Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Buffy Comic Project: "Past Lives" (Part 2)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 29

Dark Horse (Vol. 1, 1998-2003)

Creators: Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski (writers), Christian Zanier & Cliff Richards (pencillers), Joe Pimentel (inker)

Setting: Season Four

T.V. Character Appearances: Buffy, Riley, Xander, Anya, Dawn, Willow, Giles, Wesley, Cordelia, Quentin Travers, Angel, Angelus (flashback only)

Major Original Characters: Sir Andrew Landry (vampire hunter; flashback only); Alexis Landry (evil former Watcher's Council operative)

Summary: On the campus of Sunnydale University, Buffy and Riley succeed in hunting down a shape-changing demon named Kludde the Goblin. The next day, Buffy and the Scoobies are having coffee at the Expresso Pump when Giles bursts in with news that Angel's office has been attacked and that Wesley and Coredlia have been hospitalized. Buffy decides to head to L.A., telling Riley that he should stay behind so she can have a clear head. Meanwhile, in an L.A. hospital room, Wesley explains to Cordelia that the woman who beat them both up was Alexis Landry, a former operative for the Watcher's Council. Later, on his way to the hospital, Angel is ambushed by demons and then Alexis Landry herself. Buffy and Giles arrive at Angel's office to discover Quentin Travers there, investigating as well, but all three of them are attacked by several demons. In a flashback to Victorian times, Angelus defeats a group of vampire hunters led by Sir Andrew Landry and leaves the man humbled.

Review: Golden seems to have a knack for the comics, as whenever he writes it feels like a lot happens (in a good way) and there's a lot of bang for the buck. He's not a witty scripter, but his stories hit all the right beats and have excellent characterization. Stepping into this four-part story after missing the first part makes it hard to tell whether everything coheres, but Alexis Landry seems like a solid villain, even if her demon accomplices are terribly generic. Good Buffy/Riley moment as she once again seems to choose Angel over him, and nice to see Quentin Travers get some comic book "screen" time.


* The Scoobies actually have a thought-provoking discussion over coffee: why are so many demons attracted to the Hellmouth given that Buffy slays every one of them she can get her stakes on?

* A good idea posed by a letter writer: how about a Young Giles comic to answer questions like "How did the angry young English man that he once was surrender his dreams and join the Council? What is it about the Council that engenders such loyalty among its members despite its corrupting power?"

*  This issue apparently had two variant covers released by Dynamic Forces:  a "Gold Foil Edition" and a "Red Foil Edition."  Each are variants of the standard photo cover for the issue.

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