Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Bad Blood


By Andi Watson, Joe Bennett, Rick Ketchum & Jim Amash (Dark Horse/Titan Books)
ISBN: 978-1-84023-179-3

Soon after establishing herself as a bona fide media sensation, Buffy the Vampire Slayer won her own monthly comicbook in 1998, with smart, suspenseful, action-packed yarns (in her own her monthly series and fully supplemented by spin-off miniseries and short stories in the company’s showcase anthology Dark Horse Presents) which perfectly complimented the sensational, groundbreaking and so utterly hip TV show.

This slim and sinister compilation (I’m once more featuring the British Titan Books edition and – if you’re asking – these stories are set during TV Season 3) collects the first issues of an extended storyline which found the eclectic teen team battling an honest-to-god arch enemy in the sorry shape of narcissistic vampire Selke, all courtesy of regular creative team Andi Watson, Joe Bennett & Rick Ketchum.

This volume collects issues #9-11 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (May-July 1999) and includes as a bonus a short complete adventure from that March’s Dark Horse Presents #141.

In case you’re a stranger to this dimension: Buffy Summers was a so-simple Valley Girl and teen cheerleader waste of carbon until she inexplicably turned overnight into a monster-killer. She soon discovered – after being contacted by a crusty curmudgeon from a secret society of Watchers – that she was the latest unwilling winner of a mystic, genetic lottery which transformed mortal maids into human killing machines of all things supernatural: Slayers.

Moving to the small California hamlet of Sunnydale, located on the edge of a mystic portal dubbed The Hellmouth, she made a few close friends and with her newest cult-appointed magical mentor Rupert Giles battled devils, demons and every predatory species of terror inexorably drawn to the area…

Following a handy “previously page” and both photo and drawn covers for the following tale, the action resumes with ‘Hey, Good Looking Part I’ as a rare romantic moment with recently restored undead lover Angel in the local cemetery is interrupted by a new type of threat. However this particular monster is too quick to be seen and apparently consumes corpses rather than living flesh…

Meanwhile in a dingy alley the formerly beautiful vampire Selke seethes. Even though her kind cast no reflections, she knows her previous clashes with the Slayer have destroyed not only her strength but also her sublime allure…

Even as Buffy’s mom idly considers cosmetic surgery to bolster her own fading youth, Selke accosts plastic surgeon Dr. Flitter, offering the challenge of a lifetime and unchanging, undead eternal life in return. Obsession with appearances seems to be epidemic in Sunnydale and when Buffy is approached by talent scout Lana she seriously considers her proposal to become a model. If only it doesn’t cut into her Slaying schedule… oh, and school of course…

Whilst Giles had been busy researching the thing that eats cadavers, Mrs. Summers had regained her equilibrium and decided against going under the knife, which was lucky as Flitter has taken up Selke’s offer to restore her. However as his normal procedures don’t work he’s resorting to old books of magic for a solution, and is keeping the impatient nosferatu complacent by feeding her his other clients…

The tale continues in ‘Hey, Good Looking Part II’ as Buffy prepares to battle what Giles calls “Ghouls” and faces a far worse, emotional, battering from the other models on her first day at work. Selke, meanwhile, fooling herself that Flitter’s efforts are working, has tried to recruit vampire allies from the town’s new undead overlord Rouleau and been humiliated.

Later that night as Angel and the Slayer finally eradicate the ghoul gang the furious Selke puts her increasing arcane cosmetologist on warning: succeed soon or die horribly… Issue #11 continues the themes of looks and sexual politics as sleazy musician Todd Dahl hits town with his band and starts looking for hotties to bed.

After the Slayer forcefully turns him down, Todd brags that he has bagged Buffy and goes on to insult and rebuff the more-than-willing teen witch Amy. Soon however the repulsive love-rat is treated to a scary look at the other side of the bed when he suddenly transforms into ‘A Boy Named Sue’

Flitter meanwhile has intercepted a grimoire intended for Giles’ lore library and deduced a way to heal Selke and even hype-up the strength of her own bite-created offspring. Unfortunately, it involves preying upon other vampires to get the raw ingredients…

The direly dangerous process succeeds and a fully restored, deadlier than ever Selke triumphantly puts her plans into play. Soon everyone who ever crossed her will pay and pay and pay in blood and torment…

As well as a cover gallery by Bennett, Jeff Matsuda, John Sibal, Chris Bachalo & Art Thibert, this sleek, slim chronicle also contains an added story bonus. ‘Hello Moon’, written by Daniel Brereton & Christopher Golden, with art by Joe Bennett & Jim Amash (from Dark Horse Presents #141 from March 1999) is a wistful vignette wherein the Slayer attacks a monster on the beach but soon discovers that she has much in common with the troubled fish-man who also bears the weight of unwelcome responsibility for his endangered race. No sooner had these two champions made their peace though than a band of roving vamps attacked…

Engaging, witty, fun and cleverly concealing a strong message of tolerance and gracious acceptance, this pictorially powerful, fast-fists-flying action extravaganza rockets along at a breakneck pace, perfectly mimicking the smart, intoxicating spirit of the TV show. Although Bad Blood is only the first part of a much longer saga, this is still an easily accessible romp even if you’re not familiar with the vast backstory, another suspenseful thriller as easily enjoyed by the most callow neophyte as by any dedicated devotee.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer ™ & © 2000 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.