Justin's Reviews > Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol. 1

Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Joss Whedon
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Dec 01, 10

bookshelves: graphic-novels, horror, magic, pop-culture, tv-movie
Read from November 01 to 29, 2010

So, it appears my sudden, random fascination with graphic novels and my rediscovery of Buffy have collided. I originally meant to buy and read the Season 8 books that Joss Whedon actually worked on, but since I'm in the middle of rewatching the entire series, I decided to wait until I was done with that and go through this hefty volume of early Dark Horse comics instead. I liked it, but I didn't love it.

This volume covers two seminal moments in the Buffy canon: her showdown with Lothos in Los Angeles, and her subsequent stay in a mental asylum (which, by the way, is referenced in possibly my favorite episode of the television series, and made that story a particularly satisfying read). It also contains a Las Vegas adventure that explains what happened to Pike, a vignette of Spike and Drusilla, and a lighthearted story featuring a young Dawn.

A canonical, non-Hollywood version of Whedon's original script was enough to hook me, but the whole package actually looked good. And it was good. Different, but good. There are a few confusing moments: some of the vampires in The Origin inexplicably look like Man-Bat, and it took me a few pages to figure out what the deal was with the conjoined twins in the Vegas story, due to the artwork being somewhat questionable. Overall, though, the stories were great reads.

Something was just a little off the mark, though, and I can't put my finger on what it is. It seems a little fanboyish to declaim that this suffers from a pronounced lack of Whedon, but maybe that really is the issue. My favorite part of the Buffy television series is the character arcs and dialogue, and neither feels quite true in these comics. It's as if everyone is doing an impression of the Buffy characters, instead of being an extension of them. The inclusion of Dawn is interesting, too; the explanation for it makes sense academically (everyone has memories of her being there, including Dawn herself), and the resulting story really is cute and fun to read. However, it still feels a little like a convenient excuse to make filler stories.

Honestly, though, I really did like reading this. The sheer amount of material justifies the price, and even the worst of it is still great for Buffy fans. I don't think I'm quite enamored enough to buy another Buffy Omnibus, as I understand there's quite a few. But I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a better version of the movie, and has an interest in pre-Sunnydale Buffy.
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