sex with some character we never saw him have sex with." I don't see this in subtext and deborahmm did not see it in text. No claim needed. Straightforward. I meant no ad hominem attack; I did feel, as apparently deborahmm did as well, that your comment was made without knowing whether or not we already had knowledge on the issue and I apologize for not expressing that better or more fairly. My comment about reader response was meant a bit tongue in check; I am really reader response and I think everyone here is tired to death of me noting that. I should further note that in real life I am a pointy-headed academic who is used to having point-headed discussions about things like reader response theory (and Stanley Fish) and what comprises canon and so on. :-) See:
@Azzers: If it's a good story, go with it. I don't mind an episode of Nice Guy, if that includes him growing. Because having a moment of personal entitlement is human. It's about working out complex emotions in a negative way. Why Spike specifically should be immune to that is something I don't understand.

I'm okay with dealing with emotions in a negative way. As you said, if it's a good story. I just don't find that here.

You may be okay with this, but as you know I'm not. But I'm not unreasonable. What was given to us in this issue does not accurately show souled Spike dealing with his emotions in a realistically negative way. Sure let him get drunk and make mistakes and do things weirdly. But Spike, since his soul, has not shown to be a Nice Guy who thinks he was okay without a soul. And having sex was Harmony is just...I don't have the words here.

So, no I don't see a good story here nor this a progression of his character. Or could lead to progression. I see it as pure regression in almost all forms. But that's my opinion.
I really enjoyed this issue - even with the surprise (possibly backdoor) sex at the conclusion.

I believe that Spike didn't go ‘all the way’ with Morgan because she was a stranger, and possibly untrustworthy. Since then, Spike has had his moment to vent, and he's moving on... and like normal people, probably making poor choices and doing things for himself (and not for Buffy). Everyone just needs to simply roll their eyes and laugh, I’m sure Gage just meant it as a fun satire.

Ps I think the best twist would come from Angel being Angelus and playing everyone for a fool. He's a sharp cookie and after being sealed away (how many times now?), to sustain his longevity he'll need to fake it until a moment of dire need – Shocking all the fans in his wake. Since we all know that nothing in the ‘verse runs this smooth.
People (& vampires) can have random consensual sex and it mean absolutely nothing. I'm a huge fan of the practice. Especially with a familiar and comfy partner/fuckbuddy. Absolutely not seeing the issue others are having. Did sex outside serious relationships become taboo overnight? What am I missing here? Is Spike supposed to be a monk because Buffy isn't interested this week?
@Doc -- Yup, this sex happened. I think it makes Spike look bad. My best hope is that he is suitably chagrined the morning after.

@Azzers is right that this is fairly mild compared to the bad moments for many of the other characters.

@Tenny -- I remain sorry that you and so many others find the whole characterization so off. I re-read the issue this morning and still find the portrait of Spike to be both believable and moving up until the last three pages. People say all sorts of things when they are processing emotional pain -- most notably the rant about girls not going for nice guys. I find it very human and a measure of how hurt he is right now. And I think others over on Slay Alive are doing a nice job of articulating all of that. Whatever he might have told himself, he'd maintained a small bubble of hope that just got punctured. And worse, it got punctured after having his hope raised (by the "I thought about running off with you line"). I just think it's a flat mistake to think on the basis of this issue that Spike regrets getting his soul, only got it to get into Buffy's pants, thinks she'd prefer him to be a monster, etc. etc. Anyway, I'd be upset if I thought he was just reporting true facts about how things are. And I'm sorry that you do read it that way, because I'm sorry to see you so upset. The upside is that I think he's still the Spike you love, and that the writers do not see him the way you think, and that he'll be portrayed going forward in a way that works better for you.
@IrrationaliTV: The fact she is soulless, the fact at how the sex was portrayed and Spike's reaction to it. The fact that Spike and Harmony have a really bad history.

Personally, if they had to push the sex thing, I'd rather it had been a nameless girl at club or bar, preferably a slayer looking for some fun. And not connected to him "getting over" Buffy.

And also, do you see Faith going around getting laid because she needs it? Or Angel? Or Willow? Why does Spike have to be the one to be thrown around and shown as a bit of a shallow slut? He was't that bad on the show. People tend over exaggerate that.

Those are my issues. Others have other issues with it. I'm not against casual sex (I'm all for it), but the sex here was almost pointless, really, and unnecessary for the story. It only made all involved look bad.

And personally, the execution of it was just in bad taste. Again, not against casual sex. But the context is what makes it not so cool.

@Maggie: Thank you. Your words mean a lot to me. I wish I could see it the way you do. Maybe if it was only done differently to get the point across, I may have enjoyed it.

[ edited by Tennyoelf on 2013-03-28 23:13 ]
On the one hand people are saying that what Spike did makes him a shallow slut, but then those same people seem to argue they have no problem with casual sex. I'm confused, because all Spike did is have casual sex, with someone he knows already. So is he a shallow slut or not?

ETA: Also, I am unclear on how he would not have been a shallow slut if it had been a nameless girl from a bar instead. Is this all just Harmony hate?

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2013-03-28 23:16 ]
Having recreational sex with someone he considers a friend (or enemy) does not make him a shallow slut in 2013. I thought we were passed this about 40 years ago? What's with the extreme slut shaming? I didn't think anyone "looked bad" because of casual consensual sex but everyone brings their own bias and judgments to art. Seems like a minority here though that thinks it is so very horrible. :)
Great issue! I had no problem with the Spike/Harmony stuff at all. They just picked right back up from where they were in Angel season 5. I think Angel doing that would have been out of character if it was anyone else but Harmony, which is why I kind of "got" the whole not sleazy cause it's Harmony thing. This is just what her and Spike do. They have a history of fun, non-commital sex. Faith telling Spike she wouldn't be his rebound girl was great, and makes even more sense considering the inferiority complex she used to have with regards to Buffy.

I was proud of her in that moment. She's not "easy" anymore and I like that. She's grown so much it's amazing. I saw it more in this issue than any other so far. She seemed so much more grown up than Spike. Granted, Spike generally likes to act immature as it's part of his charm, but it was still striking how different this Faith was from the one he interacted with in season 7. In fact, more and more I'm seeing things in Faith I used to admire in Buffy

I found the line about her not having a love life because of Angel very interesting. You can read whatever you want from that, but it's a very interesting bit of dialog. One man pretty much owns her life right now, and he's not her boyfriend

I have to say, part of me is a little tired of the whole can't get over Buffy thing, and I mean that for BOTH vampires with a soul. Seriously, it's gotten old. It did make for some nice dialog between them though, something for them to bond over instead of their usual bickering.
And on a much more interesting topic, Angel is totally Angelus. :)
:( Those people have a name. I don't understand why you guys are so hostile over this? Seriously. I'm being nice. Why so rude?

As I said, do you see other characters jonesing to get laid? Why isn't Angel, Faith, the Aunts, etc trying to get some? Why is Spike the only one flirting with Faith, than the Aunts? It makes him look desperate. Like a sex druggy. It comes off like he needs a fix to feel better about himself. So he'll do anything that moves, Angel gives him Harmony's number and again, she is soulless and they have bad history. He goes for it and then is a dick about it.

My scenario? Angel is in the basement, prepping for Giles soul to be sucked out. Spike feels out of place among Faith and the aunts and unwanted. So he goes to the club Nadira frequents, gets drunk, and chats up a slayer. He reveals some of his pain to her and she offers him a good time. Angel gets Giles' soul sucked out and speaks to Faith. The issue ends with Spike and the nameless slayer girl going off together or shutting the door to a hotel.

I'd be a whole lot okay with that scenario. I'd have almost no issue with that.

So there, casual sex that doesn't make Spike look like a shallow slut. He doesn't try to hit on Faith or the aunts, just goes to bar feeling bad and someone offers him a good time. He accepts. That shows that Spike can get someone other than Harmony to take interest in him and that he is wanted. It's a bit superficial, but the girl is the one to make the move and it shows that Spike is willing/able to move on from Buffy in a way that isn't shown as a (not funny) laugh. Also it lets Spike know he has other options. He looks less pathetic.

And in the morning they part ways knowing just what it was. Just some cold comfort.

There, casual sex okay.

And no, I'm indifferent to Harmony. But she is soulless demon who has bad history with Spike.

@TV: So Angel is Angelus, that's why he pimped out Harmony? Because oh, if it's OOC for Angel, he has to be soulless! But Spike fans complaining about Spike OOCness is overboard? Again, my scenario doesn't make anyone look bad.

[ edited by Tennyoelf on 2013-03-28 23:34 ]
@Angel&Faith...It's really interesting to see someone else mention that Faith is acting like Buffy used to act. I read the comic and literally said almost the same thing. Faith acts more like Buffy than Buffy does. Expect that when I said it, there were no swooning moments of Faith love, but rather, eye rolling and disgust. More than anything, I want Buffy back.
Tennyoelf, I don't see it the way you do. And maybe I'm a soulless slut but I see absolutely nothing wrong with Spike's healthy sexual behavior.I do see issues with Faith and Angel's obsessive and repressed behavior. It's not right.

The only reason I think Angelus is back is because that is exciting and fun and will make the story next month even better. I tend not to judge my nicely drawn cartoon characters too harshly. I let them tell me a cool story.
@The One True b!X said "On the one hand people are saying that what Spike did makes him a shallow slut, but then those same people seem to argue they have no problem with casual sex."

THIS. For me, this was a slow clap moment in the conversation. This whole debate sounds like many people have double standards ("Nothing against casual sex, but why are you making Spikey have it, and not Angel or Faith, 'cause it makes him look baaaad in comparison?"), probably without fully realising it themselves.

I haven't even read the issue yet, but these (seeming?) double standards really stood out to me in the conversation. (AND I'm a serious Spike fan. In case anyone was wondering.) Above all, though, I'm loving this amount of lively conversation on a comic!

(Edited to fix a typo and 'cause I got a name wrong. Silly me!)

[ edited by darling on 2013-03-28 23:51 ]

[ edited by darling on 2013-03-29 10:25 ]
@TV: No, please don't say you are a soulless slut. I don't see you that way. And in no way ever thought that of you.

Please understand that while we see this different, I really don't have a problem with casual sex. It's the context of how they showed this scene, that is my problem, not the actual sex. My scenario has Spike having sex, but in a much healthier, progressive way. Isn't that how you would do it? If you wanted sex, but didn't have girlfriend, would you call an ex that you treated badly before or go to a bar/club looking for a girl that is looking for the same thing you are?

Okay, I like Angelus too, he's fun. If that's how you feel, then cool beans. Just understand these characters, to some people, mean a lot. Some people (and I'll admit that includes me) have strong emotional attachments to. If I wanted to a cool story, I wouldn't be bothering with this because I don't see a cool story here. I'm, personally, in it for characters and their character development.

EDIT: Thanks! I love being accused of double standards! /sarcasm

Really, if you just read what I am saying you know there are no double standards here.

[ edited by Tennyoelf on 2013-03-28 23:53 ]
FWIW, IrrationaliTV didn't say that, I said that.
'Isn't that how you would do it? If you wanted sex, but didn't have girlfriend, would you call an ex that you treated badly before or go to a bar/club looking for a girl that is looking for the same thing you are?'

I agree Tennyoelf, and couldn't have said it better myself.
darling, (may I call you that?) b!X said that for clarification's sake. He's much better at putting the words together in a sentence than I am. :) That's how you can tell the difference.

Tennyoelf, I take it you don't like Harmony. I think she's fun in a dirty girl sort of way. And it's nice that you don't think ill of me but it would also be fine if you did. :)
People may be noting that the issue has both the comic's protagonists dismissing Spike and Harmony as shallow and sleazy. Moreover, Harmony is not Spike's friend or his enemy. It's more complicated than that. She's an ex-girlfriend he started dating on the rebound from Drusilla as a mechanism for getting revenge on all women, treated with complete contempt on BtVS and as a minor irritant/means to get his rocks off in AtS 5 before momentarily seeming to realise that she had feelings too (Spike does know what it's like to be used as a sodding sex toy). As far as he knew she was still carrying a torch for him in this issue but whether she did or not he still regards her with contempt in #8x40. There are many women he might be familiar and comfy with but Harmony isn't one of them.

As for Spike's characterisation in general, we've seen him maudlin and wallowing in self-pity after a break up but on the show it was both genuinely hilarious and ultimately revealing about other characters as well as about Spike. In Lovers Walk and TGIQ Spike and Angel are utterly ridiculous but both episodes end on a more sober and reflective note. Even if there's some rule that comics can't have those kind of layers, on the show while Spike makes a complete fool of himself, he's more than capable of pointing out how Angel has too. It's just not credible that he'd hold back from playing the Twilight card in a Buffy angst fuelled rant against Angel after their recent history.
@TV: I'm going to take it that you don't actually read my posts, as I said before I am indifferent to Harmony, but I do not dislike her. You haven't answered my questions and you refuse to understand my point of view when I have repeatedly tried to better explain myself. And no, I'm not going to think ill of you because you are fellow human being who has not done harm to me, though while a you are coming off rude, that's very human behavior. If anything, your reply informed me that I should now end any interaction with you. Good day.

@Curly: Thank you! :)

@Hayes62: Thank you as well. That is a good point to make. And I agree with it.
I am one of those who finds this characterization of Spike anathema, rendering Spike the fool and butt of the joke so that Angel and Faith can look down their noses at him and show their superiority. Quite appropriate as this character has never done anything worthy of respect or shown any growth over the series and can thus be inserted as fodder wherever necessary (insert obligatory comment that this is sarcasm in case someone misses the subtext).
Was I just dismissed? Ha! Anyways, I'm thrilled Spike is getting some. Good for him. Wish Faith would lighten up and follow suit. Would do Buffy a world of good as well. I'm sure that cop is totally willing to roll around in the hay with no strings attached. :)
This discussion has become far too personal. If people find themselves unable to discuss the comics without taking a shot at another poster, veiled or otherwise, then they'll find themselves unable to discuss, period.
I don't know how you or others would feel about it, but I really, really, want to see either a Buffy or Angel & Faith issue just focusing on Buffy & Faith some time soon. There's a lot of interesting things they could write for those two given all the things that have happened since they last spoke to each other

Maybe we could see them work together for a change. When's the last time we've really seen them back to back facing some evil threat as a team?

I don't think Buffy would be too keen on the Giles' resurrection though, which would be one more thing for them to fight over I guess. Not to mention Buffy's lingering jealousy over the father/daughter relationship Giles and Faith developed.

There's still a lot of interesting story material to be mined between Buffy and Faith. I can see another shouting match where Faith chews out Buffy for giving up on Angel, and Buffy chewing out Faith for the crazy Giles resurrection thing

If Angelus is back, that would make for a very interesting dynamic if Buffy were to show up to slay him. She probably has more reason to than ever after Twilight (even though that wasn't actually Angelus' doing). Faith protecting Angel from Buffy would be a nice reversal of Angel protecting her from Buffy back in Angel season 1. I'm sure it would be one heck of a fight to witness too.

I've always loved the Buffy/Faith dynamic, the way their lives are so intertwined and yet they always seem at odds with each other.
There is something I want to make clear about why this issue is such a dissapoinment for a lot of Spike fans. First, lets make a distintion here, yes, a lot of Spike fans are also Spuffy fans and can be bothered by the simple fact that Spike is having sex with any other woman that is not Buffy. That of course cause a part of the bother in lot of the fans.
But that´s not the deep issue here, its not about being prudish or sanctimonious here abut the sex itself. Spike is a free agent , as is Harmony.
The annoyance comes with the way that Spike´s caracter is used and reduced in this number, as the "village idiot ", "the funny relief", that make stupid coments, that flirts with everything that moves, looking despertly for sex in a rush to "get over Buffy" as quick as possible, and that in the end is guided by his good pal to the easy chick that would not present a problen to meet his needs.
The problem is that this Spike seems to have no relation with the one we saw in Buffy Season 9, the Spike that -decided- to leave Buffy whe he saw he couldn´t be for her what he wanted to be, the one that rejected Morgan, because he wasn´t over Buffy yet, and wouldnt be right, the Spike that has grown and matured this last years. he one who Joss called "the most evolved charater in the Buffyverse".
So no, the problem is not the sex at all, is how Spike in this number is behaving as 4th season Spike, but in drugs.
I think that the characterization of Spike in this issue was best summed up on Buffyforums by Vampire in a Rug (who is not a Spike fan), who pointed out that Spike's portrayal is a case of Flandrization. (If you don't know what Flanderization is: ) In other words, this Spike is a caricature, who's all about drinking, smoking, jokes and sex in an exaggerated way.

@DocBenwey: No, it wasn't positively confirmed in canon that Halfrek is Cecily, but that's what was implied by that moment in Older and Far Away. I don't think this was the intention when they cast Kali Rocha as Halfrek, but after they did, the writers decided to play with it and inserted that joke. That's why she looks at him in surprise, as if recognizing him suddenly, and says: "William?" (not "Spike", which is what has been his preferred name since 6 months after he was sired) and he pretends he doesn't know who she is.

Also, this part of your post is not entirely accurate:
"He isn't Angel, who seems fine going decades without sex, and prefers sex with love. "

I didn't get the impression that he loved Drusilla when he was having sex with her. In fact, he usually had sex with her just to screw Spike over.

Angel also claims not to have loved Darla when they were together, because he thinks he wasn't capable of it without a soul. I'm among these people who do think what he felt for her can't be called anything but love, but that's what he says.

(I'm guessing this never crossed your mind because it happened when Angel did not have a soul. But you've listed the women Spike slept with when he didn't have a soul, like Anya or Buffybot. As with all other things, it doesn't make sense to exclude Angel's soulless experiences and actions as those belonging to "Angelus" but include Spike's soulless experiences and actions as those of the same "Spike".)

"They just picked right back up from where they were in Angel season 5. I think Angel doing that would have been out of character if it was anyone else but Harmony, which is why I kind of "got" the whole not sleazy cause it's Harmony thing. This is just what her and Spike do. They have a history of fun, non-commital sex. "

That's how you see their history? I would say that their history is that of Spike using Harmony as a rebound girl, as a sex toy and Buffy surrogate (even making her pretend to be Buffy) while constantly insulting her, treating her like crap and not caring at all how she feels about it, dumping her immediately once Drusilla turned up, and of course, once driving a stake through her just because she kept annoying him with her talk; while Harmony had real feelings for him, and was in fact aware that Spike was treating her awfully (as we see in The Initiative, Crush, Destiny and Harm's Way; and there's also her comment to Wesley that most people aren't so lucky to have the person of their dreams love them back). Fandom likes to ignore the fact that even dumb, vapid, shallow Harmony has feelings and can get hurt, just as Spike ignored it.

The place where they ended up in season 5 of AtS was one where Spike finally seemed to get a clue that he had been awful to her and that she had feelings, and managed to be halfway decent to her for the first time ever - of course, he couldn't tell her he cared about her or respected her, since that would've been a lie, but at least he had a drink with her without treating her like crap, tried to make her feel a bit better (even if it was through a backhanded compliment, and stopped using her as a blow-up doll. What happened in this issue was the opposite of picking up where they left off - it was a regression of the one positive development in Spike's attitude to Harmony.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2013-03-29 04:01 ]

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2013-03-29 04:02 ]
TimeTravellingBunny, we don't like to see user comments on other sites quoted here. Edit the post to put that idea into your own words please.
Woof. I thought this story was delightful and love the Angel and Faith book overall. Everybody's so angry over a REALLY well produced tale of our favorite characters. Did anyone else pick up Faith being a bit jealous when Harmony will be a rebound for Spike? Maybe those two will still get some time together when the timing is better. :)
I wouldn't mind an issue devoted to the Buffy and Faith dynamic, it's always enjoyable to watch. I don't ever see them becoming best buds though. A lot of water and the bridge still might have burnt to the ground.
I think the last time we saw them fight back to back was in Chosen. I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the Faith is great camp BUT I do love storylines with her front and center. I kinda love to hate Faith, if you know what I mean.
I also have to disagree that Buffy would be upset about Angels plan to bring Giles back, especially once she learns that until Angel intervened, Giles was stuck in an eternity of hell. Regardless of anything that happens from this point forward, Angel has saved him from that fate and I think Buffy would be very very happy about that.
Good point about the Giles thing, I guess that makes sense. I don't understand anyone not loving Faith though LOL, but to each his/her own. I've always loved Faith more than Buffy and have no problem with her becoming a better heroine. Brian K Vaughn and Christos Cage have done marvelous things with her character. I always have a bias when it comes to Faith, Angel, and Illyria. They are my three favorite characters

On another note, I was thinking about that dialog where Faith was comparing Spike to Angel and making him mad. It might have been interesting for Spike to throw some of that back at her, given her similar distaste for being compared to Buffy.

One thing I find interesting about those two is how they've both had to come to grips with being the "other one", which I'm sure is frustrating for them both.
Agreed. Being the second generation slayer or vampire with a soul could not be easy for either of them. Especially when they have such big shoes to fill.
Man, I can't imagine anyone liking Faith more than Buffy. Are you a BTVS fan or an Angel fan. Or both? Buffy is my all time favorite character with Giles and Angel right on her heels. Also love Wesley and adore the Scooby dynamic.
Totally agree about Faith growing in these comics, she is not the same person. My dislike comes in with the inability to forgive her all the horrible things that she put Buffy through during the live series. I do enjoy her storylines though, just not in the way you do. *g*
It's true that Faith has done some awful things, can't deny that. I think that's true of a lot of the Buffyverse characters now though. It's hard to think of any, single one them whose soul is clean. Well, maybe Dawn I guess.

I enjoyed both shows, but always leaned more towards Angel as far as which show I liked more. Darker, and more mature in some ways, it appealed to me more. Wesley was a great character. I miss him. In a lot of ways, he kind of became the coolest character on that show over time

Buffy isn't high on my list of favorite characters, not since season 7 and onward. Her character changed a lot. Still, she's Buffy. She's the reason we have all these great stories and all these great characters. So I still appreciate and respect her for that.

I can understand your view on Faith, at least we both agree she keeps things interesting.

Does seem like a possible missed opportunity this issue that her and Spike didn't discuss their shared struggles in overcoming comparisons to Buffy/Angel. Maybe it'll happen some other time, or maybe Faith is really past that. Only Cage knows I guess
Wasn't a Faith fan during the show just cause I never UNDERSTOOD her. Gage has made me understand her, and now I love her.
Totally agree about Wes becoming so very cool over on Angel. Talk about a character who demonstated change. It has to be Wes. I mean, when you think about how he started on Buffy and who he ended as on ATS? It's pretty amazing writing that they not only took us there and made us believe it but that they also made us love it. I was heart broken when he died in season 5 and have always expected (hoped) that Lilah would factor into these comics and find a way to bring him back. I am SO over the killing of my favorite characters.
It's funny but for as much as I hate the Buffy and soulless evil Spike dynamic, I was a shameless fan of Wes/Lilah. Shrugs, who can determine why we like what we like.

Also agree about Buffy changing in season 7 but then it wasn't really just Buffy that changed. The entire series dynamic changed and not for the better. It seems as if the creative team had already checked out at that point. I can't say that I hate it because it's Buffy BUT it could have been epic. It started out that way with Lessons.

For next season, I would love to see either Gage or Lynch get a chance to write Buffy and would prefer Joss to do it himself but since none of those options are likely to happen, I will remain happy with having Gage for Angel. I also think Gage would really do the Spike/Faith conversation that you spoke of earlier some real justice. He seems to have a really great handle on the characters.
I get my issues late, but wanted to say that it was great to see Spike mention poets. He's generally portrayed as working class with Angel having more class, which is the opposite of how they were as humans.

DocBenway: "Consent" is a fairly low bar to meet. An ethical and mature person might have questions, such as: Does this person really want more from me than I want to give? Are they doing something they will later regret?

I dislike the dichotomy that you must be all for casual sex or else you're a prude. In the real world, people increase their chances for STDs and women have a greater risk of rape. Some people enjoy sex more with someone they care about, or someone who already knows what they like.
I get my issues late, but wanted to say that it was great to see Spike mention poets. He's generally portrayed as working class with Angel having more class, which is the opposite of how they were as humans.

True. However my takeaway was always that as a vampire Spike and Angel did an interesting dance where Angel "moved up" so to speak and became a tad of an elitist with Darla who enjoyed the finer things while William became more base with Drusilla.

Hundreds of years later you have a more gentrified Angel and a far more salt-of-the-earth Spike. It's just neither are limited by those designations. Angel can be just as base as Spike can be cultured. It's both in their nature.

[ edited by richied1983 on 2013-04-12 03:50 ]
I know I'm late to the party, having just picked up my issue, and that no one will read this, but I guess Angel has Harmony on speed dial for some non-soul-losing bootie calls.

I thought Joss was a feminist. He signed off on this drivel?
And that's anti-feminist how?

Feminism is about women doing whatever they want to do, including bootie calls.
That word feminism has so little value in this day and age, because people have such black and white views on it. We've gotten away from what feminism really is about, which is freedom and equality for women.

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