Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Appetizer Was Delicious. The Main Course? A Bit Soggy

What Is It?: "Slayer, Interrupted" is a trade paperback collecting four issues of a pre-Season One Buffy adventure.

Timing: After "Viva Las Buffy", before Season One. This is the second story arc of the "Buffy: Year One" series.

REVIEW: Starting off this book is a bonus one-shot comic called "Dawn and Hoopy the Bear." The comic is scripted, penciled, colored, the whole nine yards by Paul Lee (Season Eight fans know him as the artist who drew "The Chain"), and the job he does portraying Dawn's younger self is phenomenal. Knowing how good this story is, it makes me feel a little better about Dawn appearing in these stories (which I explained my gripe with in my review for "Viva Las Buffy").

Now, on to the meat and potatoes of this trade paperback. The collected miniseries "Slayer Interrupted" is pretty much a direct continuation of what's happened in "Viva Las Buffy." Pike is out of the picture, Buffy has just come home from her stint is Las Vegas, but she isn't staying at home for long. Buffy ends up in a mental hospital (heavily influenced by the episode "Normal Again") and grapples with both reality and some bad ass demons. Let me reiterate this before I get to the negative: When I say the demon(s) are bad ass, I really mean it; the Big Bad of this arc is something that would've looked like cheesy CGI had it been on television, but it worked here. Some other good parts were the Giles vs. Ripper showdown and the one-page depicting Cordelia laughing at Willow in Sunnydale. While the latter has absolutely nothing to do with the plot and interrupts the flow of the story, it was worth it just to see that sad moment.

Here we go, down to the nitty gritty negatives. There is a lot that I don't like here, especially the way the main story line is executed. Buffy doesn't seem to grapple with her identity at all; as soon as her parents put her away, she believes that she is insane with no qualms. She doesn't even question the notion that she is insane until she sees a demon in the asylum. Thing is, if Buffy thinks she's crazy, seeing a demon shouldn't convince her that she isn't; it should convince her that she IS. That's just one example of sloppy story. Dr. Primrose's back story is extremely contrived, adding nothing but cringe factor.

What I thought would be another hit from the writing team Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza was a flop. Though, I can't take issue with the art, as Cliff Richard's pencils and Brian Horton/Paul Lee's covers remain consistently as good. If you're looking for a Buffyverse fix, this may be worth it for the sheer joy of the bonus story, "Dawn and Hoopy the Bear." And, even though any fan of "Viva Las Buffy" will be disappointed with "Slayer Interrupted", the story still has some good sections that make it worth a read. If not for "Dawn and Hoopy the Bear" I'd have given this volume a 4/10, but I have to add a few points for that Paul Lee gem.

Art: Paul Lee is a master of Dawn's facial expressions, apparently. He makes grand use of them in here. However, Cliff Richards does a lot of great work in "Slayer, Interrupted" as well. The opening sequence of the first issue is one of the best page designs I've seen, and it just brings a lot of life to the story. He did a good job here, it's just disappointing that the story wasn't as tight as his art work.

Characters We Know: Dawn, Buffy, Joyce and Hank Summers, Willow, Cordelia, Angel, Whistler, Giles, Quentin Travers, Harmony.

Rating: 6/10

1 comment:

Matt said...

Personally, I've never been a fan of any of the "Year One" stories. For my money, it always seemed like Buffy had more or less given up slaying after her time at Hemery. However, I could easily believe that she fought a few here and there in the "in-between" time, I find it difficult that she's actually taking on demons and the like, because the pilot always seemed to indicate, to me anyway, that Buffy had only fought vampires before moving to Sunnydale.