"The Long Way Home, Part 1"
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: Georges Jeanty (p), Any Owens (i), Dave Stewart (colors)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
So what do you do when your mother dies, you get kicked out of college, your best friend loses an eye, your hometown implodes and you find yourself in charge of an organization of thousands of people? Most of us crawl up into the fetal position and cry. If you’re Buffy Summers, though, you grow up.
The television series continues in this month’s release from Dark Horse. If you’re an enthusiast of the series who felt a little sad when it all ended, then Buffy is this month’s book for you. In the face of what must be very high expectations, Whedon and crew deliver. In interviews regarding the new book, Whedon has stated that he is doing this project for the fun of it. It definitely shows. From Xander doing his best Fury imitation to the sisterly bickering of Dawn and Buffy, there’s a great deal of fun and humor in the book.
Actually, the book contains most of what made the show endearing to so many. Solid characters, sharp dialogue and a plotline that develops and actually seems to go somewhere. Crazy, I know.
After the end of the seventh season, Buffy, with the aid of Xander, is now in charge of a small army of Slayers. That army also includes a great deal of equipment: helicopters, multiple bases, and a satellite or two. If you want to be critical of the beginning, you could easily ask where they got all of this really expensive equipment. The U.S. Army is also asking that same question. After destroying a city of the United States (even if it was on top of a Hellmouth), the army, and possibly the government as a whole, has classified Ms. Summers as a threat. Steps are being taken to study her for the purpose of collecting intelligence on how best to eliminate such a threat.
Which brings us to one of the points that makes the comic a pleasure to read. Say what you like about the universe that Buffy inhabits, but unlike many others, actions have consequences. If you’re playing for big enough stakes, if those consequences are big enough, then they change the world and the way you look at it. And if you’re Buffy, they change the way the world looks at you.
As a fan of the show, I had a difficult time imagining that the comic book could be as good without the actors that had brought Whedon’s words to life. Often times, delivery of a piece of dialogue was as important as the content itself. However, Whedon so easily returns to writing these characters he knows so well that any long time fan of the show will nearly hear the words in his or her head. The art also lends to this illusion as the re-creation of the characters on the page is very well done. In some cases, the action scenes are actually better than they were in the show.
Whedon wanted to have fun with this, and I hope he has. Because he’s going to make a great deal of Buffy fans happy with this one.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the author’s work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com.
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