Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Wu Tang Fang”
Dark Horse Comics – September 1998
Writers: Andi Watson
Artists: Guy Major, Joe Bennett, Rick Ketcham
Editor: Scott Allie

I’ve come to a crossroads, suddenly. The lovely Scott Allie, constant editor for all Buffy comics, states in his opening forward in every Omnibus that the comics get made non-canon by the show at every turn around, that it was impossible to work with the show staff on a timeline because they couldn’t reveal what was going to happen week-to-week, and that by the time they’d written an issue, drawn and inked it, and published it, someone had either died, changed sides, or come back to life on the show making their story cease to function as part of the continuity. With this kind of pressure, it would be hard for anyone to write consistently entertaining or engaging stories for a comic, and I should respect that when I review these horrid, horrid things. So I will.

With that mentality, “Wu Tang Fang” still blows too many chunks to count. The story is drivel, the art inconsistent, and the information pulled from the show is lacking. I’ll forgive some things not following the narrative of the show. It’d be easy to just allow the comics universe to be its own, similar thing, while the show is the real deal (think standard Marvel Universe vs the Ultimate Marvel Universe, for example), but when The Bronze is seen in its normal fashion in one comic and then suddenly becomes a giant night club you’d find in downtown L.A. and Buffy and her friends walk out seemingly inebriated, it just doesn’t cut the mustard.

The story is that Xander feels inadequate. I don’t know when in relation to “The Zeppo” this episode takes place, but I know its in the third season based on the collection it is featured in, but there is no mention of Faith or The Mayor so it can’t be too far in. This issue should probably have been read before that episode, though, because as far as Xander is concerned, the plot is the same (that’s him in the cloud of smoke up above in that picture. PS: it doesn’t look like him at all). Only this time he tries his hand at karate or kung fu or some such thing.

Meanwhile, there is some giant, straw-hat demon that wants to simply fight martial artists and does so, killing as he goes. He’s pretty dumb and as one-note as they come, but that hasn’t stopped a Buffy comic before, now has it?

I think the artists meant for these bad guys to be vampires, but they are taken to the extreme, liberty-wise, being more feral and bat-like, kind of like how they were drawn in “The Origin” which, if you remember, I wasn’t really in favor of at all. Again, one of those things that, if they would have just stuck to it, I would have accepted because its the comic universe, but the lack of consistency really means they drop the ball. Hard.

In the end, there is no moment of great depth, no interesting lesson learned, and no point to the damned comic. Its worthless. Throw-away filler. But it was slightly entertaining. Enough to fill the gap between episodes. For, like, five seconds.

Overall Opinion: Not the worst “BtVS” comic, but that isn’t saying much.