Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 41
Dark Horse (Volume 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Tom Fassbender & Jim Pascoe (script); Cliff Richards (pencils); Joe Pimentel (inks)
Setting: Season Five
T.V. Character Appearances: Spike, Buffy, Tara, Willow, Xander, Anya, Giles, Dawn,
Major Original Characters: Coma (demon?)
Summary: Buffy and Spike run into each other in a junk yard. Spike tries to tell Buffy about the Ezekiel's Bane amulet he possesses, which he says has the power to amplify emotions. Buffy isn't interested in hearing about it, however, and pummels him out of frustration from the demonic attack on Dawn's room the night prior. Spike says he'll sell the amulet to the highest bidder then. The next day, at the Magic Box, Buffy surprises everyone by announcing she's successfully researched what the three demons were: Avendschrook, manifestations of jealousy. The gang discuss who could be jealous enough to cast a spell to summon the demons, and Xander suggests Tara. Meanwhile, Spike sells the Ezekiel's Bane to a mysterious figure wrapped in bandages that he refers to as Coma. Back at the Magic Box, soon after Willow, Tara, and Dawn arrive, the Avendschrook attack again. The battle rages until Tara shouts for the demons to leave them alone, and then they all flee. Xander remains suspicious of Tara, but another possibility is Anya, who was in the basement and angry at Willow utilizing store stock for her spells. Buffy decides she knows where to go to get answers: Spike.
Review: The second issue of the Ugly Little Monsters storyline continues the strong beginning. I like how the issue plays with expectations, such as everyone getting ready to hit the books to research the demons before Buffy announces that she's already done it. It's nice to see the character come that far over the course of the show. The plot continues to be sufficiently mysterious to keep turning the pages: who is responsible for summoning the Avendschrook? Who is the mysterious Coma? Etc. Overall characterization and dialogue is also great, and there's not any moments where I thought "So-and-so would never say that." I'm looking forward to the next one.
* While gathering books for research, Xander gives a D&D shout-out by referencing the Monster Manual and the Fiend Folio.
* Although the colouring is fine overall, on the middle panel of page four Tara looks like some kind of ghastly zombie.
* Some fun references by Xander to Willow and Tara "doing spells", a callback to the last episode of Season Four.
* Instead of a letters page, the issue has a two-page spread about the graphic novel Creatures of Habit. The sketches definitely look interesting.