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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow & Tara #1

Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2002
By: Ray Tate



"The Wilderness"

Writers: Christopher Golden & Amber Benson
Artists: AJ(p), Derek Fridolfs(i), Michelle Madsen(c)
Publisher: Dark Horse

Willow & Tara is a near perfect Buffy the Vampire
Slayer
spin-off. The period in which the adventure is set fits
the characterization. The characters themselves are almost as
interesting as their television counterparts. The plot uncovers
original supernatural territory with respect to the Buffyverse, and
my, but the Scooby Gang nickname seems apt.



Willow, Tara and Dawn travel in a yellow Volkswagen Beetle
substituting for the Mystery Machine to a coastal town which may or
may not be a magical power spot. The choice of characters makes
sense. Willow and Tara became Dawn's guardians after Buffy died. They
would want to rekindle that bond with a road trip while Buffy
readjusts, unbeknownst to them, to the pain of living. Likewise, the
characterization would be breezy because the Scoobies at this point
believe they've done good in rescuing Buffy from a
hell-dimension.



Willow would feel pretty much the proud uberwitch as Christopher
Golden and Amber Benson write her. As usual, Ms. Benson does not have
her role hog any of the spotlight. Tara Ms. Benson and Mr. Golden
portray as she was in the midpoint of her relationship with Willow.
She's empowered, sensible and devoted to her lover. Dawn is Dawn, and
the authors also give her the spine of a Slayer as seen in the
stunning season six finale.



Willow's and Tara's relationship, the authors handle as tastefully
as seen on the television show. The jokes in this area they tell are
genuinely funny, and due to the dialogue sweet. Dawn for instance
isn't disgusted by Willow's and Tara's closeness but the seaweed
rolls on which they nibble in the car. Ick indeed.



The artwork by the mysterious AJ, Derek Fridolfs and colorist
Michelle Madsen employ an overly cartoony look. Many will complain
Willow, Tara and Dawn are caricatures of the cast members, but there
will be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer cartoon in a couple of
years, and we'll be lucky if it looks this good.



Despite not being photographically accurate, the artwork captures
the essence of the characters. Willow and Tara hold hands as they
should and keep close. The solely artistic best scene occurs toward
the finale where Tara seeks comfort in Willow's arms. The sense of
contentment radiates from the panel. Dawn provides arm-folding, the
rolling of the eyes and various teenage incredulous looks. Willow
moves with the confidence she gained through the magic.



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