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From Box Four 11/05/09
brought to you by Illusive Comics and Games of Santa Clara

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #30
writer: Jane Espenson
artist: Georges Jeanty

The advantage of taking Buffy over to comics has long been obvious. If the series had gone to an eighth season, there's no way the CW would have sprung for giant Chinese goddesses. Nor likely all the werewolves, and the disturbing presence of skinless evil genius Warren.

In bringing all these to life on the comics page, artist Jeanty absolutely shines. The battle scenes have a strong sense of scope, with carnage (relatively tasteful) spread far and wide. As a horror artist, Jeanty has a thick line delineating the inhuman well.

Unfortunately, that also reveals his weakness, or perhaps a weakness in moving Buffy to the printed page. Only one of our heroes really has a distinctive visual look, and that would be Xander, black-haired and eye-patched. It's not quite as big a problem with the men, as there are very few in comparison to Buffy's army of Slayers, but take a look at a panel with Andrew, Oz and Riley all together. It's a little hard to tell which is which.

And that becomes really annoying when Jeanty draws women. I can't be sure, but I think Faith (Eliza Dushku) was among them for a moment, but it may have been Buffy. Or maybe it was Dawn. There's a little soap opera/potential love triangle going on which is almost impossible to track because Espenson leaves it to Jeanty to show us who's hugging who, who's jealous, etc. - and we just don't know who these people are.

Oh, we know; we just can't recognize them. The scripting isn't at fault. The plotting is great, the dialogue crackles and if you're a hardcore fan, it's easy to hear the original actors saying the lines - if you can tell which character it is. Again, at least Xander and Andrew have a similar snark, and Oz has his usual terseness. The girls? An all-purpose sarcasm.

Still a worthwhile book and always an enjoyable read, Buffy the Vampire Slayer just comes with this little bit of frustration. It's a small price to pay.


Derek McCaw


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