Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 26
Dark Horse (Vol. 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Chris Boal (writer), Cliff Richards (penciller), Joe Pimentel (inker)
Setting: Season Four
T.V. Character Appearances: Willow, Xander, Buffy, Riley
Major Original Characters: Unnamed Warrior, Unnamed Demon
Summary: In 1840 Sunnydale, a warrior clad in chain armor chases a demon as it crashes through a church service. Before she can kill it, it disappears into a magical portal and she follows it, and the two appear in 1976 Sunnydale. The chase continues through another magical portal. Meanwhile, in present-day Sunnydale, Willow and Xander hang out at the Bronze waiting for Buffy, who is busy making out with Riley. After Buffy leaves, Riley is attacked and knocked out by the time-travelling demon. Buffy encounters the demon outside of the Bronze and manages to wound it with a stake to the skull, but the creature continues fighting until the mysterious warrior arrives and kicks it through another portal. Buffy goes to thank her, but she lashes out and knocks Buffy unconscious as well.
Review: This was supposed to be the beginning of a dark and spooky run for Buffy and Angel in celebration of Halloween and perhaps a sense that the earlier issues had been a bit too bubblegum at times. However, the feel of this issue isn't particularly different than any past issues--it's not the least bit scary, nor is Buffy fighting a standard generic demon particularly "dark" or original. Dialogue is average, though artwork remains strong. All in all, very much a disappointment.
* This is Riley's first appearance in the main Buffy title.
* Buffy uses a weird multi-barrelled pistol against the demon--a gift from the Initiative?
* Seeing 1840 Sunnydale was somewhat interesting, though it looked to be straight out of a studio back-lot Western set.
* Perhaps the one cool thing is the demon punching through a victim's chest in order to grab Buffy.