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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Omnibus Volume 5: v. 5 Paperback – 2 Sep 2008
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In Amazon 5 star rating system I would rate individual stories like this:
2/5 Take Back the Night
2/5 Killing Time
3/5 The Blood of Carthage
4/5 The Heart of a Slayer
2/5 Cemetery of Lost love
"Unless you're a completist with oodles and oodles of cash, this is the way to go if you want to collect the older Buffy comics. Before this, they have been collected (for the most part) into smaller trade paperbacks, each of which cost almost as much as this volume. Now, before I get into my review, let me explain the omnibus series, as I've seen a lot of people misunderstanding.when talking about it on message boards: This is not the only omnibus. There are to be seven of them all together, collection Dark Horse's original run of the Buffy comics."
Now, on with the review. I don't blame those who have given up on the omnibus series because, admittedly, the last two have been weak. Volume 3 and Volume 4 were dominated by the weak, nearly unreadable writing of Andi Watson, and the art wasn't much better. But those who decided to stick it out and give this series one last chance won't be surprised, because Watson is gone baby gone, and this is probably the best volume of the series.
It starts with HAUNTED, a tale by Jane Espenson that bridges the third and fourth seasons of the show. It's a great time with a lot of story opportunities, and Espenson handled it wonderfully. This is definitely the crown jewel of this collection (all of which is set during Season Four), and will be a great surprise to those who were worried this book would start off with the same low quality as the last two. Next up is TAKE BACK THE NIGHT, a mediocre short story that doesn't impress much at all. Another one shot, this one called KILLING TIME, follows. It's written by another writer from the show, Doug Petrie, who does a fair job, though not nearly as good as Espenson.
The five issue arc BLOOD OF CARTHAGE, written by Buffy novelist Christopher Golden comes after that. It's an extreme step up from the two one-shots, and is nearly as good as HAUNTED. I couldn't believe how well Golden, who I am usually wary of, handled the characters. He did try to stuff a bit too much in, especially with the Lucy Hanover stuff, but this was a really nice surprise. The next two stories, which originally formed the BUFFY: AUTUMNAL volume are short and snappy, and for the most part good. The first, HEART OF A SLAYER, also suffers from being too obvious with its supposed twist, but the second story, CEMETERY OF LOST LOVE, is good enough to make up for it.
The volume closes with another tale from Christopher Golden, the three part OZ miniseries, which details Oz's journey between "Wild at Heart" and "New Moon Rising." I might have idealized Golden's writing in my head after being so wonderfully surprised by BLOOD OF CARTHAGE, because this story did let me down a bit. What I think happened was that Golden got too excited about what was going on in the setting he threw Oz into and the other characters and spent too much time focusing on plot and too little on Oz's character. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is often considered one of the greatest shows of all time because of it's character driven nature, and I think Golden might have stumbled on that a bit in OZ.
Overall, this was the most consistently good read. Highlights are definitely Haunted, Blood of Carthage, and Cemetery of Love, but pretty much every story here is a few steps about the stuff we got in the last few volumes.