Written by Brian Lynch
Art by Franco Urru
Page count: 104
Publication date: 2008
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Collects issues 1-4 of the limited series Spike: After the Fall.

The collection is set after the short Spike’s story in Angel: After the Fall vol. 2 but before Angel: After the Fall vol. 1. After Spike rescues Fred from demons and Fred turns back into Illyria and rescues Spike, they start rescuing humans from the demons.

The first issue is a bit on the lighter side, well, as light as you can be when the story is set in Hell and includes quite a bit of violence. But there’s funny banter, funny minor characters, and people being rescued. Illyria turns into Fred and Spike tries to find a way to make her turn back into Illyria and stay that way, because that’s safest thing for her and for everyone else. He’s also developing feelings for Fred/Illyria and Illyria clearly wants to keep him around. (By the way, I don’t remember them having this kind of relationship in the show, but it’s been a while since I watched season 5.) Spike finds a relatively safe place for the largish group of humans, in an amusement park, and goes out to save some more people. Unfortunately, a group of female demons have been keeping eye on the place and when Spike leaves, they attack.

And then, the story turns really dark: Spike is captured and tortured. Most of his followers are killed by a demon Non who can suck out humans’ life energy.

In this comic, really bad and painful things happen to Spike. He’s tortured not only physically but mentally, too, when he can’t protect the people he’s saved. He also gets bad news about his future. He thinks about giving up and retiring, but he doesn’t: he fights on. So, this is pretty pure Spike.

The artwork is somewhat gory with a lot of fighting going on, and the whole thing being set in Hell. I liked Urru art a bit better this time.

Oh and Connor makes an appearance near the end.

It’s not necessary to read the other After the Fall comics to get this one, but I’d strongly recommend watching at least Angel’s season 5 first.