Spike: Shadow Puppets is another collaboration between writer Brian Lynch and artist Franco Urro, the team that brought us Spike: Asylum. I like Franco Urro's drawings - I can easily recognize the character he is drawing (not something I can say about some of the other graphic novels I have read)and he does a good job at capturing the expressions and personality of the people he is drawing that makes it a good complement to the story. And as for the story ..
"Shadow Puppets" continues after "Asylum" ends. Several of the characters from "Asylum" are main characters in "Shadow Puppets". While I think you could enjoy the story on its own, you will get a lot more out of it if you read "Asylum" first. "Shadow Puppets" takes place some time after ATS (Angel the Series) season 5 episode 14 "Smile Time". Lorne convinces Spike to travel to Japan with him to put a stop to the new, popular "Smile Time" kids show - apparently Angel and gang didn't put a complete stop to it, and in its new location it has found a way to drain children and "lonely adult males" worlwide. The story has a light hearted and fun approach - not as serious as "Asylum" just as "Smile Time" was a light hearted and fun story for ATS. There are lots of puppets in the story, including some favorite characters from ATS. Spike's adventure as a "wee, little puppet man" is funny, enjoyable, and believable Spike. The pairing of Spike and Lorne is a lot of fun, and one I wish they had done more of on ATS.
One of the things I enjoyed about both "Asylum" and "Shadow Puppets" are the Writer's Commentary at the end of the story. It's like listening to a Director's Commentary at the end of the movie - it enriches the story be explaining some of the inside jokes and hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) sights, pictures and symbols in the story. I like to see how many of them I pick up on when reading the story, and then check in the Writer's Commentary to see how many I might have missed.
To sum it up, if you are a Spike or Lorne fan, I highly recommend Spike:Shadow Puppets and if you haven't already read Spike: Asylum, get that one too. You can never get too much Spike.