Up Down
Find This Book At:
Ebay (Search by Title)
Ebay (ISBN/Softcover)
Half.com (Softcover)
Amazon (Softcover)
View our database entry
Includes Issues:Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1998) 51-59; Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike & Dru 3; Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Origin (1999) 1-3
Issue Dates:November 2002 – July 2003; December 2000; January – March 1999
Creators:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This review contains light spoilers. Skip To The Verdict? »

There’s been some ongoing buzz about the current Buffyverse ongoing, Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eight, but Buffy comics have been running for some time at Dark Horse, starting after season three of the tv show.

At first it was hard to get into the collected editions, with a variety of thin trades collecting different story arcs, none without numbers on the spine.

Luckily, Dark Horse started releasing Buffy comics in their slightly undersized (but fat) omnibus format, this time collected in a sort of chronological story order.

So this book actually collects the last comics in the BtVS 1998 run – issues 51-59, which, along with BvTS: The Origin (a three issue mini released in 1999) retell the movie plot, and two stories connecting the original movie script to the TV Show.

Also included is a short story in Dawn‘s childhood (taking place in her altered memories, I suppose) and a historical story starring Spike and Drusilla.

Altogether the book weighs in at 264 pages including some covers and a brief introduction by editor Scott Allie.

We’ve got work written by Christopher Golden, Dan Brereton, Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, and Paul Lee. The art is penciled by Cliff Richards, Eric Powell, Joe Bennet, and again, Paul Lee.

The book was a pleasant surprise. Instead of simply retelling plots from the show, a huge amount of the work here is original and nicely fills in some gaps.

The first story, All’s Fair, featuring Spike and Dru at the 1933 World’s Fair, doesn’t really tie into existing continuity much, but is a lot of fun.

It’s very lighthearted for a story with no real heroes and lets the reader know that this book will fit in well with the rest of the Buffyverse they know from the show. The fanged couple start out in a familiar scene in the orient and work their way into some very Lovecraftian hijinks in Chicago.

The characters seem the same (even if they don’t always have that same snap-wit that Joss and his writing crew championed.)

After that it’s straight on to Buffyville. The Origin could have been a terrible comic based on a terrible movie, but instead it’s a great story based on the original script.

Produced after the Buffy character was well fleshed out, we get the Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy Anne Summers right from the start.

Some things take a little getting used to (like how many of the vampires are solid tones of green and vamp out differently from in the show) but I found it vastly superior to the film.

Pike, the kid who ends up helping the slayer, is fleshed out and a bit less annoying, even though he’s still got a goatee.

Buffy’s first watcher, Merrick, is also a lot more badass, and I actually cared about the guy. Surprise!

The whole story is framed by some amusing gossip from Buffy’s prior girl clique.

Immediately following, we get to find out what Buffy did between the movie and the show.

Turns out she ran away and ended up in Vegas.

There’s plenty of badness going on there, though, and this storyline entangles Angel in behind the scenes as Buffy and Pike try to take down a vampire infested casino.

There’s some true weirdness in this book and a lot of laugh out loud moments – Buffy has always had some very inventive ways of taking down vamps.

Also a bonus, we’re allowed a peak at Giles’ trials as he works towards becoming Buffy’s new watcher.

Dawn shows up in the previous tale, Viva Las Buffy, and while she is probably the most complained about character in the tv series, all is forgiven, because the next story, Dawn and Hoopy The Bear, is one of my all time Buffyverse favorites – absolutely hilarious in a sort of disturbing way, just the way we like it.

Childhood innocence and extremely powerful black magic are always a good match. I don’t want to say too much about this story and spoil any of it, but it’s worth buying this volume for this one alone.

The last story – Slayer, Interrupted – finally shows what happened during Buffy’s first visit to a mental hospital.

As you can expect, this one is packed with family drama and self doubt, culminating with a rollicking round of demon butt kicking.

By the end, Buffy is all set to carry on where the TV show picks up.

Rupert Giles also continues having his story told, a few pages at a time throughout the end of the volume, and it’s an enjoyable subplot lending a little more texture to his “Ripper” past.

There are many other subtle references and cameos throughout the book, all very enjoyable. It is probably obvious by this point, but this book is really directed at existing fans. Like a lot of superhero comics, if you’re not familiar with the characters it’s just not as fun.

I think that because there are origins here, and early stories, you could still enjoy this without having seen the show, but I’d say it would be worth your time to let Joss introduce you to his own creations, and then explore the offshoots.

It was a good decision of Dark Horse to include the latter work in Volume 1 of this omnibus series, since the writers have found their footing in the Buffyverse, really producing good work.

The art, while a bit different in each story, is fitting and well rendered. Unlike some licensed comics, nothing seems traced or awkwardly copied from existing poses. The action is dynamic and each artist works to their own styles. They aren’t extremely varied – no one is getting really experimental here – but the Spike and Dru story looks very different from the Dawn story, and they both benefit from this.

I could write a large review on each story (and I’d love to) but what you really need to know is that this is a great book.

My only real complaint is that my binding fell apart after the third reading and one lending, but I got it used so I couldn’t say if it’s a manufacturing issue.

It’s a must have for a serious Buffy fan and a welcome contribution to the mythos, whether you consider it canon or not.

Verdict:
5 out of 5. If you like Buffy, you should own this book.

A lot of enjoyable original story wrapped around a much needed revamp of the BtVS film.

Essential Continuity:
There is a lot of debate about whether these early Dark Horse comics are canon. It’s not written by Joss, but I’d say every fan should read this book and decide for yourself.

There are some references in the latter “officially” canon dark horse and IDW books, so I think that ties this in well enough.

Read first:
If you’ve already seen the show and are preparing to watch it through a second time, reading this book first can make the first season a little more fun.

If you haven’t seen Buffy The Vampire Slayer Seasons 1 – 7, oh my lord – GET ON IT!

Then read the comics.

Read next:
I’ve added descriptions after you click on each book in the Buffyverse reading order, so you can see what season (if any) they take place during. This book takes place before the first season, and if you’re heading into an obsessive re-watch, it might be enjoyable to read the comics around or during their companion seasons.

Personally I think it’s fine to just watch the whole show then read all the comics, in which case your next stop would be Buffy The Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 2 – there, that’s easy enough, right?

« Back to the top?

Join the forum discussion on this post
Want to stay up to date? Click here to subscribe to updates by RSS!
You can also sign up to get updates by Email!
« | »

9 Comments Post New »

  1. avatar Ryard wrote on at December 1, 2010 11:14 pm:

    Yeah, I came in late on the Buffy comics train, and trying to figure out the trade reading order was a bit of a pain. I absolutely adore the idea of reprinting everything chronologically….IDW is dong it now with their Transformers collection (although it’s already been outdated…grrrr), and of course Dark Horse’s own Star Wars are doing a nice, though scattershot, job of it. It is great that they start with the last issues of the series, because some of those early ones were…well, not quite Gold Key Star Trek off the wall, but…not great stuff. I have a huge shelf of Dark Horse Omnibuses (let’s finish off Comics Greatest World reprints, please!), and I love them. I also like the IDW’s Angel and Star Trek ones are pretty close to the Dark Horse look, so it all looks nice on the shelf.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on December 1st, 2010 at 11:23 pm:

    The format is exactly the same as the Star Wars omnibus reprints. I’ve actually got the Droids one, though I haven’t read it yet.

    My Angel, Spike, and Buffy Omnibi are a little scattered on the shelf (cause I shelf by reading order) but it is nice that IDW made the effort to match the other publisher’s format.

    I’m pretty happy with the Buffy reading order we’ve got, though of course a lot of stuff is subjective (especially the placement of those Angel volumes that take place in the past. They just shouldn’t be read first, mainly because they’re not the best stuff on the list!)

    [Reply]

  2. avatar Mari wrote on at December 2, 2010 12:09 am:

    So I’m getting this copy as a present for the holidays, right?

    Love Mari

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on December 2nd, 2010 at 12:15 am:

    Not this particular one, the binding is all broke.

    [Reply]

  3. avatar Ryard wrote on at December 2, 2010 11:52 am:

    My issue with the Star Wars ones is that they didn’t include the actual Phantom Menace adapation in that era’s omnibus…they include all the ancillary Episode 1 issues…but not the actual Episode 1. Very frustrating. I also hope they fix the Clone Wars reading order when they redo those.

    And hopefully we’ll see DH Angel omnibuses now that they have the character back.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on December 2nd, 2010 at 11:53 am:

    yeah, I’ve got the thin Angel trades but they’re kind of sad compared to the buffy omnibi they’re shelved between.

    [Reply]

  4. avatar Ryard wrote on at December 2, 2010 5:14 pm:

    Sad is definitely the right word. The binding on the Buffy collections, at least some of the ones I had, was falling apart. Luckily, for some reason, a couple of local used book stores had (and still have) dozens of the Buffy trades and I was able to restock before I traded up to the omnibuses. I don’t know what it was about the Buffys…the Angels is more sturdy, but the design (and let’s face it, the Dark Horse comic) was pretty blah. I love the hardcover IDW Angel collections, however, and I won’t be going the omnibus route on them if it happens. But I’m a sucker for hardcovers no matter what…I just picked up the Azzarello Luthor book, even though I have the singles and the trade!

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on December 2nd, 2010 at 5:24 pm:

    haha yeah, I’m trying really hard to avoid upgrading to hardcovers on EVERYTHING.

    I got into the Angel hardcovers because it seemed like tpbs would take forever to come about. They look so nice on the shelf though that I don’t regret it one bit.

    [Reply]

  5. avatar acne wrote on at June 24, 2014 11:52 am:

    When you apply her tried-and-true techniques in the diet
    plan, you’ll break your weight loss plateau, lose
    your belly fat, improve your health and eliminate your overweight problems permanently,
    without side effects. Being overweight is quite certainly one
    of the greatest health risk people over the world are facing today.

    They best work with light cardiovascular exercises such as jogging, cycling, swimming and
    other good ways to lose weight fast.

    [Reply]

Trackbacks and Related Posts

Content from other blogs and on this site that links back to this post.

    RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

    Leave a comment

    Registered users may edit their comments past the 5 minute limit. [Register] [Login] [Logout]
    HTML is allowed, but posts containing more than two links or sketchy code will be held for moderation.

    « | »