"Stake to the Heart": Part One
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Cliff Richards(p), Will Conrad(i), Michelle Madsen(c), Brian Horton paintings
Publisher: Dark Horse
Buffy the Vampire Slayer blazes the racks with a killer story showing a previously undisclosed adventure occurring during the worst moments of Buffy's life. Again, it's important to remind readers that Buffy and the Scoobs are still at the Summers house relating and listening to stories of each other's past. That's why Dawn plays a part in "Stake to the Heart." Dawn did not exist until season five when the whacky monks made her so. Everybody as a consequence of monk magic however remembers Dawn. The overall setting also explains Giles' and Angel's points of view amid Buffy's voice.
The first chapter in "Stake to the Heart" bears emotional impact and the finely tuned pace of a Joss Whedon script. Fabian Nicieza characterizes Buffy, Dawn, Angel and Whistler as would an erudite fan. They all sound and behave as they would on the show, and you cannot ask for better.
Mr. Nicieza includes major themes from the series: major mojo gone awry and metaphor with fangs. Dawn for instance would rather believe in a Slayer than the divorce of her parents. Dark magic leads always to darkness, and the power of love is the strongest force in the universe that no dark magic can rent.
Hank Summers always seemed like a shmuck in the series, and he still is, but Mr. Nicieza does not portray him as the villain in the divorce. He plausibly shows that these are two people who would feel better about themselves if they were apart. Mr. Nicieza also does not make Buffy's heroic activity the source of the split. Rather her powers as a Slayer serve as a source of strength for her and Dawn. She can believe in something that will always remain.
Cliff Richards, Will Conrad and Michelle Madsen outdo themselves with a grotesque demon that makes one nauseous. Dark shadows an somber lighting with subdued colors reinforce the grim mood, and Mr. Richards' skillfully mimics the stars' looks and behaviors to make the comic book seem even more like a genuine episode.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is gone from the airwaves, but the comic book still keeps readers from feeling lonely. The first chapter in a new story is a masterful display of talent from the writer and the artists.
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