“Into every generation a slayer is born… She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil… She is the Slayer.” This paraphrased opening to the omnibus collection (and TV show) sets up Buffy vs a slew of different monsters every week with the help of her friends and Watcher/school librarian.
Set in Sunnydale, a fictional Californian town, this comic series is set during the high school years of the show Buffy with rotating villains such as goblins, a Vincent Price-esque haunted movie story, and of course, vampires. Characters are witty, quick, and feel very true to their television counterparts, past a few glaring omissions. If you are a fan of the show, the comic starts out roughly in season two and progresses through season three. This volume collects issues 1-10 of the Buffy comic series, originally published in 1998-9, as well as some additional stories from that era.
The book’s main writer, Andi Watson, is fantastic at the character voices and I often thought to myself that these do feel like the characters. There was one particular two-parter near the end about body issues and plastic surgery involving Joyce that felt very out of character for her. However, the television show was known for doing social issue episodes in interesting ways so I thought this was Watson’s crack at that.
Christopher Golden’s featured writing flows like a narrative, in that his pieces read more like prose books with images than comics. He recaps Angel’s narrative and tells some shorter stories of his own, but Christopher Golden also wrote for the Buffy novels of the 90s and early 00s so his writing style here is very similar to those. The initial issue featured writer Jen Van Meter who was great at writing jokes, but the issue felt disjointed with characters seeming to not directly respond to another.
Luke Ross’s art for Jen Van Meter’s piece was also my least favorite with these elongated legs and strange poses for Buffy that did not seem exactly right. However, Joe Bennet and Hector Gomez both had fantastic art throughout. Joe works on most of the series and his Buffy looks like the actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, and other characters mostly follow suit. However, at first Willow looks nothing like Alyson Hannigan as she has a more brunette look until halfway through the series. This would mean nothing for new readers, but this 20 year old comic series reprinting may be intended for those fans who are already familiar with their version of Willow.
I’m not afraid to admit I enjoy Buffy. It was one of the first shows that had a queer character I identified with in the witchy Willow, and had this handsome and intelligent but sometimes mysteriously aloof librarian who definitely impacted my future career choices. While it was disappointing to hear the recent news of Joss Whedon’s abusive treatment of cast and crew in his career, his involvement in these stories seems to have been very minimal. Like Harry Potter, it can be difficult to judge content separate from the original creator, but this omnibus will have appeal to hardcore Buffy fans who love these characters.
At the time of its original publication, this comic was probably intended for teens and young adults. As a reprinting, I would say this is aimed at adults who want that nostalgia wow factor of reliving their childhood. I would also shelve this with adult graphic novels, rather than teen comics or other youth collections. Again, this would probably appeal to fans of the show and not necessarily a larger audience. I would purchase this if looking to add more Buffy to a high demand collection but it is likely not for everyone.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Legacy Edition Book One
By Andi Watson, Christopher Golden, Jen Van Meter
Art by Joe Bennett, Hector Gomez, Luke Ross
BOOM! Studios, 2020
Series ISBNS and Order
Related media: TV to Comic
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)