Spike: Old Times
by Peter David, Fernando Goni (IDW, 2005)

It always escaped my notice that Kali Rocha, a relatively unknown Hollywood actress, played both William Pratt's scornful lover Cecily and Anya's vengeance demon pal Halfrek on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But it didn't slip by the eagle eye of writer Peter David, who based the stand-alone graphic novel Spike: Old Times on that very piece of trivia.

In Old Times, there was no Cecily; it was Halfrek all along, working to prepare for a wicked piece of vengeance that has followed one particular bloodline through many generations. In fact, if Cecily's scorn hadn't chased William into the cold, he'd never have run into Drusilla and been inducted into the ranks of undead; instead, he'd have died with the rest of Cecily's pals that very same night.

But now Halfrek is back and chasing after another descendant of that same hapless line. But Spike, who runs afoul of her in a seedy L.A. bar, is still carrying a chip on his shoulder from his spurned poetry, and he vows to save the man's life just to spite her.

Old Times is a great almost-episode of the late, lamented series, in which Spike -- introduced to be a brief-lived villain -- captured the public's attention and became one of its best-loved stars. The moody art by Fernando Goni never lets you forget you're reading a comic book, but it's realistic enough that you never have a problem identifying the characters; Spike, Halfrek and the hapless Lenny Wexler are remarkably expressive.

The shift of the Spike character from Dark Horse to IDW might have raised a few eyebrows and perhaps some concerns, but the bleach-blond vampire appears to be in very good hands indeed.

review by
Tom Knapp

25 August 2007

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