Since I decided I couldn't get enough Buffy, I went on ahead and grabbed a Buffy Omnibus. These cover stories that happened before or during the show'...moreSince I decided I couldn't get enough Buffy, I went on ahead and grabbed a Buffy Omnibus. These cover stories that happened before or during the show's life. The first volume combines a Spike and Drusilla story as well as the original script that Whedon wrote for the Buffy movie, Buffy in Vegas, a Dawn story and covers Buffy stint in a mental hospital. This is definitely for you if you are interested in Buffy's past before she got to Sunnydale but be warned that this series lacks the Whedon charm and doesn't understand the show the way it should.
Golden has a forward at the beginning where he states that he didn't watch the show and didn't know that much about Buffy when he started writing these comics. Whedon has (to my understanding) no input in these comics and you can tell. It lacks the charm the show has and suffers from some seriously bad writing in the beginning. I found this particular evident in the Spike and Dru story where they feel the need to repeat things over and over again that they just showed. I mean, if they are vamps going on a feeding spree in a fair I don't need them to tell me that they are "evil, naughty vamps on an evil rampage of evil evilness evildoing (evil, evil, evil)" because I just saw them murder three people in the prior panel. I'm exaggerating, of course, but there is a lot of "duh" dialogue that truly doesn't need to be going on there. As the stories continue, they become increasingly better and feel more like the Buffy I know and love.
As far as the artwork goes, I'm not as big a fan of this as Season 8 but I did start to enjoy the simplistic style. There weren't as many creative ways the panels were put together but it was very clear who was speaking. I never understood what a square box around the words meant but these stories helped me to understand that it is a character narrating. They even made each character have different text when they were narrating which really helped clarify who was speaking.
I'd like to look at each story individually:
"All's Fair"- This is the Spike and Dru story which I felt was the weakest in the bunch. I wasn't all too crazy with the artwork because it didn't look much like that characters and the dialogue felt too literal. It told too much which really didn't work since the artwork was showing the same thing and do a better job of it. This stinks since I was looking most forward to this story.
"Buffy: The Origin"- This is a retelling of the original script for Whedon's Buffy movie. The artwork looked a lot more like the characters in this one and the feeling of Buffy started to come into play. Some of the dialogue felt like it could have been in the show and they seemed to get Buffy's character a little better. It was still a little corny but better than the first story.
"Viva Las Buffy!"- For me, this is where the comic started to get good. This follows Pike and Buffy as they go to Vegas to kick some vampire booty. It's told completely in Pike's point of view and I liked getting to see how he looked at her. I was also happy to see Angel show up in this story as it filled in some of his background. The dialogue got loads better and it even gave me some laugh out loud moments.
"Dawn & Hoopy the Bear"- This is perhaps my favorite comic in the bunch. It's a short one following Dawn's adventures with a cursed bear. Dawn was charmingly cute (before she became all "no one EVER understands me EVER, go away and leave me alone *cue door slam*) and it's nice to see how Buffy disappearance effects her.
"Slayer, Interrupted"- This comic depicts Buffy's stay in a mental hospital as she tries to decide whether she can accept her role as a slayer. As story goes, this one felt the most like a Buffy episode and similar to what we are getting in Season 8. The artwork was a lot better for me and I loved seeing Buffy as Alice in Alice in Wonderland!
If you're a Buffy fan, this is definitely for you. However, it isn't as good as Season 8 and starts off as little rocky. I definitely think the Omnibus finds it's swing a little less than halfway through and it is really fun to see Buffy's adventures pre-Sunnydale. I'll definitely be continuing on with these collections. In fact, I already have Volume 2 on order.(less)
How to review this comic has been the main question swirling around in my head. I can't really approach it as a book because they are two separate thi...moreHow to review this comic has been the main question swirling around in my head. I can't really approach it as a book because they are two separate things. So then, what do I do? So I'm just going to do my best and hopefully that works out. Essentially, reading this first volume is a lot like watching the Buffy t.v. show. From the drawings of the characters to the dialog, Whedon and the artist Jeanty were able to capture what you'd expect out of a Buffy episode.
Let's start with the artwork. When I originally flipped through the book, I was a little worried about recognizing which character was which. In some of the panels, the characters looked exactly like themselves but in others, it was a bit more difficult. For instance, Willow goes dark witch in one panel and I didn't recognize that she had for a moment until I went back and really looked at it. Sometimes in the action panels, Buffy is hard to tell apart from the other slayers. But for the most part, I could look at these panels all day and see these characters that I love so much portrayed completely accurately.
I will say that sometimes I had a difficult time following which panel came next. I'm not always sure where to look or how to read them but that could be because I don't have a lot of practice with comics. However, I'll get to certain pages and just be in awe at how they were arranged. I'm coming to realize that placing the panels on the page, especially to portray action or size, is an artform all of its own and can really affect the overall feeling the reader is left with.
So far, I'm enjoying the plot that is emerging. Like the t.v. show, everyone sort of has their own things going on. The action parts lend themselves well to comic form and combined with Whedon's trademark dialog, it is easyily addictive and fast to read. I've heard some people haven't liked the two villians in the first half of this series but I find Amy to be a good villian and her resurrected/brought back/saved boyfriend Warren to be every bit as terrifying as he was in the show when he was at his worst. There is a scene where they capture Willow and attempt to lobotomized her which is just terrible. I also like that they were able to capture Buffy's tough additude in scenes where she brushes off threats and kicks butt but also give her her funny soft side by her use of language and love of hairstyles and lip gloss. I'm also happy that we got a glimpse into Buffy's subconcious and got to see that she still thinks of Spike and Angel romantically! It gives me hope for Spike!
Whedon has set up a world one year after Sunnydale where slayers are coming into their powers everyday and being trained to use them by Buffy and her group of friends. It makes the scale bigger which is something I think they had a difficult time with in television. There can be grander battles without any restraints. I also want to talk about the last episode they added in this book called "The Chain" which shows the struggles of one of the women posing to be Buffy underground. Out of all the stories, it's this one which really affected me. It tells the story of a nameless girl that gives her life fighting evil in the name of someone else. I think that because this issue ended with it, it went from being a fun sort of story to a story that stuck with me.
I'm not saying that I would have rathered this season not be on t.v. If I could have kept Buffy going, I would have. But I can say that it does translate well into comics and thus far, has been able to capture the magic that made the show special. If you're a Buffy fan and interested in finding out what happens to your favorite characters, give this comic a chance. I think you'll discover something new with every page and you'll want to find out what happens! If nothing else, watching Buffy, Xander and Willow kick butt cartoon style is worth a looksee!(less)