SPIKE: Asylum (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Monday, August 13, 2007

What has Spike gotten himself into this time? How about an asylum filled with demons and vampires that want to kill him, and from which there is no escape? That is the plot in a nutshell for Spike: Asylum, the latest trade paperback release from IDW Publishing featuring the character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In terms of continuity, this tale takes place after the end of the Buffy TV show as Spike has returned to life, soul intact. He’s sought out by the Monhans, the parents of girl, who is part demon, and being held in a cult-like facility, presumably to be cured. Her parents want Spike to rescue her and play upon his weakness for women to get him to agree. 
Spike tries to commit himself to the Mosaic Center, claiming the old bloodlusts are taking over and he wants to be cured. He’s refused at first, mainly because most of the residents of Mosaic have nightmares about Spike and his legendary reputation for evil. Spike perseveres with the usual “charm” and finally gets in although Mosaic turns out to be quite different than what he expected. The facility is more like a maximum security prison for demons run by a giant slug-like warden. The warden places one of its tiny offspring in Spike’s ear, warning him that its babies don’t like to be too far from mother…or father…or whatever it is. If Spike should try to escape and stray to far from the facility, the creature will use his brain for a snack.
As you’d expect, Spike doesn’t make friends too easily in the place and soon is butting heads with the leader of the vampire clique named Weisau. He’d better behave…the warden has developed and interesting way to treat vampires who don’t follow the rules. He waits until their faces “vamp out” and then has their facial ridges and fangs surgically removed! If that wasn’t enough, Spike has just found out the real reason that the Monahans wanted Spike’s help.
The trade paperback collects the entire five issue limited series from IDW. Spike is at his smart-ass best in the book that only serves to get him into more and more trouble. What seems to be a fairly simple plot is cut open to reveal much more once Spike is finally inside Mosaic and several interesting surprises are served up for the reader. Writer Brian Lynch moves the story along quickly. Spike reluctantly has to turn to several of his inmates for help, knowing he can’t simply fight his way out. Artist Franco Urru is a new name for me but one who I hope to hear more about in the future. His rendering of Spike is spot on and he also gives readers some very interesting (and disgusting) looking fellow inmates. Look for a surprise guest star as well. IDW is doing a great job with the character.

Mania Grade: A-
Written by: Brian Lynch
Art by: Franco urru
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Pages: 128
Price: $19.99