Or – “So Very, Very, VERY Late…”

Unlucky Thirteen…  I want to say that this comic came out last Wednesday, but there’s a chance that it was the week before that.  However, being as it’s Buffy, I wanted to touch on it for all the Buffy fans out there in Spoiler-ville, and also as an avowed fan of Xander Harris.  As the one character in the Buffy universe who never really had a superpower (unless you count the time he had an actual job in Season Six) Xan is the most relatable of the Scoobies for me, and also the one whom I have most in common with.  My best friend in high school didn’t have super-strength, but she was a smokin’ hottie who didn’t realize my crush on her…  Meeeemooorriiiiiiies.

Previously, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 8:  Buffy formed an army.  Buffy knocked over a Swiss bank.  Willow kept her girlfriend away from Buffy.  Dawn slept with a schmuck and ended up as a giant.  The Slayers took over a Scottish castle on the moors.  Giles went underground.  Faith went with him.  Kennedy is annoying.  New slayer Renee likes Xander.  Xander is emulating Nick Fury (except he’s not a Skrull  ((OR IS HE???  (((Don’t you hate it when you get trapped in triple parentheses?  ((((I know I do!))))  Thanks for the backup…)))  No problem…))  Okay, then…)  Andrew is still being Andrew.  And a conspiracy has arisen against the slayers, stretching from the lowliest skinless goon to the highest generals in the United States Army to at least one pseudo-Kryptonian.  Last time around, the castle was under siege from a pack of wolves who turned out to be shape-shifting vampires, who then stole Buffy’s ceremonial scythe of Slayery power.  Since the only vampire known to be able to shape-shift in that fashion is the legendary Dracula, Buffy has sent an envoy to find out if there’s a connection.  Unfortunately, that envoy is Xander, who still “acts weird” in the presence of the legendary Vlad whatsisface…

 We start fifteen minutes before the end of last issue with Dracula, showing every year, every misdeed on his heavily lined face, his hair gone white, and a very Howard Hughes beard going on.  Big D is living an empty, drunken existence, and his servants are very much concerned.  “You rarely leave this room,” entreats Butterfield, his majordomo, “you spend your time stumbling about in a liquor-drenched oblivion, you haven’t killed so much as a peasant in months…”  Heh.  Dracula shrugs off the concern, until he sees a helicopter approaching.  Dracula suddenly demands his razor, and we cut to the last line of last issue, as Dracula confronts Xander and Renee in full goth regalia…  “Yes, manservant, what is it?”

There’s an awkward moment where Drac mistakes the dark-skinned Renee as (apparently) Xander’s property, and Renee realizes what Xan meant when he said he acted differently around Dracula.  “If I know my manservant,” purrs the lord of the vampires, “he could use a plate of hot mealworms before he changes into his manservant bloomers.”  Xander tries to get her to go away, but Renee isn’t leaving him alone with a vampire jerk.  Speaking of vampire jerks, halfway around something or other, Andrew is teaching a class of slayers about Dracula.  Hilariously, the last point on the chalkboard reads “Romantic Undertones (technically not a power).”  Also funny, the fact that he’s wearing George Hamilton’s costume from “Love at First Bite.”  After this quick aside, we see Buffy preparing to head for Tokyo to assault the vamps who took her weapon, and preparing ALL her troops for battle.  Satsu tries to question the wisdom of this move, but Buffy quickly cuts her off.  “I gave you an order.  Get moving.”

Xander and Dracula, for their part, are having a very “ex-who-has-moved-on” moment, as they discuss Drac’s new manservant (“Truly, I’ve never been happier…”) and Xander’s new look (“You’ve lost weight…”) before Renee’s patience breaks.  She tells him that a group of vampires have been using his abilities, even intimating that Dracula is working with the vampires before Dracula starts his dramatic stalk off.  “These powers you speak of…  They’re part of the ancient magics.  I risked my very SOUL to attain them.  I am their worldly guardian.  The very idea that some two-bit, run-of-the-mill vampires could just come along and take them…  Oh, balls…  These vampires you speak of…  They wouldn’t happen to be Orientals, would they?”  Heh.  I don’t know why that’s funny, but it ranks right up there with Doctor Doom’s “fat piece of furniture” rant to Ms. Marvel.

While Buffy’s Tokyo agent closes in on the vampire clan, Dracula explains that he lost his powers gambling…  for a motorcycle.  He curses the asians as “yellow swine” (“I really don’t remember you being this racist,” comments Xander) and takes up his sword.  “I loathe Buffy SUmmers, her whole army makes me want to retch, and I’d just as soon see them wiped off the map once and for all.  However…  NOBODY steals from DRACULA.”  On a transport plane to Japan, Satsu and Willow commisserate over Buffy’s brooding isolation routine.  “She’s the general.  We’re the army.  And that’s never gonna change.”  Willow gently chides that Buffy isn’t gay, and Satsu understands, wistfully wishing it were different.  “Good,” says Willow. “Now.  What’s she like in the sack?”  HA!  I love it.  “Did she make that high-pitched squeak?  I call it her ‘shoe-sale noise…’ “  Willow is naughty.  That is HOT.  While in Tokyo, the vampires catch and kill Buffy’s Slayerette, with the help of the Scythe, and get ready to take their show on the road…

It’s an interesting issue, touching on some of the more outre concepts of the Buffyverse (Xander’s position as Dracula’s “butt-monkey”) while also poking holes in the self-conceits of Japan-o-philes, the whole goth “let’s pretend we’re dead” routine, and the entertaining thought of a vampire losing his powers while trying to win a sweet little crotch-rocket.  Willow’s moment with Satsu is cute, and I can absolutely hear Allyson Hannygyn (or however one spells it) reading the lines in my head.  It’s not the strongest issue of Buffy to date, but it’s still an excellent book, and gets it’s job done in impressive fashion for 3.5 out of 5 stars.  It will be interesting to see how, if at all, the Lord of the Vampires and the General of the Slayers coexist in battle…



The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. ~wyntermute~
    April 26, 2008 at 10:54 pm — Reply

    (except he’s not a Skrull ((OR IS HE??? (((Don’t you hate it when you get trapped in triple parentheses? ((((I know I do!)))) Thanks for the backup…))) No problem…)) Okay, then…)

    That was so funny that i re-read it three times to make sure you closed all the brackets while i was spewing (brand of cola — i won’t plug anybody for free, dammit) out of my nose. Man, that’s how my brain actually operates. I didn’t know there were so many parenthetical thinkers out there.

    Furthermore, i wish that more comics could capture the spirit of comics as well as this tv-show-turned-comic does… it’s basically a slice of life, provided your life has all those things like vampires and changelings and Xanders.

  2. ~wyntermute~
    April 26, 2008 at 10:55 pm — Reply

    aw (bleep)! i messed up my italics tags. F- in html for me, i guess. :(

  3. Baal
    April 27, 2008 at 7:27 am — Reply

    Pepsi One.

    (I will)

  4. April 27, 2008 at 9:31 am — Reply

    aw (bleep)! i messed up my italics tags. F- in html for me, i guess. :(

    Looks fine to me, with my ability to edit comments, he said significantly, nudge nudge, knowwhatImean? Eh? Eh?

    That was so funny that i re-read it three times to make sure you closed all the brackets while i was spewing (brand of cola — i won’t plug anybody for free, dammit) out of my nose. Man, that’s how my brain actually operates. I didn’t know there were so many parenthetical thinkers out there.

    If you’ve listened to our Major Spoilers Podcasts over the last couple of weeks,(and if you haven’t, why not? They’re all located here: ) you’ll find that I don’t just think and write like that, I essentially talk that way, too. We’re pretty much all bozos on this bus.

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