Slayers, Witches and Zompires oh my! – A review of the Buffy-Verse sampler

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Buffy-verse sampler for season 9 has landed. This bundle of goodness includes the first issues of Buffy season 9, Angel & Faith, Spike – a dark place and Willow – Wonderland. This review includes spoilers for all of them and also for season 8.

WORDS: Joss Whedon, Christos Gage, Victor Gischler, Jeff Parke
PENCILLS: Georges Jeanty, Rebekah Isaacs, Paul Lee, Brian Ching
INK: Dexter Vines, Rebekah Isaacs, Jason Gorder, Andy Owens
COLOR: Michelle Madsen, Dan Jackson, Cris Peter
COVER Artist: C.L. Bradley
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $4.99
RELEASE: January 23rd

Sooo I wonder a bit about this sampler, I get why you would do a sampler, it is a good introduction to the four different comics and will mostly likely make people want to buy more. Kind of like how good greatest hits CDs used to work (bear with me kids I am 35 years old and come from the dark ages). You got a greatest hits CD, picked the songs you liked, checked out what albums they came from and bought those albums. Not sure it really works the same with MP3s maybe it does. I don’t tend to buy greatest hits albums, CD wise or in MP3s.

My beef with this is that the Spike and Willow mini series takes place further along in the story arc, so if you read Buffy and Angel & Faith that is fine, they are parallel. But if you then plough through Spike and Willow, it will give away some of the story, plus also take away some of the enjoyment for when you buy issue #2, 3 and 4 etc. of Buffy and Angel & Faith. Spike starts after a few issues of Buffy, when he splits after Buffy has a pregnancy scare (oh yes awesome story line). Willow starts even further down the line.

I also wonder who it is for. Someone who has never read any Buffy comics but liked the TV series? Then it would be a problem that you missed out on season 8. Now maybe you tried season 8 and didn’t like it but have heard good things about season 9 and you want to give it a go. But that still means that you will miss out on storylines, as events of season 8 implicate all of season 9. Now maybe it is for people who have no clue at all about Buffy? I envy those people, imagine being able to have seven series of Buffy and five of Angel to watch that you’ve never seen. Ahhh utter bliss. So no I don’t quite get it. But saying that, the bundle is good if you just want to judge the stories and not contemplate the order of things.

Series 8 ended with Buffy wiping out all magic in our dimension. Series 9 is all about how the scoobies cope in a world without magic, the strange world which they all know doesn’t exist anymore and they all have to cope in different ways. Buffy deals with it by killing zompires (zombie vamps). Dawn and Xander are cohabiting and having couple spats. Angel is on a major guilt trip after killing Giles, and Faith is trying to look out for Angel as he has been doing the same for her for years. Spike is flying around in a bug ridden spaceship trying to battle his love for the slayer. But the person who suffers more than most is Willow, she is just a geeky girl again without her magic. Willow Wonderland is my least favourite of these four comics, maybe because it is a bit like season 8 with all the strange magic creatures, or maybe it is because Willow is not translating to the comic as well as the other characters do.

Out of the 4 comics only Spike has finished now, the other 3 are still going. Guessing they will all come together in a big shebang in the end. So if you are curious about this series why not get the sampler and check it out. But I would only read Buffy and Angel & Faith first, and if you like those two I would probably hold off from reading Spike and Willow until reading the following issues of Buffy and Angel & Faith so none of the story-lines would be ruined. But that’s just me as I am a Buffy-verse snob!

Helena