Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 36
(Dark Horse; Vol. 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Tom Fassbender & Jim Pascoe (writers); Cliff Richards (penciller); Joe Pimentel & Will Conrad (inkers)
Setting: Season Five
T.V. Character Appearances: Spike, Harmony, Dawn, Giles, Buffy, Willow, Anya, Xander, Tara
Major Original Characters: Yuki Makimura (vampire); Shiden (mentor)
Summary: Dawn, having stormed out of the house, arrives at Spike's crypt to complain about Buffy. Meanwhile, at the Magic Box, Buffy talks to Giles about the legend of a Slayer missing from the Watcher's Diaries and expresses concern over Dawn's disappearance. The group decides to start looking for her. Elsewhere, vampire Yuki Makimura feasts on human prey and then speaks to her mentor about the need to find the Eidu Amulet, apparently hidden in Spike's crypt. Later, Buffy learns of her sister's location through Harmony, and angrily confronts Dawn and Spike. Despite Giles' denial, Spike insists there is a Slayer missing from the diaries. Before they can continue the discussion, a pair of vampires burst into Spike's lair and one of them escapes with the Amulet. Giles and Buffy argue about Giles withholding information. At Yuki's underground crypt, an altar of skulls has been built and the vampire proclaims that a "suitable vessel" has been found "to complete the transition" and that "the reign of destruction" will soon begin.
Review: Again, excellent artwork and solid characterization. Dawn storming out of the house and seeking shelter with Spike is something we've seen on the show and it comes across as believable. Willow and Tara have a brief, but sweet moment. Perhaps the best part is the heated exchange between Giles and Buffy; it's rare to see the two fighting, but very realistically done. Visually, Yuki Makimura is impressive and memorable (excellent coloring in the comic, something I don't think I've ever noticed before). Her scheme, however, is likely to turn out to be forgettable.
* Harmony doesn't appear much in the comic, but her attempt to draw up a "trap" for Buffy is a bit funny.
* The set-up about a missing Slayer is intriguing, but there's a lot of unexplained plot elements. Still not sure why Spike had the amulet, for example.
* The one piece of really bad drawing is of Giles near the end; completely unrecognizable.
* A note on the letters' page indicates that the fellow bartending during the scene at Willy's bar in the last story arc was not supposed to be Willy. Art fail!