Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “The Dust Waltz”
Dark Horse Comics – Oct. 14, 1998
Writers: Dan Brereton
Artists: Hector Gomez, Guy Major, Sandu Florea
Editor: Scott Allie

“The Dust Waltz” continues the grand tradition of Buffy comics. And that tradition is to suck really hard. Let me give you the synopsis from the back of the book itself(stolen from Buffy’s wiki page):

“Two mysterious sisters, Lilith and Lamia, arrive in Sunnydale and bring along some nasty beasts.   tries to find out who or what they are. This plan is complicated when one of the sisters takes a liking to Angel. The sisters turn out to be ancient vampires; each hopes to bring a champion to town to fight to death in a magical ritual called the Dust Waltz. The Waltz involves ritual murder, blood drinking, an opened Hellmouth, and apocalypse. Meanwhile the Scooby Gang shows Giles‘s niece the town.

You’ll notice that I italicized that last sentence. The story is about all of this stuff, and – at the same time – Jane, Giles’ niece, is in town and just hanging out. Its real dumb. The story never gives her a greater meaning for being there. Remember “Revelations” back in season three? When Ms. Post showed up for the first (and only) time? She would have been stupid had she shown up, tried to train Faith, failed, and then left. No, the writing on the show put her there so she could either be a problem or a solution, not just a random character added to the mix to have another voice present. Sometimes the show gets this wrong (see the inclusion of two lame ass students in “Some Assembly Required” for instance), but here, the comics do it so wrong, the show never seems to be anything but right.

And then the art is bad. Cordelia, in that last page looks more like Fred from Angel’s show. And, guess what? That might actually be Willow. I can’t even tell the difference. I know its pretty shallow of me to harp on this every time, but the fact that these characters never look like their TV show counterparts is often disappointing. Even in the season eight comics they much this up fairly routinely, but I’ll get there… eventually. Here, though, the art falters time and again, and this sure as hell wouldn’t be as bad as it is if the story was better. Which is isn’t (points for GWAR reference, however).

The introduction of Lilith and Lamia as two ancient vampires is a neat deal. Lilith is actually kind of a legend a biblical vampire of note in mythology. Like, actual mythology. But the way she is handled is here is pathetic and uninteresting. Remember the demons back in “Stake to the Heart” and how I’d mentioned that they were interesting, well developed, and handled in a productive manner? Not so, here. While those demons served a narrative purpose – much like the demons on the show, mind you – here these two seem like nothing more than annoying and over-the-top inconveniences than anything else. Not good enough.

peh

I should be a touch more fair, though; this is the first Buffy comic. I mean the first one, ever. It was only ever produced in graphic novel form (meaning that it was only produced in a bound collection) and then collected in the second Omnibus Dark Horse put out a few years back. So they were finding their legs, getting their stuff together, and learning how to tell Buffy’s stories on the page rather than on the screen. That’s all well and good. But I wish they’d learned some stuff from this. I mean, read this, then read “Ring of Fire” or anySpike & Dru” comic and tell me they improved on this. I dare you.

Seriously. I dare you.

Overall Opinion: No, I seriously dare you.

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