Buffy


Collects B:tVS 1-8, 12, 16, Annual ’99, Play with Fire.

Writers: Christopher Golden, Andi Watson, Tom Sniegoski
Artists: Hector Gomez, Sandu Florea, Christian Zanier, Marvin Mariano, Draxhall Jump, Jason Pearson, Cliff Richards, Joe Pimentel

Apparently, these stories take place after during third season. But they’re some of the first Buffy comics ever. They are pretty short and quick reads, nothing Earth-shattering. Of course, they can’t be. Oz is in many of the stories but Angel is only in two of them. The art isn’t too bad but not great, either. In fact, Xander and Giles don’t look like themselves at all.

“Wu-Tang Fang”: the gang is coming home from Bronze when they’re attacked by vampires. But one vampire hangs back, observing the fight and finally saying: “You’ll make a worthy adversary”. Then he disappears. Giles is nervous about him. Meanwhile, Xander doesn’t want to be a damsel in distress anymore and he enrolls to a martial arts class.

“Halloween”: the Halloween episodes are some of my favorites! Unfortunately, this one wasn’t as good as the TV episodes but it did have a few comedic moments. The Principle volunteers Buffy, Xander, and Willow to take some kids out trick or treating. However, right before Halloween Willow has a huge fight with her parents about Oz and goes missing.

“Cold Turkey” is set right before Thanksgiving. Joyce is away and Buffy has to shop for the Thanksgiving meal ingredients. Even then, vampires give her trouble.

“Dance with me” is only a few pages long. One boy asked Buffy to dance dozens to times, but in vain. Now, he’s a vampire.

In “White Christmas” Buffy’s broke and has to get a job at the Popsicle Parlor. Even though she’s very embarrassed about the outfit, it’s a good thing because strange things happen at the Parlor.

In “Happy New Year” a hell hound attacks the library. While the gang investigates, Willow is angry at Buffy and Cordelia finds a surprising skill: she’s really good with the crossbow.

In “New Kid at the Block” a new girl, Cynthia, joins the high school and befriends the gang. She doesn’t know about the Slayer and the gang tries to keep things that way.

In “Food Chain” Buffy tries to help a girl from her school who seem to end up with bad company.

“Play with Fire” is another very short comic. Buffy, Willow, and Giles chase green skinned vampires to a seemingly abandoned house.

In “Food Chain part 2” loose ends from the previous story come back to haunt the gang again.

“The Final Cut” is my favorite story in this collection. Marty is big into movies and then he finds a really strange movie and a deal he can’t resist. He recruits the gang to his movie, Willow to write the script, Oz for the sound, Cordelia to lead etc. but of course things to south.

In “The Latest Craze” young people in Sunnydale start buying ugly little dolls called the Hooligans. Everyone must have one, or better yet the newest limited edition doll. When fighting starts to break out, Buffy suspects something strange.

These are fun little story for the most part. The last two stories are better than the rest, though.

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Collects Angels we have seen on high, MacGuffins, BtVS: Ring of Fire and Dust Waltz, BtVS: Spike & Drue 3: The Queen of Heart and Paint the Town Red, and BtVS 60-63.

Writers: Christopher Golden, Dan Brereton, Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Jen van Meter, Doug Petrie, James Masters

Artists: Cliff Richards, Jeff Matsuda, Brian Horton, Ryan Sook, Hector Gomez, Sandy Florea

These stories range wildly in quality, execution, and also in place during the series. Definitely aimed at fans of the show.
The first story “Angels we have seen on high” is a really short and takes place before the series. Dawn is in danger in an amusement park while Buffy is chasing after some vampires. The art is quite blocky and doesn’t resemble the actors at all. But it’s a fun little story.

“A stake through the heart” is also set before the series. Buffy and Dawn’s parents are in the middle of breaking up and this upsets the whole family. Angel and Whistler are creepily watching them from the shadows and Angel tries to help, trying to banish the terrible feelings through a magical ritual. Instead, he manages to manifest them as demons who then prey on the family. We also get cameos by Cordelia, Harmony, and other characters.

“MacGuffins” is set sometime during the series. Buffy is at her dad’s place where someone sends a couple of gremlins and she has to figure out how to get rid of them, alone.

In “Queen of Hearts” Spike and Drusilla are driving to Sunnydale but they pause for a snack. This leads them to a river boat called a queen of hearts and quite a lot of trouble.

“Ring of Fire” is set during the second season when Angel is Angelus and has just killed Jenny. I’ve read this as a separate comic before. It has some great moments, like the return of Kendra and the snark between Spike and Angelus.

“Paint the Town Red” is another Spike and Drusilla story set after they left the show in second season. They’ve settled into a nice little town. But Dru dreams about Angel and Spike’s jealousy drives him to assault Dru and leave her. Of course, she follows but with a surprise.

“The Dust Waltz”: Vampire Queen Lilith and her sister have come to Sunnydale, which means trouble to the gang. Also, Giles’ niece Jane comes to town as well. She’s an archeology student which is interesting but she doesn’t really add anything to the story. Lilith and her sister are powerful and would have made interesting continuing enemies.

Most of the stories are nice but pretty average. Enough the make me want to rewatch the earlier seasons.

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.

The Humble Bundle has Buffy, Angel, and Spike comics for a couple of more days!

I liked the Angel: After the Fall comics a lot and I’ve been looking for the Spike comics, so of course I got it.

One of the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer books, set in the first season.

Publication year: 1998
Format: print
Page count: 178
Publisher: Archway

Buffy is dreaming very detailed dreams about a previous Slayer, Samantha Kane. The dreams are set in 1692, in Salem during the start of the notorious witch trials. It feels like Buffy herself were in Kane’s body. Then is turns out that Giles and Xander are dreaming about the same time period but in different people. Giles is convinced that it isn’t a coincidence. At the same time, Giles’ old flame Lora comes to Sunnydale. She and her husband organize séances. One of the spirits have contacted them and warned them that Giles is in danger, so Lora and Rick have traveled to Sunnydale. Also, a news reporter, from a TV show dealing with all sorts of supernatural things, is targeting Buffy’s mother.

All of these elements had some promise and they could have been quite amusing. Unfortunately, the writing didn’t click with me and I felt that the writing was somewhat disjointed. The customary Buffy humor was also lacking. Also, the final fight was very public; it’s quite difficult to keep people from noticing a zombie army.

A quick read but unfortunately forgettable

A Buffy the vampire slayer novel, although set in 1940, before the show started.

Publication year: 2001
Format: print
Page count: 353
Publisher: Pocket Books

Spike and Dru are vampires and lovers, and apparently quite popular characters. Spike is one of my favorite characters, ever, so I was quite exited to read this book.

In March 1940 Spike and Drusilla are in New York and Dru is bored. So, she wants a very special birthday present: the mythical Freya’s Strand, the necklace of the Brisings. Her birthday is, of course, the anniversary of the day when she was made a vampire. Spike, of course, will do anything for his lady love and they are looking for someone who knows where the demon Skrymir, the Strand’s owner, is. Spike gets the information and soon the duo is sailing to Norway. However, because the war has started, their journey is a bit rough; the Germans sink their ship and the vampires have to invade the German submarine to get to their destination. But the demon is quite powerful and he doesn’t want to just give the magical item away. Instead he proposes a bargain: if Spike and Dru kill off the prospective Slayers under the Watchers’ Council’s protection, he will give the necklace to them. Spike and Dru are just too happy to agree.

The current Slayer is Sophie Carstensen, a Danish girl, and her Watcher is Yanna who is a seer. Sophie is willful but very determined and capable. She also loves Yanna dearly and is worried that Yanna’s gift of sight will drive her insane at some point. When the book starts, they are on the trail of Gorm who used to be Denmark’s king a thousand years ago. Yanna’s visions warn her of the coming war but Sophie doesn’t want to leave her country before killing Gorm.

Sophie is very similar to Buffy, except that she doesn’t have a circle of friends and she’s an orphan, so the only person she worries about is Yanna. She’s even blond and beautiful. We’re introduced to several Slayers in waiting, as they are called, and they are somewhat different. All of them have been identified as potential Slayers and the Watchers are training them, as Kendra and Faith were trained in the series. I quite enjoyed the potentials but there wasn’t much time to get to know them.

The plot is quite fast-paced but has some repetitive elements: Spike and Dru go after a potential and kills her. For a Buffy book, this book has a lot of pretty gruesome violence and death. Of course, the main characters are Spike and Dru who were quite known for their evil and violent ways in the series. And the setting is during a war. Unfortunately, that also means that characters introduced in this book are killed of pretty quickly and there’s not much room for character development. Also, the book deviates from canon.

The books starts off focusing on Spike and Dru, with Spike as the POV character. However, fairly soon, Sophie becomes also a POV character and then Yanna and even Skrymir steal the spotlight from the vampires. Like I said, I’m a fan of Spike and so I rather enjoyed the book.

A stand alone Buffy the vampire slayer book.

Publication year: 1998
Format: print
Page count: 164
Publisher: Archway

This is only the third book based on Buffy. It takes place during season 1.

Summer vacation is nearly over but a carnival has come to Sunnydale. Buffy is anxious because she witnesses a pack of coyotes dragging a pet dog away. Xander and Willow assure her that coyotes come to the town during summer. Buffy, Xander, and Willow head to the carnival. To every one’s surprise, a gorgeous carnival girl latches onto Xander and a handsome man wants to date Willow. However, Buffy thinks that the carnival people are more than a bit strange. When she tries to warn her friends, they just think she’s jealous.

This was a quick read but unfortunately not very good. The main idea was interesting but I thought more could have been done with it. I enjoyed most of the funny scenes set in the carnival.

However, some characters were out of character. In this book Giles seems to be working for Buffy. She orders him around and he accepts it. Also, Willow’s only character trait seems to be her crush on Xander. Both of them are curiously clueless about any danger and neither of them finds it at all suspicious that two people are suddenly interested in them – after the first season episodes where they both had suspicious dates. The ending is also a bit abrupt.

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