Buffy: Past Lives

Past LivesThe latest Buffy trade that I’ve read. This was the first (and I believe only) ‘major’ crossover between the Buffy comic and the Angel comic. It involved 2 issues of the Angel series and 2 of the Buffy series. Overall, I have to say I was pretty pleased with the outcome (a lot more so than the crossovers that took place in the tv shows) and I think they should’ve done more with this.

The writers on this trade are Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski. The artists are Christian Zanier and Cliff Richards. Cliff Richards is fairly familiar from his work as the regular artists on the Buffy comics. Zanier was new to me, and I have to confess…he’s somewhat cheesecakey. In fact I’m surprised I haven’t seen his work in more books from major publishers. He just seems like the type that would be regularly employed on books featuring female characters. Anyway, Christopher Golden wrote an introduction to the trade that was very informative so I thought I’d start off by commenting on it.

In his intro, Golden explained how it was very difficult for the tv shows to properly crossover and how he wanted to do a real crossover in the comics where he could get away with doing pretty much anything. He also explained how he now had the chance to come up with brand new monsters that looked far more…interesting…than the tv shows’ budget allowed them to get away with. I have to say the designs were fairly striking but the cheesecakey and early-Image aspect of Zanier’s art just didn’t do anything for me. I would probably have preferred it if Richards had drawn more of them. I also liked the background info on how Golden came up with the flashback sequence dealing with Angel’s unsavoury past. Although it strikes me as kind of funny that the comic/media companies would have trouble with printing a comic where Angel was the villain since well…he was a bloodsucking evil fiend for most of his existence! It’s part of the show’s history…why try to hide it?

Moving on to the actual story…let’s see…I really liked the way Angel’s past came back to haunt him through a character from Giles’ past. It felt like it was a leftover story from the actual shows rather than something intended for an entirely separate medium. I also enjoyed the role of the Watchers Council. The comics have never really dealt with them because by the time they started the show had already moved on from that plot point, so it was nice to see it in comic form. Awesome scene with the scoobies coming to L.A. too. I wish they had managed something like this in the show. Regardless of how they ended, Cordelia and Xander did care about each other so I don’t think it would’ve been too hard to believe that this could happen on the tv show. But I can understand the difficulty in manipulating the schedules of two tv series so ok. Buffy’s role, I felt, was almost incidental in this arc. This was essentially an Angel story and Buffy was the guest star…which was kinda cool but I can imagine that people who read this in singles were probably pretty pissed off.

As for continuity…this was obviously set during Buffy season 4. There was no Dawn present and Riley and Tara were clearly prominent. Oz was nowhere to be  seen so obviously this took place after ‘The Initiative’ and I don’t think Willow and Tara were sleeping together yet…so this falls somewhere between 4×07 and 4×19 (‘New Moon Rising’) since I think that was the first episode that really hit on that…could be wrong of course. In terms of Angel continuity, this arc could take place anywhere after ‘Parting Gifts’ or 1×10. This makes me realize how little actually happened in Angel : Season 1. Interesting…

That’s it for this trade. I’m really late with Butt-Shots aren’t I? Keep forgetting to do it…should maybe get to it sometime mid-week. We’ll see. Have a lot of pending posts now…whatever comes up is anyone’s guess.

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