While perusing the racks in my new favorite comic selling (dealing?) establishment, the outstanding Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy located on 148th in Bellevue, WA, I came across Buffy the Vampire Slayer and added it to my stack on a whim. It wasn’t until I grabbed it off my pile during my Wednesday reading frenzy that I realized I had grabbed the 38th issue. That many installments is a major achievement for an adaptation brought over from another medium, something usually reserved for mega franchises like Star Wars. The question then became “How has this lasted so long?”. I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and grabbed my magnifying glass. A mystery was afoot, and I was damned if I’d let the answer slip my grasp.
With a bit of google powered searching and a bit of funny book digesting I realized something phenomenal, one of the greatest comic feats of the last several years seems to have constantly and consistently slipped under the radar. Despite being based on a popular property, strong sales, outstanding creative teams, massive fan base, an amazing devotion to the source material and constant supervision by creator Joss Whedon, the vampire comic that puts most other fang fiction to shame (suck it Twilight and Vampire Diaries, pun intended) has received little love in the press.
I could not believe how well the writing stuck to the characters from the show. I honestly felt like I could hear Sarah Michelle Gellar speaking the lines at times.
This issue opens with a bang. It’s clear we’re barreling toward the finale. A juiced up Buffy battles along her former nemesis Spike, Angel did something wrong and is dealing with the consequences and the rest of the crew finds themselves smack in the middle of perilous events. If all this sounds a bit out of sorts, it’s because it is. Admittedly, I had no idea how things became so bad, but I became so into the events and the huge amount of plot reveal I charged back to Dragon’s Lair and picked up the last few issues and a couple trades. On one hand, I hate it when I drop in on a story and absolutely cannot find my way, on the other, it’s quite an achievement for writer Joss Whedon to grab a hold of me enough to get me to make a special trip back to the store.
After reading a bit, I realized how something I was excited about moved onto recognition that what I held was actually a tad brilliant. Dead characters return in incredibly interesting ways, some weird looking demon thing might be Buffy’s kid, and damn there is some great action throughout this entire arc. AND ALL OF IT FITS!
My biggest disappointment was in the art, especially after seeing the work Georges Jeanty is capable of in previous issues. Views are muddled, and definition is confused in places, although I can’t say for sure if this is the fault of the penciller, inker, colorist or a combined effort. Regardless, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what is going on from time to time and this drags on the enjoyment factor.
In the end, on it’s own this book is worth checking out for Buffy fans, but if you’re looking for something new, pick-up the last few issues and become a Buffy fan today.