Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 30
Dark Horse (Vol. 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski (writers); Cliff Richards (pencils); Joe Pimentel (inks)
Setting: Season Four
T.V. Character Appearances: Buffy, Angel, Giles, Quentin Travers, Angelus (flashback only); Xander, Willow, Anya, Tara, Cordelia, Wesley, Riley
Major Original Characters: Sir Andrew Landry (vampire hunter; flashback only); Alexis Landry (evil former Watcher's Council operative)
Summary: At the hospital, Buffy, Angel, and Giles confer about what to do after Quentin Travers' vicious beating at the hands of Alexis Landry. Angel explains why it is that Alexis hates him so much: because a century and a half earlier, Angelus tortured Alexis' ancestor, Sir Andrew Landry. While Xander, Anya, and Wesley guard an injured Cordelia in the hospital, Buffy, Giles, and Angel decide to provoke fights with Alexis' demon minions in a bid to draw her out of hiding. Meanwhile, Willow and Tara visit a magic supply store. A demon attack on Cordelia is quickly driven off by her protectors, but soon after, Alexis ambushes Angel and paralyzes him with a magic dagger. Buffy and Alexis fight, but Alexis is defeated after Willow and Tara cast a spell to strip her of all magical charms and protective devices. Standing over an unconscious Alexis, Buffy says it will be up to Quentin Travers to decide on punishment. Later that day, Buffy and Angel say wistful goodbyes, and Buffy heads back to Sunnydale to find Riley.
Review: Again, some really strong characterization: Angel & Buffy's interaction and sad parting is handled quite well and could easily be envisioned as happening on the small screen, while Willow and Tara share some nice moments. Not much is done with Angel's crew, but one assumes they got more of the spotlight in his part of the crossover. Not having read the other two parts, I'm not quite sure why Alexis is so enraged about something that happened to her ancestor a good 15 decades earlier, but all in all this was a strong story and a big improvement over some past efforts in the Buffy comic.
* In-house ads indicate a new writing team will take over starting next issue.
* Here's a shot of poor Riley in the final panel of the comic, sitting alone and reading that great work of scholarship, Cliff's History. Don't worry dude, Buffy kept her hands off Angel. Mostly.
* The solicitations for this issue state that "After the dust settles, the lives of Buffy and Angel will never be the same." Okay . . .