This is a very large volume of Spike graphic novels, which is most notable for containing the two cult classics Asylum and Shadow Puppets - both of which are now considered official cannon episodes of the Angel universe - but also contains four other stories that link in to various characters and stories from the Buffy / Angel TV series. One of these four stories is in fact five stories in itself - all concerning Spike's various run ins with the hilariously self-important Wheedon take on Dracula. Not only do they fill in some of the missing time periods in Spike's long life, only glimpsed at before, but they are incredibly funny and Spike's distinctive dialogue and attitude are spot on - it's what makes him such an incredibly apt character for the transition to graphic novels. Asylum is where Spike really starts to hit his stride though, and it's no surprise you can't get the originals now for love nor money.
My wife is a nerd. She loves Buffy, Angel, Star Trek, Stargate and who knows how many other shows. I bought her this collection for her as part of her Christmas Presents and she has told me that it is brilliant. Apparently it has some great funny stories and loads of Spike's history which made his character in the shows more intersting too. Beyond that though, I can only say that, from my point of view, it was beautifully drawn and coloured and looked very pretty lol
The Spike Omnibus (volume 1) collects a number of IDW’s Spike stories, whose variable quality ranges from good to excellent. The book is slightly smaller than the regular comics and collected editions, which is the only drawback. The stories collected are –
“Spike vs. Dracula” is a five-issue mini-series, also collected as Spike vs. Drácula. These are a set of relatively unrelated but very entertaining stories set at various times from 1898 to 2003, though there is a running sub-plot involving Dracula and Spike’s personal squabbles over an unpaid debt running through it. There are a number of guest-stars and cameos, from Hitler and Audrey Hepburn to Bela Lugosi and Edward Wood Jr (though not all in the same episode). There is a good reason for Spike and Dracula’s enmity, dating back to that day (or night) that Angelus was cursed by a gypsy and given a soul (off stage in the first issue), and their various collisions over the years are not forced, but flow from Spike’s circumstances at any given time. More detail can be found by following the link above.
“Asylum” is a five-issue mini-series also collected as Spike: Asylum. This is a story filled with blood-splattered violence, as Spike checks into a ‘Wellness Centre’ to be cured of his blood-lust, but secretly to search for a missing girl at the behest of her distraught parents. Unfortunately, it turns out that they actually want something else, and Spike finds himself trapped in a prison for supernatural entities, with a horde of beings that he has terrorised in his blood-soaked past, and are now looking for revenge. There are quite a few people there who are genuinely looking for a cure to their problems, though the staff are also a mixed bag, some wanting to genuinely help the patients, and others wanting something else. The ‘something else’ eventually presents itself towards the end of the story, and Spike and his newly-recruited crew once more have to save the world from an evil menace. Follow the link above for more detail.
“Shadow Puppets” is a four-issue mini-series also collected as Spike: Shadow Puppets. This is a very entertaining story, as Spike is summoned to Japan to deal with the return of the Evil Undead, or, the Smile Time Puppets as we prefer to refer to them. This time, they are ready with an army of cuddly Ninjas to face whatever Spike and Lorne can bring against them. Follow the link for details.
These, as I said above, are a mixed bag, but the quality improves as you progress through the collection