Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 53
(Dark Horse, Volume 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Scott Lobdell (plot), Fabian Nicieza (script), Cliff Richards (pencils), Will Conrad (inks)
Setting: Between movie and Season 1
T.V./Movie Character Appearances: Angel, Buffy, Pike, Hank Summers, Joyce Summers, Dawn Summers, Quentin Travers, Giles,
Major Original Characters: The Manager (casino operator); Mary-Lou Sidle & Marcus Sidle (conjoined twins); Willem Bryardale (evil Watcher); Garner Sidle (casino owner)
Having found himself transported back to 1930, Angel breaks into the manager's office at the casino and finds, oddly enough, a modern-day computer! He uses the computer and discovers that the original owner of the casino (Garner Sidle) has been using a Navajo holding spell to keep the place trapped in time so that he could return from the future and invest in profitable ventures. Back in the future, Buffy surrenders to save Pike's life, and both are taken to meet the mysterious owners of the Golden Touch casino: a pair conjoined twins, one of whom is a vampire! A fight breaks out, and Pike realizes he's dragging Buffy down by making her always protect him. He causes a distraction and runs for the rooftop, and then jumps off! In Sunnydale, Dawn discovers Buffy's diary, and in London, Rupert Giles leads the Watcher's Council to Willem Bryardale's chamber, where they realize, too late, that he has been practicing black magic!
This issue had some awesome moments, like the conjoined twins, only one of whom is a vampire, doing all sorts of cool flips, kicks, and gun shooting. I like originality, and the Sidle twins take the cake! But the issue also had some head-scratching moments like Pike, apparently, deciding to commit suicide so as not to be a burden on Buffy. I never got this "woe is me" side to Pike from the movie (granted, it's been a long time since I've seen it) and it just doesn't ring true. I feel kind of "meh" about the Angel "back in time" plot, and the subplots with Giles and Dawn are reasonably interesting. The artwork continues to be excellent, with some top-notch action scenes.
|The Sidle Twins; their origin doesn't make sense, but they're cool anyway!|
* I had forgotten, in reviews of the first issues of this story arc, that Angel already knew who Buffy was when she was in Los Angeles, and that he was trying to protect her. This explains his motivation for trailing her to the Golden Touch casino.
* Having Angel be in full-colour and the rest of the past in black-and-white worked extremely well.
* The letters page has an interesting exchange between a fan and the series editor about some of the fuzzy logic of the previous story arc. It turns out that there were plans in place to end the series at Issue # 50 and re-launch the book starting with the current creative team, but the previous creative team decided to leave early (one guesses they weren't happy getting canned) and thus there was a scramble to bring the new creative team on early.