One avid Buffy fan takes a look back at the four-year, forty-three-issue comic book “season” of his favorite television show…
Wolves at the Gate (Issue #12 – Issue #15)
Written by Drew Goddard
Penciled by Georges Jeanty
Collected as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 3 (with Issue #11)
PLOT: The Scottish castle is infiltrated by vampires with the ability to turn into wolves and cats and fog and they steal Buffy’s scythe (not the scythe! Not the one that looks much more like a fancy ax than a scythe!) before hightailing it back to their headquarters in Tokyo. Buffy is unhappy with this development and rallies the troops to get it back. Meanwhile, Xander takes his new potential sweetie (slayer Renee) on a trip to meet up with Dracula in order to determine how this vampire gang seems to have his special non-standard vamp powers (turns out he gave them up whilst gambling). A big battle (in more than one way) ensues as Buffy and Co. attempt to stop the vamps from using the Scythe to reverse the Slayer-making spell and removing all Slayer powers from the girls. Oh, and Buffy has sex with a girl.
FAMILIAR FACES: Dracula.
WHAT WORKS: In many ways, this story line is typical (in a good way) Buffy, all action mixed in with a lot of humor, but in the middle of all that: *BAM* death and mayhem occur which will affect certain characters for a long time. Drew Goddard has written for both Buffy and Angel in the past (and Alias, and Lost) so does quite well with the characters and dialogue. Having Andrew give a lecture on Dracula (while dressed as George Hamilton from Love at First Bite) is the kind of Buffy-fun we’ve come to love. Also having the apparent impossibility for main Buffy characters to have a nice, normal relationship of any sort fits as well.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK: Okay, it has to be said that I’m pretty certain that this entire plotline was just an excuse to have Dawn-the-giant fight Mecha-Dawn in the streets of Tokyo. Highly amusing, yes, but also highly absurd — too much so. Throw in Dracula, who I thought was a mistake to introduce to the Buffy-verse to begin with (really, the Season 5 opener “Buffy vs. Dracula” had definite good moments, but was way too silly and didn’t fit well with the show, in my opinion), and there are several things about this series that go ’round the bend. Why would Xander hang out with Dracula and why would everyone else be okay with this?! Also, no real over-arching plot line development with nary a Twilight reference to be seen. That would be okay for a one-off issue, but for a 4-issue section there should be plot advancements and not just some character development along with silliness.
REVELATIONS WITHIN: Dracula is alive! He and Xander are pals (sort of)! Buffy is experimenting (of sorts)! And everyone knows!
ANDREW: My giant-sized teammate is fighting a mechanized version of herself on the streets of downtown Tokyo… I’ve been preparing for this day my entire life!
BUFFY-NESS FACTOR: Mostly High. The dialogue and the humor mixed with poignancy is very Buffy-like, but it moves too far into absurdity which knocks it down a bit.