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Dark Horse Comics has released Issue 4 of their ongoing continuation of the cult TV show, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. When we last left our heroine, she had been betrayed by her erstwhile ally, Severin. The issue begins with a flashback showing Severin working his mojo on a vampire in a bid to gain information about his girlfriend, Alessandra. He seems to be able to steal magic from vampires, but in doing so, he kills the underlying human.
A mysterious stranger told Severin that he needed to destroy Buffy. As he lunges to attack her and steal her power, he taunts her in typical Buffy-villain fashion. As they grapple, both the San Francisco Police Department and her former vampire love interest, Spike, converge on her. The former plan to arrest her, while the latter is trying desperately to save her.
This issue turned out to be a bit of a letdown, actually. The writers seemed to be treading water throughout much of the text, and the fight between Buffy and Severin was not terribly dramatic. A bunch of panels showing Severin gripping Buffy while mysterious green energy dances around them does not make for a very compelling fight. It almost felt like the fight scenes were being used as filler in between the scenes that were happening elsewhere in the city.
I do not want to give away too many spoilers, but the end of the issue wraps up the ‘Buffy as fugitive’ plot arc in a way that just felt rushed. It seemed to end because the writers needed it to end, rather than ending in a natural fashion.
The dialogue also seemed to suffer in this issue. There were a number of instances where writer Andrew Chambliss seemed to be trying too hard to capture Joss Whedon’s famed Buffyspeak (worst line of the issue: “I’ve just got to keep with the fighty until you use up all your snap, crackle, and pop.”) With Whedon, it seemed natural; with Chambliss, it tends to feel contrived.
In my review of Issue 3, I noted that the characters sometimes did not resemble the actors who played them on TV. That problem is even more pronounced in Issue 4. Willow has a brief walk-on part towards the end, but you would be hard-pressed to tell that she was once played by Alyson Hannigan. Buffy’s resemblance to Sarah Michelle Gellar is also at an all-time low in this issue, and she still tends to look like she is twelve years old.
OVERALL GRADE: B-