Admittedly, I missed out on the entire Buffy the Vampire Slayer craze of yore. For some reason, I just never quite got into the exploits of malnourished blonde girls running around slaying vampires. So, when I got my hands on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I got with Omnibus was a surprisingly fun piece of reading. For those of you who don’t know, Omnibus collects the opening run of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book series published by Dark Horse. There’s plenty of humor and action here. Lots of strange (and strangely fun) violence. And, for Slayer fans, Omnibus is an opportunity to run down memory lane and relive those early, exciting slayer days.
The writing of Omnibus is a collection of writers as the volume is a reprint of a series that was a venue for a whole host of writers. The longest runs on the series come from Christopher Golden, Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza. Buffy’s writing is surprisingly fun. It’s fueled by big imaginations and the stories have a tendency to go into the farther reaches of probability but, somehow, it’s easy to go along with and it give the comic a very unique overall feeling. The weaknesses in Buffy may come from the same place as its strengths. The stories in Buffy can, at times, get to be so very far outside the realm of sanity that a fair amount of disconnect occurs and you find yourself just browsing the pages waiting for the next storyline to begin and hoping that the coming story will be a bit easier to digest. Much like the television show and the movie (which I occasionally stumbled across while channel surfing) Omnibus has a generous helping of cheesy on liners and predictable puns. But, again, it’s oddly acceptable. It just feels like what you’d expect so, when it comes, you take it on the chin, let loose a guilty giggle, and keep reading.
A surprising strength of Omnibus comes from its artwork. While the opening chapters of the book are plagued by some serious panel disconnect and narrative jarring, things seem to find their stride by the middle of Omnibus. The panels begin connecting much more smoothly and the overall layout aesthetics solidify and make the series feel really controlled and ordered. Pencils for Omnibus include Eric Powell, Joe Bennett, Cliff Richards and Paul Lee. Slayer artwork, regardless (mostly) of the penciler, shares a good overall feeling for smooth lines and rather reductive penciling. I found myself wanting to see a little more detail in the lines and wanting to see more panel creativity in some of the issues but, as economical as things were, the layout did a good enough job of making things smooth and navigable.
Overall: 8 on 10. Good stuff for Slayer fans, old and new.