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Buffy the Vampire Slayer #57

Posted: Saturday, May 31, 2003
By: Ray Tate

"Slayer Interrupted" Part Two

Writer: Fabien Nicieza & Scott Lobdell
Artists: Cliff Richards(p), Will Conrad(i), Dave McCaig & Lisa Gonzales(c)
Publisher: Dark Horse

Buffy is done, but the comic book lives on. One hopes that nobody puts a stake in its heart. In a missing adventure, Mr. Nicieza and Mr. Lobdell relate Buffy's trauma days where she spent time in a sanitarium.

It's important to realize that "Slayer Interrupted" is a story within a story. Really, the stories we are reading, despite the absence of narration, are being told to us by Buffy and her friends.

These "campfire tales" started at the end of Pike's, Angel's and Faith's comic book visit to Sunnydale. It's also important to note that even given the final episode's continuity nothing in the comic book contradicts the series mythology. Mr. Nicieza and Mr. Lobdell did not have to do this. The comic book is a separate continuity. Continuity errors would have been forgivable, but the fact that there are none shows a deep knowledge of and respect for their subject. Indeed Whistler's dialogue seems particularly prophetic.

Further proof of their personal involvement in the show comes from the fascinating insights made. Buffy was committed to an asylum. So, what was to stop her bending a steel bar to add veracity to her story? Why does she persist to sticking to her Slayer story when if she pretended to abandon it, pretended to be normal, she would be released? The authors' answers to these question fit with the core of Buffy's characterization.

The vignettes courtesy of the Scoobies' input help pace the story, and three out of four are interesting shorts. The Ripper/Giles duel foreshadows Giles' more active stance as opposed to the passive watching exhibted by Merrick, the Donald Sutherland Watcher, from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. Dawn, who although should not be in the actual history, remembers her parents fighting and shows Joyce's and Hank's disolve. I particularly like how Joyce stands up for Buffy against Hank. Joyce has always stood behind her daughter even if she blocked out the Slayer bits that she witnessed but simply could not accept until Buffy confronted her with the truth. Whistler and Angel watching nicely takes in account series continuity while also answering the question why doesn't Angel simply rescue Buffy? Willow's high school torment is visually arresting if not revealing.

Artistically speaking, Cliff Richards excels on this issue. His depiction of Sarah Michele Gellar as Buffy is perfect. The story for this chapter is very talky. It's filled with riveting dialogue but little action. Cliff Richards is an action-oriented artist. This chapter, he confines the action to subtleties in the face and body language. While this is a talky chapter, you never get the sense of talking heads and only talking heads. Mr. Richards with the moody inks of Will Conrad and the natural colors of Dave McCaig and Lisa Gonzales creates the atmosphere of a Joss Whedon story that does not involve fisticuffs but emotions and insecurities.

"Slayer Interrupted" features only two fights knitted into the fabric of the pace. Normally, such a serious, less than action-filled story tends to make me consider chewing off my leg to escape, but every page of this book interested me and reached its dramatic goals.

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