Sunday, October 28, 2007

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus—Volume One

In the wake of the arrival and consequent crazy-good sales of Buffy: Season Eight in comic book form, Dark Horse Comics is now re-releasing the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics in trade paperback format. I'm glad they're doing this, because the original comics are a bit hard to track down now, and buying all the paperback compilations is expensive, plus not all the comics were rereleased in this form.

The other thing I really like about the new compilations is that they're not in publication order, but in chronological order. The original Buffy comics jumped around on the timeline, with some set pre-series, and others set during various seasons of the show, in somewhat random order. In these new omnibus editions, the comics have been reordered to fit the series timeline.

Volume One consists entirely of pre-series stories, some of which I had read and some of which I hadn't. All of them are solid stories, and I enjoyed the book quite a lot.

The book starts off with All's Fair, a Spike and Dru series set during the 1933 World's Fair. It's an enjoyable story, but I found it to be the weakest of the set. The next series is the strongest. Buffy: The Origin is an adaptation of Joss Whedon's original script for the Buffy movie--i.e., this is what the movie would have looked like if studio suits and egomaniacal actors hadn't stuck their fingers in the pie. The Origin leads directly into Viva Las Buffy!, in which Buffy fights vampires in Las Vegas with Pike, her boyfriend from the original movie. This series and Slayer, Interrupted, in which Buffy ends up in a mental institution, fill in a good bit of the timeline between the movie storyline and the story that picks up with the pilot of the TV series. Also included is backstory on Giles, with a much-appreciated cameo from Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. Sandwiched between these two stories is the one-shot Dawn and Hoopy the Bear, in which an attempt to kill the Slayer affects her little sister, instead. Her arguably non-existent in this time-frame little sister.

The inclusion of Dawn in these comic sets was a conscious decision by the writers, since Season Four through Seven canon includes the character not only in the present but also in the other characters' manufactured pasts. It makes sense given when these comics were written, so I don't have a problem with it, but it'll make your head explode if you think about it too much.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable read, and I plan to follow this series as it's made available. Volume Two is already out--Borders here I come! With coupons, of course.