Last week, we had Twilight Week over at GeekMom and that prompted a discussion with a friend about whether the relationship between Edward and Bella was really that much different than the relationship between Buffy and Angel in Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season One.
Buffy is followed around by a mysterious, hot guy with special powers. He won’t tell her who he is but he saves her life now and again and he’s completely in love with her. Buffy is a high school student, not of age, he’s a vampire at least two hundred years old. And he tries to leave her several times because he’s not good enough for her.
The difference, of course, is in the execution and the subtle details that make genre fans revere Buffy and (mostly) hate Twilight.
But the discussion sent me to read the Twilight story arc of Dark Horse Comics Buffy The Vampire series. The storyline is obviously named after Twilight, as there are several snarky remarks included, and it does follow the plot line of soul mates and what happens when the wish for true love comes true. (I’ll give you a hint: Joss Whedon isn’t known for happy couples.)
When season eight began in the comics, Buffy had gathered an army of slayers together to battle demons. Eventually, she and her slayer army were opposed by a demon army led by a mysterious masked man known only as Twilight. (Reference to a sparkly vampire obviously intended.)
Major spoilers ahead…
As this volume opens, the slayer army has been defeated and Buffy and the Scooby gang are on an island of some sort trying to regroup and test Buffy’s new enhanced power levels. There’s a cute and very geeky sequence where Buffy outraces a speeding bullet, lifts a locomotive, and leaps a tall building in a single bound. Despite Xander’s obvious glee in spouting all kinds of superhero comic book references, Willow insists that this new power comes at a price. And she’s right.
It turns out that the mysterious Twilight is none other than Angel himself who says he’s not out to kill her, only to gather her enemies in one place so they cause less damage. And that he and Buffy have a destiny. That destiny seems to includes much, much sex and eventually leads to a higher plane of existence.
But because this is Joss Whedon’s creation, sex and love don’t turn out to be completely good in the end and things are about to et progressively worse as the volume ends.
What Kids Will Like About It:
Buffy fans will no doubt like visiting their old friends having new adventures. Brad Meltzer is credited with the writing but he’s definitely following the tone of the television show, including lots of bantering dialogue. When I read the comic, I tend to hear all the actor’s voices in my head and I suspect I’m not the only one. Buffy adapts well to comic book form.
However, the story seems rushed to me. Those trying to kill Buffy swap sides and it’s not explained exactly why they’re accepted so quickly. Giles seems to know something about what’s going on but he keeps talking without revealing anything. In many ways, this volume reminded me of the televised Season 7. Good bits and pieces but the whole needs some work. Content warning: their are semi-nude panels of Buffy and Angel and some gore. I’d put a PG-rating on this one.
What Parents Will Like About It:
One thing the television show couldn’t do very well because of budgetary constraints was reach for the epic story. The end of Season 7 comes close but that’s one of the few epic sequences. Sequential art has no such constraints so we get fun stuff like Buffy leaping up tall buildings, an ever-changing landscape around Angel and Buffy as the very plane of existence around them changes, and the gruesome but somehow darkly funny sight of Warren running around without his skin.
What it lacks, however, is any good character development. That may be because Buffy and the rest of the gang were perfectly comfortable with who they are at the end of the televised series. As a consequence, some of their choices in season eight seem like the characters are going backwards. My other problem is the art. Georges Jeanty tried to keep the look of our familiar characters the same as their real-life counterparts and I think that hurts rather than helps. The characters look close but just a little bit off, enough to be distracting.
Buffy lifting the locomotive over her head.
About the Creators:
Joss Whedon did two of the one-shot stories collected in this volumen, one starring Willow and another spotlighting the Buffy/Xander relationship. The Twilight story arc was written by New York Times Bestselling author Brad Meltzer, who also has written the Justice League and Green Arrow for DC Comics. Jeantry is a Brooklyn-born artist who broke into comics in 1994 and was hand-picked by Whedon to be the regular artist on this series.