Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “The Blood of Carthage”
Dark Horse Comics – May 2000-Sept. 2000
Writer: Christopher Golden
Artist(s): Cliff Richards, Chynna Clugston-Major, Paul Lee, Brian Horton, Joe Pimentel, and Guy Major
Editor: Scott Allie

2549881-bvs_24art_2000

I absolutely don’t know where to start with this one. “Carthage” has everything including the kitchen sink, guys. Like, seriously. Here we have a story that is told through five issues, making it long enough to be its own graphic novel (it has been previously collected as such). And, if I’m being honest? It’s fairly well told. The short version is this: the local myth, Mad Jack, is a creature that has taken on a Bigfoot-like status of being a legend, and Buffy slays him. Turns out, he was part of an ancient spell, as far back as Roman times, to hold in a big nasty demon that other demons feared. Because of this, Vraka, the head of an order of said demons sharing the name of the comics’ title, comes to Sunnydale to exact vengeance on Buffy and her pals, as well as reseal the big bad before it destroys the world.

The ends with all the demons, Buffy and the Scoobies, and even Spike teaming up for a finale with some other cameos thrown in for… good(?) measure. And it ends on a rather satisfying note, with lessons learned, characters developed, and an interesting story tied up neatly, something Buffy comics have failed to achieve regularly. Even the art is consistently of decent-to-high quality, with different time periods being shown in different art styles (Willow and Xander’s past is like a cartoon, the Roman times are more ancient and pencil-y looking, etc.).

1122261

So where is the problem with this? Remember when I said it had a ton of cameos? Well. It does. And these cameos are fast, furious, and unbelievably stupid and bold. The first cameos are a pair of people whom I assume are from “White Christmas”, a comic so unbelievably bad that I am not willing to look into it to verify these two are from that comic, at all. And then it gets worse. They bring back the surviving member from this shit. Why? Just for laughs? He dies in part 2 (SPOILER ALERT. Though, if you are planning on reading this, I feel so bad for you). Other characters pop in randomly, demons, other humans, and even some old Slayer from this thing I’ve never heard of (which, guess what I’m posting a review of, next?) shows up, though she’s… a ghost? I dunno. I think there were some books I missed? Which, oh boy.

It is so reliant on these things and, while inherently this isn’t bad, the things it references ARE bad. I don’t understand why someone would want to force me to remember these stupid, awful things. Maybe to showcase that nostalgia is a double-edged sword? Good with the bad? Hm. I don’t know. I just know I’m glad its over, which is a shame, because without those things, “Blood of Carthage” would have been a solid read. And it might still be. Of all the comics I’ve ever read with the “BtVS” logo, this is on the list of those that I’d recommend. Just, if you’re lost on who these characters are, don’t worry. None of it matters in the least.

The Things I Do For Money: Wait, what do you mean I’m not getting paid for any of this?!

Advertisements