Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Spike & Dru: Paint the Town Red
Dark Horse Comics – April 1999
Writers: James Marsters and Christopher Golden
Artists: Ryan Sook, Guy Major
Editor: Scott Allie

More of this garbage. After the success of “Viva Las Buffy!” from a while back, I kinda got ready to love reading these Buffy comics, again. That, of course, was my own damn fault, because I should have really known better. But, of course, I didn’t, and now I’m back to this trite, by-the-numbers, cookie-cutter storytelling. The “Spike & Dru” series of comics, all of which – I believe – have been drawn by Ryan Sook, is an amalgamation of poor narrative ideas, lackluster followthrough, and even worse levels of awful character utilization. This particular outing included Spike himself, James Marsters, the dude behind the platinum blond hair. He assists in the writing and, in some ways, it assists, adding more of that Spike flavor to the mix. But it sure as hell isn’t enough.

Set after Spike runs off with Dru after the events of “Becoming: Part 2“, “Paint the Town Red” tells of how Spike and Dru fall out of sorts before the events of season three’s “Lover’s Walk” and does so with malice and a lack of care for the canon. Here, Spike ends up running some middle-eastern village because he can’t stand the fact that Dru was falling for Angelus and he leaves her. Then, Dru shows up with a resurrected necromancer that she’d dug up, mostly for revenge. This leads to the pair having to team up to stop the evil undead and his legions of zombies before he can kill them both and take over Spike’s little run-down kingdom. Its all interesting, for the most part, but it is handled so poorly. And I can understand that they couldn’t follow the canon officially at this point. We don’t find out how Spike became a vampire until season seven of the show, so seeing here that Angel made Spike for Dru can’t be faulted upon the writers. Even though its stupid.

Once again, the same problems I’d had with “All’s Fair” and “Queen of Hearts” persist, here. Chief amongst them is the awful artwork. Ryan Sook sucks. His inability to draw the characters so that they come close to resembling the characters from the show. If they’d just look right, I’d have more respect for this series of comics. But they don’t, and this only draws my attention away from investing in these adventures. They suck. They just suck. But then there’s the larger-than-the-show monsters and action that doesn’t line up with the show at all. It pulls away from the “realism” and that’s not a good thing.

When I was reading this, and it was all over, I wanted to die. I’m serious. This isn’t some exaggerated level of not liking this thing. No, I really wanted to die. Reading these comics is having an adverse affect on me wanting to continue living. Next time I have to read one of these, and there is another one coming, I may vomit.

OVERALL REVIEW: I want to never talk about these things again. I just don’t know why this show needed so many awful comics as part of its world. Its stupid. I hate it all.