I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc. And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.
I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the late 90's with my mom. We'd seen the movie back in the day and as I kid I loved the idea that a normal girl could one day become a Slayer, an ass-kicking hero. I found it empowering. Later I watched the television show by Joss Whedon, though I didn't know or care who he was at the time. I stopped watching only two or three seasons into the show, but Buffy has always stuck with me, maybe part of my DIY personality.
Now, Whedon has tried to re-enter that world, but far into the future. Apparently, Buffy had at one point completely closed the access between our world and the demon world, pushing vampires to the point of extinction, so for many years those women who possessed the powers of the Slayer were not called, the threat had passed.
Now, 100s of years later the threat returns and with it a new Slayer must be called to perform her duty. Melaka Fray has always been good at things. Her strength, senses, acrobatic ability and general hard-to-killness, have put her at the top of her game. She's a 'grabber.' A thief for hire. She hates the Lurks, gray skinned ghouls that live beneath the city. One of them killed her brother right in front of her and she bears the guilt of not only failing to save him, but putting him into danger in the first place. He was her twin after all. (Dun dun dun.)
What made Buffy work? According to J. Scott Campbell it's simple, "Pretty girls and monsters." Well, Melaka is pretty. Despite the fact that she's pretty much constantly being beaten up from page one to the final scene her face remains as pretty as a picture and despite the forces of gravity her shred of t-shirt stays just in place covering her bra-less chest. Whether falling from a great height or floating face down in sewage Melaka retains her flawless complexion (except for one modest scar just to show she's a badass).
I get it. We want an attractive protagonist. We like our eye-candy. But, what the heck was with Melaka's outfits? The 90's called, they said you can keep their arm-warmers, since they were never cool. And the belly button shirts. This comic dates itself right from the start, it's like it's being published at the same time Buffy started airing on television! Every aspect of Melaka's character design smacks of the late '90s, even her tat. Also, why can't Melaka have some flipping muscle tone?
What worked in Buffy for me? It wasn't the fact that the actresses that portrayed Buffy were hot, it was that they were women. They didn't let their gender stop them from being the heroes of the story and they didn't let gender come into it when they defeated the baddies and saved other male characters from certain death. Sure there is the fact that the Watchers who trained the Slayers were dudes, which is annoying, but wasn't something I really noticed as a kid. Women on the front lines, men sitting cush with their higher pay, typical.
As for the story? Predictable and boring.
Will I return for more vampire ass kicking adventures? No, I'll pass.