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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Remaining Sunlight Paperback – 1 Apr 1999
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"The Remaining Sunlight," written by Andi Watson, is the first collection from the Dark Horse series featuring everyone's favorite Calfornia slayer. Unfortunately, Watson -- who I already know did better work further along in the series -- had not yet hit her stride with this book. The dialogue fizzles, sounding little like the characters we know and love from TV. Pacing is awkward and plots are dull. And the action scenes, which look so effortless on the small screen, are uninspired and unexciting.
"The Remaining Sunlight" begins with "Wu-Tang Fang," in which Xander strives to learn martial arts just as a martial-arts devoted vampire comes to Sunnydale looking for worthy opponents. "Halloween," which introduces the villain Selke, is another tired look at the holiday when vampires sleep in -- in this case, with Willow and a few other people in the basement for snacks. In "Cold Turkey," Buffy tries to go shopping for a Thanksgiving feast while Selke seeks her revenge. "MacGuffins," a bonus tale by J.L. Van Meter, is a pointless attempt at being cute, in which Giles sends Buffy a pair of annoying gremlins to test her problem-solving abilities.
Plots are developed and resolved far too quickly to generate much interest. Fortunately, I peeked ahead and can assure you the series does get better.
by Tom Knapp, Rambles.(n e t) editor
The first three issues of the ongoing series (collected here) were all written by Andi Watson and penciled by Joe Bennet. Wu-Tang Fang (issue #1) opens the series as an ancient Chinese vampire comes to Sunnydale in search of a worthy opponent. Meanwhile, Xander begins taking karate lessons because he’s tired of being pushed around by bullies and bloodsuckers. Given the relationships still in place here and the lack of Faith (not to mention the publication date), I’m sticking this tale in the increasingly-populated gap between Buffy S03E02: Dead Man’s Party and Buffy S03E03: Faith, Hope & Trick. Plus, if we assume Stinger happens just before this tale, it lends extra meaning to Buffy’s comment about bullies messing with Xander. Then Halloween (issue #2) has come again, and this time the bloodsuckers are staying true to character and staying in for a movie marathon. Unfortunately, they grabbed Willow first to serve as their snack break when the time comes. Based on broadcast dates, this falls between Buffy S03E04: Beauty And The Beasts and Buffy S03E05: Homecoming. Faith is still nowhere to be seen, but oh well. In due time Thanksgiving comes along in Cold Turkey (issue #3) as Buffy is stalked by a vampire with a grudge…and has to deal with last-minute grocery shoppers to boot! Given the broadcast schedule, this is set between Buffy S03E07: Revelations and Buffy S03E08: Lover’s Walk. The writing for these is every bit as excellent as you would expect, and everyone most certainly sounds like themselves. The art….well, Buffy looks right, and Giles is mostly ok, but I’m increasingly of the opinion that there are few artists who can get Xander to look right. I mean, this was better than some I’ve seen, but still not Dark Horse good. Oz, Willow, and Cordelia fared slightly better, but Principal Snyder didn’t look at all right, at least in his first appearance–if I didn’t know better, I’d say he was away and someone else was filling in for him. Seeing Xander dressed as Gary Oldman’s version of Dracula for Halloween, valentine-hair and all, somewhat made up for this though. The art did improve each issue though, and the vampires actually watching the 1992 Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie? I literally laughed out loud when I realized what was showing. I think Joe Bennett was actually just about to find his groove for the look of the supporting cast, but for whatever reason he was replaced after these three issues.
As a bonus, this volume includes the story MacGuffins from Dark Horse Presents Annual ’98, written by Jen Van Meter and penciled by Luke Ross, set during Buffy’s summer vacation between the first two seasons. Buffy thinks she has a pest problem with the house flies infesting her dad’s apartment, but she hasn’t seen anything yet…. A fun, short little story with stronger art than most of this early Buffy material can boast. I enjoyed it.
CONTENT: Mild profanity. Vampire violence, a bit bloody at times. No real sexual content aside from a couple scantily-clad vampire vixens. As I’ve mentioned before, Buffyverse vampires could be considered a bit occultic since they are partially demons.
'The Remaining Sunlight' is a collection of the first three Buffy tales to appear in the comic series and an extra tale (possible from an issue of Dark Horse Presents). The tales are based in the Fall of the third season. Much of the early artwork in this series comes from the pencil and pen of Joe Bennett and Rick Ketcham, who together have a very crisp and balanced style. Add in the writing of Andi Watson and you have a attractive combination.
Wu-Tang Fang - Buffy and the gang run into some kung fu vampires on the way to the Bronze and are threatened by a shadowy figure in a straw hat. A vampire is eating the black belts of Sunnydale.
Halloween - On the night before Halloween Willow vanishes. Could some party vamps have picked her up for an appetizer?
Cold Turkey - Buffy has to do Thanksgiving shopping and a vengeful fang-face decides that stuffed slayer is the perfect holiday dinner.
MacGuffins - Buffy gets a present from Giles - a test in the shape of two troublemaking green critters (this story is by J.L. Van Meter with pencilwork by Luke Ross).