Collects BtVS: Spike & Drue 3, BtVS the Origin 1-3, and BtVS 51-59.

Writers: Christopher Golden, Dan Brereton, Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Paul Lee
Artists: Eric Powell, Drew Geraci, Keith Barnett, Joe Bennett, Rick Ketcham, Cliff Richards, Will Conrad, Paul Lee

These stories all happen before the TV series started. However, Williow and Xander make a cameo and Giles has to deal with Watcher business. Also, Joyce and Dawn have big roles.

“All’s Fair” is a Spike and Dru story. It starts in the Boxer rebellion when Spike kills the Slayer and her relatives vow to avenge her. In the world fair in Chicago 1933, Spike and Dru are enjoying themselves when they come upon a mad scientist and the vengeful relatives. It’s a quick read and fits both Spike and Dru’s personalities. The art doesn’t make any effort to make them recognizable.

Apparently, “the Origin” is an adaptation of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie script. I haven’t seen the movie so I don’t know how different it might be. Dawn doesn’t appear. Buffy’s parents’ marriage is already starting to crack. In Los Angeles, Buffy is one of the cool girls with a boyfriend and a group of friends. But when she starts to have weird dreams and a strange man called Merrick appears, telling Buffy that she’s the Slayer.

“Viva las Buffy” is set mostly in Las Vegas shortly after “the Origin”. Buffy and her new boyfriend Pike find out that there are vampires in Las Vegas. So, Buffy runs away with him to hunt the vampires. Meanwhile, Dawn finds Buffy’s diary. Pike narrates this tale but it has parts with he can’t know; namely, Angel’s part. Angel and Whistler are already following Buffy and trying to help her.

Meanwhile, Giles has to prove to the Watchers’ council that he’s the right man to become Buffy’s Watcher. We also see couple of other familiar Watchers. The art was better because this time the characters look like the actors.

In “Dawn and Hoopy the Bear” an enemy is trying to get rid of the Slayer by putting an evil spirit into a stuffed bear. Unfortunately, he gives the bear to the wrong Summers.

In “Slayer, Interrupted” Dawn shows Buffy’s diary to their parents and they send Buffy into a mental institution. She’s starting to think that she’s not sane and agrees to go there. However, from the start we hear that one of the other patients is Bride of Rakagore so we know there something shifty going on. In London, Giles has to confront his past as the Ripper.

These were fun stories but they deal with some of the same storylines as in the show, such as Buffy running away and Pike choosing to leave Buffy so that he won’t endanger her. These are things that should have been talked about during the show but weren’t (of course), so they felt a bit disjointed. They definitely gave the stories more depth, though. Also, Dawn and Joyce find out about Buffy being the Slayer far sooner than in the show. But these quibbles aside, there were fun stories and it was great to revisit the characters.

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