By Whedon and Jeanty

This is part of my comic book challenge 2009.

I’m a huge Buffy fan but I prefer seasons 1 through 3 instead of the subsequent seasons. I find this a bit puzzling because I tend to like books and movies with adult protagonists more than teenagers. And yet Buffy is clearly very young during the seasons 1-3. Then again, I’m of the opinion that the first three season hold together far better plotwise and thematically than the later ones. (I especially disliked witchcraft as symbol for two different things which aren’t related to each other.) Still, there are episodes in the later seasons which I just love.

Anyway, I was thrilled to hear that Buffy would continue in comic book form. Was a bit less thrilled when I realized that I had to wait for them to come out in trade paperback form. I did manage to get this first one in English but now it has been published in Finnish, too! I was a bit worried about the translation since even the quality of the subtitles, er, varied a lot. This translator seems to know something about the Buffyverse although, alas, not quite enough. (For example, “Bored now” was translated into “Are you still bored”…)

The story starts a couple of years after the end of the TV-series and the world has changed. There are many Slayers now and Buffy and the gang are trying to mold them into a fighting force against the (supernatural) evils of the world. Buffy and Xander are in Scotland leading and teaching a strike team of Slayers while Andrew is in Italy and Giles is in some Islamic country. Willow is doing her own thing with Kennedy.

Buffy and a strike team take out a nest of demons. There they find out that the demons’ victim has a strange marking on his chest. Meanwhile, General Voll and his men are watching the Slayers. The General is convinced that Buffy and the Slayers are a threat to society or at the very least to the General’s own plans. His people have been investigating the remains of Sunnydale and have found two survivors there. One of them is Amy who really wants to kill Buffy.

Meanwhile in Scotland Dawn has grown into a giant. She refuses to tell how (or doesn’t know) and only wants to talk to Willow. Rumor has it that she dated a triple witch and he transformed her. Xander is leading the operations center while Buffy goes out as the leader of the strike team. Soon, Amy attacks. She puts Buffy under a sleeping spell and has an army of undead attacking the Scottish castle where the team is staying.

It’s nice to see that much of the charm of the Buffy –series is still here: humor, pop culture references, witty dialogue, plot twists. The basic situation is, of course, rather different; instead of a small group of (teenaged) friends who try to save the world and keep the police in the dark, the Slayers are a big group with all sorts of technology and apparently even a team of witches working for them. Still, many of the new characters remain faces in the crowd and the focus is on the old gang. There are also lots of references to characters and the events in the series. Even Ethan Rayne makes a guest appearance.

The last story is about a Buffy look alike who gets a very dangerous assignment.

If you’ve never watched Buffy, I would definitely recommend starting with the TV-show and not with this comic.

Art: Art gets just a ‘meh’ from me. I didn’t hate it which is always a positive sign but I didn’t love it either. The characters don’t really look like the actors although getting that right would have been very difficult anyway. I really liked the covers, though.

Overall: There is enough of a mix of old and new to make me a happy old Buffy fan!

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