Joss Whedon, Joe Bennett, Dan Brereton, Christopher Golden, Hector Gomez, Paul Lee, Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Eric Powell, Cliff Richards,Ryan Sook, Guy Major, Drew Geraci, Keith Barnett, Pat Brosseau, Jeromy Cox, Rick Ketcham, Randy Emberlin, J. Jadsen, Ken Bruzenak, Brian Horton, Will Conrad, Dave McCaig, Clem Robins, Lisa Gonzales, Dark Horse Books
These omnibus collections are a gathering of what many consider to be the best Buffy the Vampire Slayer graphic-stories out there. Volume#1 takes place pre-season one and covers a feature on Spike and Dru, a look back at the origins of Buffy as the Slayer, a glimpse into the life of Giles before Sunnydale, some Angel and most interestingly of all, Dawn’s effects on Buffy’s past once she is conjured into the Summer family’s history. Graced by the hands of everyone from Eric Powell to Joe Bennett, this collection proves very entertaining and manages to grasp the fun and action of the show more accurately than one would expect without Whedon’s pre-approval of the stories.
Throughout this collection we are introduced to many events in Buffy’s past that we were previously unaware of, including the love of a boy named Pike. In an attempt to get away from her gong-show high school dance and the name it had made for her, Buffy takes off with Pike to Las Vegas where we discover the first of many men to fall for one of the most dangerous women alive – the Slayer. Watching this poor guy struggle to keep up with the Buffy’s newly found speed and strength feels very reminiscent of her relationship with Riley; only it plays a larger emotional toll because Pike was unaware of what he was getting into when he stepped over to life in the supernatural world. When the inevitable happens and he is parted from the girl he adores, I couldn’t help but weep inside a little for every poor schmuck caught in Buffy’s path.
Although the Viva Las Buffy story line, as mentioned above, was my hands-down favorite of this collection there were a ton of exciting, action packed tales spilled within. You get to see Buffy kill the vampire known to many as Caligula or Jack the Ripper, flood a casino filled with undead, slay her first non-vampire monster and survive a mental institution due to Dawn’s nosey habits – All in one book!
Christopher Golden and Eric Powell’s ultra-creepy tale, All’s Fair, about Spike and Dru up against a mad-scientist with a dimension tearing machine was a pleasant reminder of the needlessly violent, ballsy Spike that we all knew and loved before his inevitable neutering in the television series. In complete honesty, all of the issues brought back pleasant fuzzy feelings; although there were some minor doses of disappointment throughout due to a slight lacking of spunk in Buffy’s dialogue and other minor details but, none of which really amount to anything wretched in terms of this volumes overall appeal.
My favorite artist on this list in terms of Buffy comics is Cliff Richards. He brings an exceptional amount of life to the characters and maintains a great reflection of their images within the show. With the addition of Conrad’s bold inking and bright, enticing colors provided by Dave McCaig and Lisa Gonzales, the result is a smooth, rather becoming tone that holds the truest to the shows style and grace.
Paul Lee’s contribution of Dawn & Hoopy Bear stands tall among the rest of the book with a playful Dawn and a demonic teddy bear with the intention of providing her heart’s desire. His artwork is perfectly suited for a plot surrounding young Dawn, as it is harshly shaded, brightly colored and relies heavily on her adorably over dramatic facial expressions.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus: Volume #1 was delightful to experience and despite its minor flaws and slight distancing from what the show says happened in Buffy’s past (I figure this is due to the new addition of Dawn and the implications of her actions in Buffy’s, now newly written, past), there really is nothing that should be holding back any fan of Buffy from reading this book. It holds true to the playful style of the series while also hosting the bad-ass kills, heavy action and snarky one-liners required of it. I enjoyed every second of reading this and for that simple reason, I recommend you go pick it up and do the same.
4 holy water showers out of 5.