Book Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, Vol. 2, Scott Allie, ed. (2007)

February 22nd, 2013 2:46 pm by mad mags

Home is where the Hellmouth is!

four out of five stars

The second volume in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus is a bit of a mixed bag. Featuring diverse artwork from several distinctive artists, this a weird collection, chronologically speaking: we start out with two pre-season One stories, then it’s on to a few Spike and Dru tales; the next times we meet Buffy, it’s Seasons Two and Three, with Angel vacillating between good and evil. With all this jumping around, it can prove difficult at times to place the stories in the overall context of the show. That said, it’s still a (mostly) enjoyable collection.

My favorite piece by far is also the longest: “A Stake to the Heart,” which deals with the Summers’s divorce and Buffy, Dawn, and Joyce’s subsequent relocation to Sunnydale. In an effort to assume Buffy’s pain and self-doubt, Angel unwittingly unleashes malignancy demons on the Summers family. Aesthetically pleasing and unexpectedly touching, it alone is worth the price of admission. Also enjoyable is the short piece “Angels We Have Seen On High” – though there isn’t much by way of plot, the style is uncharacteristically “cartoony,” in editor Scott Allie’s words. Most likely you’ll love it or hate it. (Think: Puppet Angel.)

“Queen of Hearts,” “Paint the Town Red,” and “Ring of Fire” (the first two being Spike and Dru exclusives) are by Ryan Sook, “one of the most controversial artists to have worked on Buffy.” While I don’t mind his dark noir style, the characters are way off: Spike and Dru look a good fifty years older than the actors who play them. In the same vein, not all of the Scooby Gang is immediately recognizable in “The Dust Waltz”: Willow and Cordelia and nearly indistinguishable (Willow hair is a blah beige color!), and Xander has been transformed into quite the beefcake.

And then there’s the short piece “MacGuffins” – which might have been fun but for the artwork. Here we have a ridiculously (one might even say “comically” – hardee har har!) oversexualized Buffy, complete with larger-than-life breasts and legs spread wide for the male gaze in no less than three panels. At least “The Dust Waltz” compensated for Buffy’s exaggerated mammary glands by giving her oversized biceps to match.

As if one needs to improve upon Sarah Michelle Gellar. As if!

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