Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 9
Dark Horse (Volume 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Andi Watson (writer), Joe Bennett (penciller), Rick Ketcham (inker)
Setting: Season Three
T.V. Character Appearances: Buffy, Angel, Giles, Joyce, Xander, Cordelia, Oz, Willow,
Major Original Characters: Selke (vampire), Dr. Flitter (plastic surgeon), Lana (modelling scout)
Summary: While macking in the cemetery, Angel and Buffy realize that someone or something has been eating corpses. With Giles' help, Buffy tracks down the beast and slays it. She also gets approached by a modelling scout in a subplot that will probably develop next issue. Meanwhile, Joyce is starting to feel old and concerned about her dating prospects--she makes arrangements to see a plastic surgeon named Dr. Flitter, but then has second thoughts. Good thing too, for Dr. Flitter has been coerced by the vampire Selke (last seen being dumped into a fire pit in ish # 3) into helping restore her appearance and health.
I always thought Buffy worked best when it adroitly mixed real-life concerns with supernatural slayage, so I'm happy to see the Joyce subplot here--everyone goes through phases in life where they feel ugly or alone, and middle-aged, recently-divorced single parents are no exception. As this is the first issue in a multi-part storyline, it's not clear to me where the "Buffy is invited to be a model" scene is going. And as for the main villain, Selke is okay so far, but nothing special. Nor is it clear to me how she survived apparently being burned into dust in issue # 3 (or why it seems to take her so long to recover from wounds, at least compared to other vampires we've seen). But if anyone steals the show, it's the resourceful Dr. Flitter. In the scene here, he has a wonderful moment where he improvises mayonnaise as a "revolutionary healing salve."
* According to editor Scott Allie, this issue officially moves the comic into Season Three. I can't say I've noticed a lot of difference between the Season Two comics and this one, continuity wise, so we'll have to wait and see whether it matters.
* On the letters page, the winners of a contest are revealed. The contest required readers to show that their real e-mail addresses involved Buffy character names. Since most names went very quickly, people had to improvise, including this e-mail from Forbeus@aol.com: "AOL cannot have an 'Oz' winner, since they require more than two characters for a screen name. So if you can simply change Oz's name on the show to Forbeus, I think it may work out better for us all. ('Us all' refers strictly to me)."
* As I said, I'm glad to see Joyce getting some "screen" time. Now they just need to give Giles something substantive to do . . .