Thursday, January 14, 2016
Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 49
(Dark Horse, Volume 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Scott Lobdell & Fabian Nicieza (story); Cliff Richards (pencils); Will Conrad (inks)
Setting: After Season Six
T.V. Character Appearances: Pike, Buffy, Xander, Dawn, Anya, Faith, Angel, Adam
Major Original Characters: N/A
Summary: Outside of Sunnydale, Buffy and Pike set up a camp in the wilderness. Buffy is stunned by recent events and finds herself having visions of dozens of past Slayers, as well as her own journey from being a high school cheerleader in Los Angeles to her return from the dead and beyond. Buffy has a vision of the First Slayer, and then sees hundreds and hundreds of happy people--at first she thinks she's in heaven, but then realises they are visions of all the people she has saved during her time as Slayer. She emerges from her vision filled with joy, confident that she's ready to return to Sunnydale and find out why she was pushed to lose control. Meanwhile, Xander, Dawn, and Anya (who has been caught by the Scourge) are taken to the edge of a mystical pit where people are being murdered and turned into demonic drugs. Faith and Angel arrive and catch the three before they fall in, and together the group tries to escape the Scourge's demon prison--but they're wrapped up in mystical bonds, and realize the figure behind it all: a demonic Adam!
I quite liked Buffy's mystical vision of all the people she's saved in her life--it echoed the prom episode in Season Three and served as a reminder of why she does what she does. The flashback material probably isn't a bad idea just in case there are readers who aren't as familiar with Buffy's origin, and it was interesting to see the insertion of material revealed in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin mini-series (based off of Joss Whedon's original script for the movie). The reveal of the Scourge worked well, though I'm not sure what to think yet about Adam being behind it all. Sometimes it's good for villains to just . . . stay . . . dead! Although, I was disappointed by the Faith-Angel dialogue in this issue--it went so well at the beginning of this story-arc, but was just off-kilter here. All in all though, an excellent lead up to the big 50th issue.
* There's a full text page about the new direction the comic is going to take starting in Issue # 51: we'll be seeing pre-Sunnydale Buffy stories.
* The artwork, especially facial features in this one, seemed a bit rushed.
* A mean but funny "Fat Xander" joke made by Faith. No body shaming around here, but it makes sense that someone on the show noticed the difference between Xander in Season Two and Xander in Season Six, and Faith's not one to hold her tongue.
* There's mention of a Buffy story in a one-shot Dark Horse anthology called Reveal. I'll have to track it down. Here's what the story is supposed to be about: "In a landmark Buffy story, Scott Lobdell and Jeff Matsuda reveal the first meeting between Angel and Dawn, set before Buffy ever came to Sunnydale, before she and Angel ever met."