"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Volume 3 - Wolves at the Gate" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Originally released as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 8) #11 - #15
Written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
Illustrated by Georges Jeanty
2008, 136 pages, $15.95
Trade Paperback released on November 12th, 2008
The un-filmed eighth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer continues in Volume 3 - Wolves at the Gate. With the mysterious villain Twilight making moves to disrupt the slayer's world, our hero continues to struggle with the responsibility thrust onto her shoulders. Meanwhile, a group of Japanese vampires with powers borrowed from Dracula himself sets out to reverse Buffy's actions that unlocked the powers in all the potential slayers around the world.
Anyway, this volume picks up right where the previous one left off, although the format is slightly flipped. Whereas the first two volumes had a four issue arc followed by a one shot, this one has the one shot up front. It's not a problem, though, as it sets up the bit that got this book into the news: Buffy's lesbian affair with another slayer, Satsu. Yes, that happened, but that's not what this book is about. This fling helps cement the idea that although Buffy has surrounded herself with women just like her, she's all by herself. She leads this organization of female ass-kickers, but she keeps everyone at arm's length without letting anyone see the real her.
Right after all this is going on, some Japanese vampires bust into the slayer's Scottish castle and make off with Buffy's signature scythe (and then Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore, seriously). They're not your average blood-suckers, though, because these guys can turn into fog, wolves, and bees. That's a power that's only held by Dracula himself, so Xander goes to pay his old buddy a visit and manages to convince him to come along to Tokyo. I don't want to give away any surprises, but suffice it to say that there are pop culture references abound, a hilarious battle of Godzilla proportions, and — in typical Joss Whedon fashion — a broken heart.
As usual, I'm let down by the art in this book. Georges Jeanty is an OK artist, but after reading the first three volumes of this series, I've found what the problem is: He can't draw noses. Seriously, 90% of the heads in this book have these weird shapes where a nose would normally appear on a person's face. It's almost as if Jeanty gets to that part of the drawing and just scribbles something. The covers included for these issues are done by Jon Foster instead of Jo Chen. The two cover artists have slightly similar styles, but both produce beautiful images. I'd love to see what an entire issue would be like drawn by Foster or Chen.
This idea to create another season of Buffy in comic book form is f-ing brilliant. Plus the fact that it is executive produced by creator Joss Whedon lends the series a lot of credit. Whedon writes the first issue out of the five collected here. The final four are written by series scribe Drew Goddard. So it comes as no surprise that this whole volume fits the tone of the TV show perfectly. If you read this book aloud, you can almost imagine it as any episode of the series. While this volume didn't push the Twilight story along much, it does provide some great character development for the Scoobies.
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