Set the summer after season 3 and also season 4.
Overall, this wasn't bad. One story I heart so much, and we will come to that, and others that are fairly enjoyable.
First up is Haunted. The Mayor has become a disembodied spirit and starts taking over dead bodies in order to haunt Buffy and kill her. Of course. She injured his Faith. The writer has captured his voice surprisingly well, so even before he introduces himself you know it's the Mayor. I've always found him an interesting character.
He is evil, obviously, but he also has old fashioned standards. He doesn't put up with Faith being rude, he likes manners and cleanliness and he wants the young around him to learn and be educated and fill their minds. He loves Faith. Really loves her. He may be immoral but he is (not yet) inhuman. He just so happens to also want to be turned into a giant demon so he gain lots of power. For the non Buffy fans out there, this may seem familiar, maybe it's been done before. If it has, fine, but the particular execution of this character within Buffy is pretty unique. Mayor Wilkins has his own flavour.
There's some great bits in this story where the Mayor takes over a dead crow and investigates other bodies. Buffy has to deal with regular humans coming to her for advice on how to cope with death. She also has to deal with prophetic dreams involving Faith and their relationship with each other. We see the initiative for the first time and learn the origins of Adam. I loathe the initiative, but this made me care more. So, I say good job.
We'll come to Take Back the Night at the end.
Killing Time is about soriety girls initiating the new girl into the group by summoning Ragginor the Destructor. Therets some cute dialogue and the demon is dispatched. Now, I can't work out if Buffy is particularly bright or just average. Historically, I think Slayers generally rely on their strength rather than their cunning, and Buffy has no time to do academic study, which is the reason she fails her classes. She did get a higher grade than Willow once, which is pretty darn good, but in season 7 Willow tells Kennedy that Buffy is "a sweet girl, but not so bright". She does think 'outside the box' (hate the phrase), and she does use her surroundings, assets and friends to best advantage, but I can't work out if she's clever or not. What do y'all think?
Next is The Blood of Carthage'. This is good. It has lots of flashbacks to Willow and Xander's childhood, the art in which is adorable. Willow is revealed to be far braver than previously thought and saved Xander's life when they were little. In the present day, things get misunderstood, mistakes are made and the apocalypse has to be averted again. At the start of the story Buffy feels out of sync with college life, she's totally apathetic. By the end she's got her motivation back. There are also Spike and Dru flashbacks and thousand year old Romans. And a ghost slayer. Which is awesome - I love other slayer stories.
One of the bad things about the story is the 2 vampire twins dressed in spandex. Awful superhero costumes shouldn't be allowed near the Buffyverse. It's demeaning, disrespectful and completely out of place.
The Heart of a Slayer features yet another slayer! Oh, how they spoil me. This is an eleventh century armoured slayer chasing a demon through time. I cannot give away any more or it will spoil it, so just believe me when I say that this story is fantastic. It adds more to the slayer mythology, it adds depth to Buffy's character and Giles' role as Buffy's Watcher and it complicates the relationship between them.
Cemetary of Lost Love has Baron Samedi.and a quite effective skeleton outfit.
Oz is about what Oz got up to in the himialyas, learnign to control the beast. The art doesn't look like Oz but he does have a flame haired lady friend on his travels, who is mostly cool, apart from the abundant breasts. There's a twist I didn't see coming. It's not a bad story.
Now, Take Back the Night. Oh I heart this! There's horrible frat boys leching on the women and declaring them lesbians when they don't respond. There is Maggie Walsh compering a Reclaim the Night rally! She declares, and I quote:
'Rape is an act of violence and power. Never of sex...Together we will show these beasts that the night belongs to us'.
Damn right! How often do you see popular culture actually getting this right? How often do you see the media stating that rape is about power, and not sex? Fuck all is how often. I am so pleased that the comic stated this. The more people that understand this, the closer we will be to stopping it.
Then there is some demon fighting, and Buffy kills the demon, while army boys are a bit frazzled I might add, and the last panel is this:
Oh she is my hero! Isn't one of the appeals of Buffy, that she's an ordinary slip of a girl but she's not threatened by anybody and she can't beat anyone up? That just cause we're female doens't mean we have to be at threat of attack by the rest of the world? This is one of the few popular culture things which has women taking care of themselves. We're not delicate, we don't get attacked as soon as we step outside of our house, and we're not gonna be framed as victims anymore, dammit.
Heart heart HEART!!