Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 46
(Dark Horse, Volume 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Tom Fassbender & Jim Pascoe (story), Paul Lee (art)
Setting: Season Six
T.V. Character Appearances: Dawn, Buffy, Spike, Anya, Xander, Willow, Tara,
Major Original Characters: Velatti (vampire); Hoop (Bear Demon)
Summary: Dawn comes home from school, eager to share news, but is disappointed to find the house empty. Buffy is actually in Spike's lair sharing his bed. At the Magick Shoppe, Xander and Anya banter about wedding preparations. Unbeknownst to all of them, a vampire fought previously and thought dead, named Velatti, pulls herself free of a rock slide and decides to get revenge on Buffy. After witnessing Buffy and Spike talking in the cemetary, Velatti sends a giant bear demon named Hoop to kidnap Dawn. Later, Velatti spars with Buffy and taunts her about her kidnapped sister. When Buffy tracks Hoop and Dawn to the Doublemeat Palace, a fight breaks out between the assembled Scoobies and the pair of villains. Xander kills Hoop with a sword, and just as Velatti is about to humiliate Buffy by revealing her secret liaisons with Spike, he appears and stakes Velatti. Buffy apologizes to Dawn for not being around more, and thanks Spike for helping to keep their secret.
The vampire Velatti and the bear demon Hoop apparently come from the illustrated prose novel Creatures of Habit. I have it and read it a long time ago, but my pop culture memory is poor. Nonetheless, they worked pretty well in the story. The theme of Dawn's loneliness and Buffy's impetuous relationship with Spike worked really well in the story, and I thought this was one of the best "done in one" tales of the series. The characterization of the main players, including Willow, Anya, Xander, and a brief cameo from Tara, were also done well. It's a good story that fits nicely into continuity with disrupting it.
* This is the first issue of the series to be set squarely in Season Six.
* I was mentally self-congratulating myself for reaching the 2/3 point of blogging about this series. Then I realized that my "Buffy Comic Project" started in June of 2010!! It's fair to say I have to pick up the pace!
* This is the last issue for Fassbender and Pascoe. Overall, I thought they were pretty strong and better than some that had come before (the letters' page is full of glowing praise about the pair's run). An announcement is that Scott Lobdell will take over writing duties in the next issue. My impression of Lobdell from other comics (superhero stuff) is that he was fine but not spectacular. The editor promises a "radical new direction", so we'll see . . .
* The artwork continues to remain strong. For example,
I love this shot of Buffy and Spike grinning at each other after Buffy tells him "I'd kick you, but all the strength has gone out of my legs."