Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 57
(Dark Horse, Volume 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Scott Lobdell & Fabian Nicieza (story); Cliff Richards (pencils); Will Conrad (inks); Dave McCaig & Lisa Gonzales (colors); Clem Robins (letters)
Setting: Between Movie & Season 1
T.V./Movie Character Appearances: Buffy, Cordelia, Harmony, Willow, Quentin Travers, Giles, Joyce, Hank Summers, Dawn, Angel, Whistler
Major Original Characters: Dr. Primrose (psychiatrist), Dr. Stone (asylum director), April (patient)
Summary: Buffy takes part in group therapy sessions at the asylum where she's staying. She tells the other patients and their psychiatrist, Dr. Primrose, that she's the Slayer and responsible for protecting the world against demons. Another patient, April, claims she's the "Bride of Rakagore". Later, Dr. Primrose and Dr. Stone discuss medicating and using electro-shock therapy on Buffy. Meanwhile, Dawn overhears her mom and dad arguing again, Cordelia and the Cordettes snicker at Willow, Angel and Whistler wonder why Buffy's in an asylum, and Giles turns the table on his Ripper doppelganger and kills him with a sword! Back in the asylum, Buffy has a one-on-one session with Dr. Primrose. Later that night, in the asylum's basement, Dr. Stone is revealed to be the demon Rakagore and April is his next target.
The storyline advances very slowly in this issue, and is a bit choppy, with single-page looks at what several other characters are doing while Buffy's in the asylum. I actually would have preferred they *didn't* go with a "demon running the asylum" angle and instead stuck with the psychological insight that made "Normal Again" so fascinating. It's not a bad issue, but disappointing compared to the first issue in the story arc.
* The letters' page announces the end of the monthly series with a series of "special projects" planned instead. The good news is that (eventually) Dark Horse will start publishing Season 8 with Joss Whedon at the helm!
* There's an ad in this issue I found quite amusing. It's a full-page pitch to get people to come to an "Exclusive Autograph Signing" for Angel actor Vincent Kartheiser (Connor) scheduled for three hours at a venue in California. I just can't believe this was an effective use of advertising dollars! Even if we imagine Vincent signed one autograph a minute at say, $ 50 a pop, that's only $ 9000 in total for the event. Why would you buy an ad in a national publication for a three-hour event in California? And nothing against Connor, but he was never exactly the # 1 fan favorite in the entire Buffyverse. Just seems poorly thought-out all around . . .