Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles
[Dark Horse Comics $2.99 US $4.50 CAN]
Written by Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski / Illustrated by Eric Powell
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BTVS: GilesRupert Giles, Buffy’s mentor and former Watcher, gets the chance to shine in this one-shot. Giles heads to London and to the Watchers Council after friend and current member of the Council, Michaela Tomasi, notifies him of the death of his former mentor, Archie Lassiter. Unfortunately Archie didn’t die of old age as the Council wants Giles to believe. Archie and his associate, Thorton Whitney, were cataloguing the contents of the Council’s archives—a treasure trove of mystic tomes and ancient artifacts. In the course of cataloguing a particularly nasty artifact known as the Key of Amon-Rathna, Thorton sets into motion the return of the Elder Gods who are determined to remake the Earth in their image.

Christopher Golden is one of the regular writers for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer line of comics. He’s also a contributor to the Buffy prose novels and Michaela Tomasi is a character from his Gatekeeper Trilogy. Golden can craft a suitably horrific tale complete with a Lovecraftian menace. But this story, perhaps hampered by being confined to a single issue, falls short. Giles is an interesting character but he doesn’t come off as such in this story. I had hoped that Giles and his time with the Council might get a little more background in this one-shot but only brief mentions are made to his past. The character of Michaela Tomasi had interesting possibilities—she’s a witch—but I guess you’d have to read Golden’s Gatekeeper Trilogy to learn more about her.

The artwork in BTVS: Giles is quite good. Eric Powell doesn’t do dead-on likenesses of the television show characters but his human figures have a Wrightson-esque quality that fits the horror milieu perfectly. His grotesque tentacled monsters in particular would do Bernie Wrightson proud and are so oogy you can almost imagine what they would feel like.

If you’re a big fan of the Buffy comics then definitely pick this up. But if you’re a comic fan looking for compelling horror, go with Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.

If you can’t find this issue on your local comic store’s shelves, write to Dark Horse Comics, Inc., 10956 SE Main Street, Milwaukie, OR 97222 or visit their web site at www.darkhorse.com and order it on-line.