By Goddard, Jeanty, Owens, Whedon

Collects Buffy Season Eight #11-15

Finally, I have the third Buffy-collection in my hot little hands!

Xander: “It’s always complicated with girls. That’s why I need a man.”
Buffy: “That would be nice…”
Xander: “I mean a guy. Not a man, but a guy, for the guy bonding.”
Buffy: “Well, Andrew…”
Xander: “Do you really intend to finish that sentence?”

In the first story, “A Beautiful Sunset” the gang is still in the Scottish castle and the story deals with on-going storylines and relationships. The second story is the rest of the trade and deals with newcomer vampires who are Japanese and have a new bag of tricks.

In the first story, we find out who was the girl woke Buffy from the sleeping spell with a kiss, in the previous trade. She and Buffy seem to come an amicable understanding but things aren’t, of course, that easy. Also, a mystery man, who at least seems to be the man behind the whole Twilight –thing, attacks Buffy, flaunts his powers, and sows seeds of uncertainty to her mind.

There’s also a brief mention of a Slayer gone rogue and I presume she will be dealt with in upcoming issues. Buffy and Xander wax philosophic over how all the other Slayers have bonded together but as the leader Buffy must remain outside that connection. A very good issue.

Wolves at the Gate –story deals with a gang of Japanese vampires who have many more powers than usual vampires: the ability to turn to mist, wolves, bats, panthers… They attack the castle and steal Buffy’s scythe. There’s only one other vampire in the Buffyverse who also has these traditional vampire powers and so they turn to him for help: Dracula.

It turns out that Dracula and Xander have a kind of friendship and they have been keeping in touch over the years. So, Xander is the one who is sent to ask Dracula what he knows about the new vampires. Naturally, the Buffy gang has to go after the scythe into Japan and all kinds of wackiness ensue.

There are some on-going relationship stuff in this arc but otherwise it focuses on the new vampires so to me, it feels a bit unconnected from the rest of the story. (Which is ironic considering the first story’s point.)

I was quite surprised to find out that Xander had been keeping in touch with Dracula. After all, in that the end of the episode Xander was pretty frustrated about being everyone’s butt monkey. But their weird relationship is funny. Xander calling Dracula “master” and Dracula calling Xander “manservant”. Dracula was written very comically here and he almost reminds me of House because he throws around racial slurs a lot. He calls Renee Xander’s moor, for example. In the end, Dracula and the Slayers end up working together in Japan.

It did seem more than a bit weird to me that the Slayers did let Dracula off very easily. He is, after all, a many times multiple murderer, which he freely admits.

Willow is back but she’s shown very little and I miss Giles. I’d also like to know more about the Slayers. Now they are pretty much just a faceless mass following Buffy’s orders in fight scenes.

I didn’t really care for the ending of the trade. Too many things were just tied up neatly instead of continuing with them.

Overall: not quite as good as the previous trades but still very funny and entertaining.