August 9, 2021

Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a likable enough story, but it was rather slight. It's from the ongoing Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot, where the story is updated to include cell phones and exclude Joss Whedon. I've read the first two new graphic novels, and this miniseries takes off from a defining incident in the first volume, where Xander is turned into a vampire and Willow gives him a piece of her soul.

So far, the characters seem to be handled better than the series' live-action heyday. This was focused on Willow, in recovery from the aforementioned incident. She takes time away from Sunnydale to study abroad, but when she comes back to the States she is still unable to return home and face a life without Xander. So she buys a one-way bus ticket to anywhere and hits the road instead. She falls into a cozy, isolated little town called Abhainn, which is apparently populated entirely by witches. Willow develops a crush on the leader of the coven, Aelara, and thinks about staying permanently. Of course, we know neither Abhainn or Aelara is what they seem, and Willow has to fight her way out of the town when Aelara tries to prevent her from leaving. The conflict, such as it is, is solved at the end by a talk and a hug, and Willow promises to return if Abhainn needs her.

I'm not sure if this is meant to be a linkage back to the overall storyline or a temporary side trip, but either way, it doesn't seem to have much punch. I'm only rating it as high as I have because of the art. (Although I wish Jen Bartels could have drawn the entire comic instead of just the covers. Her covers nearly have more personality than the entire book.) It's nice to get some focus on Willow, but I wish this story could have carried a little more weight.

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