I was reading a review of the last issue of the Angel & Faith comic and there was OTT whinging in the comments claiming that Spike continuing to remember Dawn after Angel & Faith forgot her was an 'irritating' development and claiming that the comic was irrationally saying that Spike was 'closer to Dawn than anyone ever' (stated with what looked like quite a bit of bitterness. After all, we 'know' Spike didn't actually give a shit about Dawn, right? [/sarcasm]) Clearly, the A&F comic is all about propping Spike. (*snort* [eyeroll] *laughter.* I read the previous two issues.)
Er...uh...guys? I think some Spike bitterness / pigeon-holing myopia might be getting in the way of a rational read of the comic. Nothing anywhere in it indicates that Spike is 'closer to Dawn' than 'anyone' much less 'ever.' Seriously? Overreact much?
At last glance, Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Andrew also remember Dawn. Andrew, people. Andrew!
Someone reading such a Spike-resentful interpretation into the Angel & Faith comic requires quite a bit of determination (and, in this instance, unwarranted Spike negativity). Nothing in either comic indicates that Buffy or Xander are not substantially more important to Dawn than Spike. What the Angel & Faith comic does is highlight that Spike's relationship with Dawn is more real than Angel's and more substantial than Faith's ... which should be eniterly uncontroversial (and is for most).
Spike's relationship with Dawn was more real than Angel's.
Angel never even met the real Dawn on either show. Then, in the comics, his sole interaction with her was as Twilight. (Remember? It was his masked villain/martyr/toga phase.) The sum of Angel's relationship with Dawn is the spell and a one-off incidental use of her as a pawn while playing supervillain. That's it. That's all. Spike remembering Dawn after Angel forgets her makes perfect sense (in a comic that isn't known for great sums of it). All it took to remove Angel's memory is for the spell to fade. There was no there there. Spike has real memories (and unresolved issues) with Dawn, so -- DUH!
Faith, on the other hand, never had a relationship with Dawn beyond brief aquaintance. Her reaction in the comic was to blend Dawn into the sea of Slayers/ "Potentials"... which, again, makes perfect sense in the context in which Faith knew Dawn. Once the spell fades, easy enough for her Dawn memories to merge with the memory of the sea of faces of other girls Faith briefly knew in Buffy's overcrowded house. (Even during 8, Faith was most often in a different location from any Scoobs other than Giles.)
Again, Spike had an actual one-on-one relationship with Dawn. He felt a lingering sense of failure in the summer post 5 for not protecting Dawn adequately enough so that Buffy didn't have to die (remember his "every night I save you?" What exactly in that string of events could he have changed? *Hint* It's Dawn-related.) Even if someone wants to piss all over the Spike/Dawn relationship by making it entirely about Buffy, this was still an incident that he angsted over for quite some time.) Then he kept his 'promise to a lady' by babysitting Dawn for substantial periods of time while Buffy was an ex-Buffy.) There actually was a frame of time where these two were close. Then came the second half of 6 and they... weren't. Then came 7 and they really weren't. But, where the Spike bitter/pigeon-holer-types take that as an indication that Spike didn't give a shit about Dawn, I took it as 1) an indication that the writers didn't give a shit about the characters' relationship. 2) That given what Spike was thinking and feeling while being crazed in the basement, that Spike took Dawn's threat to torch him as an indication that Dawn was really, really pissed with him and his comprehending that Dawn had every right to be really, really pissed with him. She did have every right to feel pissed and to feel disillusioned by him. And he respected the gravity of that by not pressing the issue with her (and it carried some gravity because otherwise he would snark. Spike naturally snarks about most things. That he never has about the impasse means that Dawn's fury carried weight).
And, to be fair that there was weakness involved, it was easier to let sleeping dogs lie. There was no way to have that conversation without it being really painful and really incomplete (because there was no way for Spike to relate the labyrinthine issues that Spike/Buffy had. Hell, most viewers who watched it --and Buffy and Spike themselves -- can't easily explain all of it. The simple part, Dawn has got. She knows what Spike did. And I cannot imagine that the ones most predisposed to griping about anything Spike-related would take kindly to any efforts a writer would make to expand these topics. It would only muddle and/or add complexity, depending on one's point of view (because the status quo is Dawn having the gist of the truly bad stuff, leaving Spike responsible for SR in an unambiguous way.)
Beyond that, how in the hell would one explain the rest of Season 6's Spike/Buffy to a teenaged Dawn in a way that didn't oversimplify it or tread into some decidedly ...er...thorny(?) TMI? It's not like it was just Spike who couldn't explain the messy interdynamics. Buffy never really managed to explain it to Dawn either.)
Yes, it would have been brave and honest to bring the issues out into the open. It would have been helpful and more healthy for Spike to address it in the light rather than avoid. But it would also be painful and extremely difficult, and Dawn had a right to be pissed. It makes sense for Spike to step back, respect her righteous anger, and just let the situation go unchanged. That doesn't mean that he did not care. That means that he reacted in a comprehensible -- and humanly flawed -- way.
As a viewer and fan, though, it was hella unsatisfying that the whole realtionship was never again addressed. In a sea of Dawn haters (Spike isn't the only character who people sometimes take a negative -- and only negative ever -- attitude towards) there actually were some Spike fans who valued Spike/Dawn interaction. Honestly, I think the pair deserved some sort of follow-up that Mutant Enemy never found time for (though, we sure as hell got a lot of pointless Potentials). The lack of resolution in that relationship -- leaving it perpetually unaddressed -- was a loss of a dramatic beat that was...well... a loss.
Now, I remain unchanged in thinking that these comics mostly suck. But if they'll give any sort of follow-up to the Spike/Dawn situation, I'd like to see it (I'm not expecting much. But, hey, anything would be a tiny improvement)
Still, it makes perfect damn sense that Spike would remember Dawn after Angel and Faith.
Unlike the bitterista-ing overstatement on this, Spike remembering after those two is not an indication that he is more 'special' or 'closer than anyone else ever.' He was, however, closer to Dawn than either Angel or Faith. His memories were actual, substantive memories. If the spell is being undone, of course his real memories are substantially more difficult to undo than Angel's 99.5% fake ones and Faith's insignificant, incidental ones. That shouldn't be controversial, making the bitter comments a decidedly unconvincing source for carping. It rather comes off as "it's something that Spike fans like -- I hate that!")