Friday, 15 June 2012
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Wolves at the Gate – reviewed by Stephen Theaker
The four issues written by Drew Goddard give the collection its title. In “Wolves at the Gate” the slayer castle is attacked by vampires sharing the powers of Dracula, who made a brief, bathetic appearance in the TV series. Investigating takes the slayers and the gang—plus Dracula—from Scotland to Japan, where a vampire clan has plans to undo Buffy’s gift of slayerhood. It’s a story with many highlights—actually, scratch that, it’s a story entirely made up of highlights. Xander’s hilarious and oddly touching relationship with Dracula. Everyone bursting in on Buffy’s latest romantic tryst. Giant dawn fighting a giant mechadawn.
The pleasures of the Buffy season eight comic are essentially those of the original series: stories with consequences, well-planned plots, laugh-out loud dialogue, relationships that develop naturally in unexpected directions. Pencils throughout are by Georges Jeanty, with inks by Andy Owens, and they prove extremely adept at depicting each of those elements. Panels like those where Willow and Buffy discuss the latter’s latest romance display the comic skills of Kevin Maguire, while the action is always clear and powerful. They manage the tough trick of capturing the actors’ likenesses perfectly without the stiffness that afflicts many licensed comics. They draw a very pretty Buffy, and if she sometimes looks very petite, that’s because she really is; that’s what makes it so impressive when she fights the big monsters.