Doug Petrie wrote some of the best episodes of “Buffy” including “This Year’s Girl” “End of Days” and the unforgettable Faith-centric episodes of the third season. He’s also written Buffy comics for Dark Horse in the past so I was pretty confident he would deliver a good story this month.
Even though this comic focuses on finally wrapping up the subplot of Dawn’s magical transformations, this one-shot doesn’t advance the Twilight subplot, nor any of the major story elements as the comic book is coming to the end of season 8’s projected 40 issue run. This would be OK with me because the show was structured pretty similarly with stand alone episodes which served as breathers to the main drama intensifying in the main portions of the season, except this was the fifth stand-alone story in a row! The natives are getting restless and talks of dropping the book have started to crop up on some internet boards. Despite this, Buffy and Dark Horse continue to consistently crack the top 10 in sales along with the big two.
As far as stand-alone issues go, this was a pretty good one. Only Buffy could get away with such creepy and unusual story elements such as the Thricewise demon and the tiny porcelain people.
There are some funny story bits in the comic, as usual Xander gets the best lines, but somehow they don’t pack the usual wallop that the writing had been infused with up to this point or in the early issues. Maybe it has something to do with Joss writing the characters he knows so well, or maybe the luster of having Buffy in a new medium has worn off a little, it’s hard to say, but most likely it’s just the aftermath of a good one-shot that is more than filler, a well crafted comic that’s also a good interlude to the impending resolution of the season 8 storyline. The comic’s main flaw seems to be in a rushed conclusion which wraps up to conveniently quickly for my taste.
Whatever the case, the artwork by Georges Jeanty continues to superbly complement whichever writer is on the book each month. This comic was so much better than the inconsistent Harmony issues which came before it, but it would be nice to see some old characters return.