Or – “Sigh…Â Faaaaith.Â Mi Querida, Mi Amor…Â What Do You Mean ‘Restraining Order’?”
An episode of ‘Friends’ some years ago supposed the existence of “The List,” a grouping of five celebrities/public figures whom you would be allowed to have a dalliance with, regardless of what your significant other had to say about the situation.Â My list of five would so very much include Eliza “Faith” Dushku, presuming that she would have any interest in a 40ish comic nerd, and thus this issue holds special meaning for me, like the first time you hear the Beatles…Â
(My other four celebrities, in no particular order, would be: Ming Na, Tracie Thoms, Rosario Dawson, Tina Fey and alternate Janeane Garofalo.)
Previously, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer:Â Buffy and her band of merrie slayers had taken up residence in a Scottish castle, where they attempted to create their own army of Slayers, but attracted the attention of a strange cultish group called “Twilight.”Â Led by a flying man of the same name (who may or may not be someone we know) the group managed to recruit mad witch Amy and skinless frank Warren Mears, who combined scientific and arcane arts into a bomb which took out the Slayer stronghold.Â After a foray into the future (wherein she met Melaka Fray and her best friend Willow plus 200 years or so of wear and tear) Buffy finds herself on the negative side of public opinion after vampire Harmony started her own reality show.Â As the public warms to the idea of the undead walking among us (and lookingÂ faaabulous) Buffy has to take care off some business in Italy, Kennedy has to take care of some business in Japan, and things start to get a little bit weird for everyone, especially those who stab dead things for a livin’…
This issue starts out with the standard Buffy one-panel gag opening, but this one cracks me up.Â A vampire, starting to turn towards the camera, with a stake wedged in his shoulder…Â “Ow.”Â Ha!Â Courtney, the young Slayer who tried to stake him runs away in fear, and the vamp gives chase, only to take another stabbing (this one right on target.)Â “Man…Â they always gotta be so chatty,” says Faith.Â “You’re her…Â You’re BUFFY!!!” cries the slayerette, and Faith replies, “She’s calling me names, G.”Â Rupert Giles steps in, breaking what could have been a fight, and finds that the younger Slayer is considering giving up her calling, and heading for the middle of Europe, to the legendary Slayer Sanctuary, the place where Slayers go when they decide they don’t want to slay anymore.Â They travel by train to Hanselstadt, the city where the Sanctuary is reputed to be, only to find a horde of vampires standing on the outskirts of town, afraid to enter because of the Slayers within.
Giles finds that one of his old friends (Duncan Fillworthe, who seems familiar, but I don’t recall if I remember him from the Buffy TV show or not) is in charge of the place, and wonders what has happened to the girls who supposedly came to retire there.Â Faith and the little slayer girl are taken to the library, and told that their answers will be found within.Â “This really obvious trap feels like a trap,” observes Faith.Â She is suddenly overtaken by the Third, a vampire who is one of the only things she fears.Â Faith fights her old fears while Giles discoveres the truth about the town of Hanselstadt.Â The town houses a demon, a demon who protected the town, so long as they continued to feed it children to eat.Â When they ran out, the town began the rumors of Slayer Sanctuary in order to keep the fresh meat coming.Â He races to find Faith, only to see her and Courtney about to be eaten by the tentacle demon.Â Faith keeps Duncan from killing Giles, only to have the demon consume Duncan instead.Â Faith destroys the creature, and steps out to find night falling in a small town surrounded by hundreds of the undead.Â The town denizens think it’s all over, but Faith does her best work with her back to the wall.Â “You people wanna live?Â Then you FIGHT…Â There’s only one lesson…Â Aim for the heart.”Â We fade to black with Faith, Courtney and Giles leading the townspeople into battle.
This was an interesting issue all around, a really nice one-shot in a series of the same.Â This issue is all about the characterization, with Giles and Faith as a new-fangled Steed and Mrs. Peel, minus the leather outfits (dammit.)Â Writer Jim Krueger has Faith’s “voice” down pat, and the Grimm’s Fairy Tale twist fits the story really well, giving it a nihilistic Faith edge.Â Cliff Richards’ art is nicely handled, especially the Chthulu-esque tentacle creature, and the overall issue is smooth as glass.Â It’s nice to see these kind of updates after a couple of longer arcs, and it looks like this series may be in for a longer haul that we had initially expected.Â Buffy The Vampire Slayer #24 earns 4 out of 5 stars, a well-deserved score for a nice mid-season episode that doesn’t forget the overarching plotline or detract from the drama anywhere else…