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Review: “Dark Horse Presents #141: Buffy The Vampire Slayer” by Dan Brereton, Christopher Golden, Andi Watson, Joe Bennett, Hector Gomez, & David Perrin

Oh look! More Buffy. This is a special issue of the anthology comic Dark Horse Presents, focusing on Buffy and her friends. These three stories have apparently never been reprinted anywhere except Buffy The Vampire Slayer Omnibus Volume IV, so they may be hard to find….

Hello Moon
Written by Daniel Brereton & Christopher Golden
Art by Joe Bennett
Rating: *****
Buffy cuts her patrol short for the night to go for a moonlight stroll on the beach. So of course she meets a fish monster and a quartet of vampires….
This was great across the board, if a little predictable in its resolution. The art was superb, though I think the vampire designs were a bit recycled from some earlier comics, be they Buffy or Blade….
Continuity: This is supposedly set during Buffy’s third season, but otherwise there’s no clue as to when it happens. I arbitrarily set it after S03E03: Faith, Hope & Trick.

Written by Christopher Golden
Art by Hector Gomez
Rating: ****
Buffy and Angel run into one of Angelus’ old comrades, causing Angel to flash back to just after his transformation as he stalks and kills his former best friend.
Aside from the fact that this is inconsistent with what we’ve seen in the show, this was actually really good. Gomez’s art still isn’t my favorite, but it didn’t bug me this time. And the story? It was good, an excellent exploration of Angel’s character and his own personal Hell. I only wish it was consistent with the rest of the details we know about the same period.
Like I said, this doesn’t fit. It’s supposed to happen sometime during Season 3 though.

Dead Love
Written by Andi Watson
Art by David Perrin
Rating: ***
Buffy goes snooping for some light reading, and finds an account of one of Giles’ solo adventures.
Meh. It wasn’t bad, and the art was okay. I just wasn’t a huge fan. Just….mediocre I guess.
Continuity: Set sometime during Season 3. I arbitrarily stuck it after Revelations, mostly just to keep it out of the insanely-busy later part of the season.

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Review: “Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Origin” by Joss Whedon, Daniel Brereton, Christopher Golden, & Joe Bennet

Title: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Origin
Creator/Original Screenplay: Joss Whedon
Adapted by: Daniel Brereton & Christopher Golden
Artist: Joe Bennet
Series: Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Miniseries)
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Dark Horse Comics, 1999

So, my wife and I have been watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer recently. We’re basically on a Joss Whedon kick, to be honest, but that’s not a problem by any means! Aside from all the premature cancellation going on, at least…. Anyway, you may or may not know that before the show there was a movie. Whedon wrote the screenplay, but there were a lot of changes made during the production process that he felt detracted from the overall quality and tone of the work. When he got the chance to revisit that universe with the show, he wrote the pilot as a sequel to his original screenplay, not what eventually made it to the screen, which rendered the show inconsistent with what had come before. For example, the repeated comments that Buffy burned down her old school–in the film, it didn’t burn down. So in an effort to present to fans Whedon’s original vision, Dark Horse comics commissioned a three-issue miniseries based on Whedon’s original screenplay, using the likenesses of the characters as they appear in the show. The result mostly pleased Whedon, who declared that while he still had a few issues with it, he was glad that fans could now see his original vision for the story. For some reason, he also went out of his way to insult Donald Sutherland, who played Merrick in the film. Not sure why–I haven’t seen the movie, but Donald Sutherland is an incredible actor. Possibly just because his take on the character was so different from what Whedon had conceived….Anyway, moving on.

For Buffy Summers, life couldn’t be more normal. She’s on the cheerleading squad, she’s helping plan the fall dance, and is dating the captain of the Basketball team. Sure, she’s been having strange dreams about fighting vampires in different eras throughout history, but that’s normal…right? Then some guy shows up claiming that she’s The Slayer, the one girl empowered to fight the forces of Darkness and defend the world from the vampires and demons that lurk in the shadows. Needless to say, this somewhat puts a crimp in her social calendar….

My first contact with the Buffyverse was actually the novelization of the film, so I was somewhat familiar with this story when I started the show. Still, that was years ago and, as I mentioned above, not totally consistent with Whedon’s vision. So from that perspective, it was nice to see how it all was supposed to get started. The writing was good, not sure how much of that was Whedon and how much was Brereton and Golden. We actually got a flashback to one of these scenes recently in the show (by which I mean the end of Season 2), and I was pleased to see it was nearly word for word both places. The art was…serviceable. Not as good as I’ve come to expect from Dark Horse, but good enough that it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. Buffy did actually look like Sarah Michelle Gellar, so that was well done at least.

If you’re interested in reading this, you can either track down the TPB collection or just grab the first volume of Dark Horse’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer omnibus collections.

CONTENT: Vampire violence consistent with the show, with people getting bit and vampires getting staked. Not too gory, since Buffyverse vampires disintegrate into a cloud of dust when they die. No language, though Lothos uses rude language which is censored (it gets stylized “b—-,” if you must know). Sexual innuendos, including Buffy finding her ex-boyfriend in the backseat of a car with another girl, being begged to “make her a woman.” There are vampires, which debatably counts as occult content. Normally I would say they don’t, but the way vampirism in the Buffyverse works is that when you are turned your soul is replaced with a demon, so….

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