Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Haunted”
Dark Horse Comics – Sept 11, 2002
Writers: Jane Espensen
Artists: Cliff Richards, Julio Ferreira
Editor: Scott Allie

OK. Well, I’m back. I’ve been waiting for this fifth Omnibus to show up because it contained this story, one that bridges the gap between the third and fourth seasons. And it… doesn’t disappoint. I know, I know… I hate Buffy comics. No one knows this more than I do, I mean… read any of these fucking things. You’ll be right there with me. But this one? This one is a winner.

The number one reason for this is because of the writing. Jane Espensen is one of the staff for the show, meaning she’s had to deal with these characters for at least the entirety of season three, so she knows these peeps. Her control over Faith, Buffy, and – of course – The Mayor, is admirable. And its the closest to feeling like canon that the comics ever get, dealing with stuff that happens at the end of the season three and the start of season four. This includes Xander’s cross-country trip, Angel and Cordelia leaving, and the fears Buffy has that she’s going through a kind of withdrawal after having spent herself entirely on the battle on Graduation Day.

Everything here is pretty simple, as far as the core characters are concerned. But the real deal is Mayor Wilkins learning how to possess dead things. He starts small, with a dead bird, and eventually is taking over vampires and some demon that The Initiative carves up. Oh, yeah, this comic handles “introducing” the military force under the college very well, and also showcases how Adam – season four’s “big bad” – comes to be so wrecked up. Its a nice touch, one that would be lost to anyone that hasn’t seen the show, but is fun for those of us that have.

“Haunted” has the lucky position of being my first foray back into the Buffyverse in nearly half a month, though. Maybe with time, this thing would represent itself as a real pile. But, as it stands, its the best handled, best written, and best drawn comic in any of the Buffy comics to date. Can’t wait to read more of this shit (and the “Angel” omnibus stuff) to be reminded of how horrible it all is.

Bottom Line: I can support the ever-living shit out of this.