Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales" Review

The Dark Horse hardcover release "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales" is something of a strange book. It's got a cover by a Season 8 artist, depicting three characters -- Buffy, Spike and Angel -- who rarely fought together and barely appear in the book's 300 pages. It's mostly old material, in some cases material that's almost a decade old, but it comes with a $30 price tag. It's a massive tome, but it shifts styles -- both visual and storytelling -- seemingly every few pages.

And I think, when it comes down to it, it's a must-own book for fans of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" comics.

Again, I think the point that needs to be made most clear is that despite her prominent presence on the cover, this is not a book about Buffy Summers herself. She appears scattered throughout the stories, but she's not the focal point, so if you're unfamiliar with the material being re-printed in this collection, you should know that.

As for what is reprinted in this collection, here's the rundown, taken directly from the inside of this weighty collection:

  • "Tales of the Slayers" TBP
  • "Tales of the Slayers - Broken Bottle of Djinn" one-shot
  • "Tales of the Vampires" TPB
  • "Tales of the Vampires: Season Eight" one-shot
  • "Carpe Noctem" from MySpace DHP
That's a lot for one collection, which goes a long way toward justifying the $30 price tag. I think there are going to be a lot of fans out there like me, fans who already have both of the previous "Tales" TBPs and wonder if this is worth getting too, and I think it is. The whole package, from cover to cover, is really stunning in person, and the artwork pops on the oversized pages. Also, as a personal aside, I've been getting my "Tales of the Slayers" and "Tales of the Vampires" trades signed by as many creators as possible in recent years, so I haven't been able to take them out to read and enjoy them. Now I've got a better way to enjoy all the Buffy-universe related stories without damaging the signatures. 

I think at first blush, a lot of people will look at the $30 price tag and think that's a lot of money to pay for what is primarily old material, but the material holds up years later, and this collection is as impressive as anything we've seem from Dark Horse for the Buffy property. 

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