Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 56
(Dark Horse, Volume 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Scott Lobdell & Fabian Nicieza (story); Cliff Richards (pencils), Will Conrad (inks), Dave McCaig (colors), Clem Robins (letters)
Setting: Between Movie & Season 1
T.V./Movie Character Appearances: Buffy, Dawn, Joyce, Hank Summers, Quentin Travers, Giles,
Major Original Characters: Doctor Stone (asylum physician)
Summary: While Buffy is away with Pike in Las Vegas, Dawn sneaks into her room and finds her diary. The diary is full of entries and drawings about slaying vampires, and Dawn takes it to her parents. When Buffy arrives back home, saddened over Pike's departure, Joyce and Hank confront her about the diary. Meanwhile, in Ireland, Quentin Travers takes Giles to a remote cliffside cave called the Blackshed. Here, Giles is to spend a night by himself to undergo a rite of passage so the Watchers Council can decide if they can trust him. Giles says the required mystical incantation, and then is struck over the head--by Ripper! Later in Sunnydale, Buffy and Dawn go the mall. Buffy is still angry at Dawn for reading her diary, and lashes out. She decides to walk home and has to save a woman from a torque demon. She arrives home hours late for dinner and covered in slime to find that her parents have called for psychiatric help. A doctor named Stone takes Buffy to an asylum.
A solid beginning to a storyline that is a perfect avenue for the comics: filling in the reference in the episode "Normal Again" to Buffy having spent several seeks in an asylum. Buffy's depression over Pike's leaving, her parents' concern, Dawn's role in getting Buffy into trouble while caring about her, and more are all done well and in-character. The fight scenes (against a vampire and a torque demon) are completely forgettable, and sometimes I think the comic (like the show) had a mandate to include action in every story even if it's not really necessary. I'm eager to see where this goes, and find out more about Giles' experience in the Blackshed.
* Editor Scott Allie seems quite relieved to announce that the concluding issues of Fray have finally come in after a several-month gap!