Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lover’s Walk
[Dark Horse Comics $2.99 US $4.50 CAN]
Written by Various & Illustrated by Various
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lover's WalkThis one-shot anthology shipped on Valentine’s Day so it’s no wonder the issue showcases a few of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s favorite couples.

The first story, “One Small Promise” was written by Tom Fassbender and Jim Pascoe and features Buffy and Riley as they have a small lover’s spat and, of course, dust some vamps. Cliff Richards (pencils) and P. Craig Russell (inks) handle the art chores in this story quite ably. Cliff Richards has long been one of my favorite Buffy illustrators because of his ability to capture the likenesses of the actors with a few simple lines. P. Craig Russell is a brilliant penciler in his own right and his inking meshes perfectly with Richard’s relaxed and realistic style.

Jamie S. Rich and Chynna Clugston-Major (Blue Monday) supply the story in “Punish Me With Kisses.” In it, Willow and Tara, Sunnydale’s two cutest witches, travel to a bed and breakfast in Northern California to pick a very special snow flower for their spell-casting. In true Scooby fashion the hotel ends up being haunted by a lascivious female ghost who’s driving away the male customers.

This tale ended up being my favorite of the issue in large part due to Chynna Clugston-Major’s wonderfully wacky manga-inspired art. It fit the light-hearted tone of the story perfectly and made me want to see a Willow and Tara animated series.

The final story is entitled “Who Made Who?” and follows Spike and Dru as Spike comes to terms with the fact that he and Dru do not have a healthy, normal relationship. Christopher Golden, regular Spike and Dru specials scribe, pens a violent but amusing tale about Spike exacting his revenge on Dru in Rio de Janeiro.

Eric Powell (pencils) and Keith Barnett (inks) supply the artwork. Eric Powell illustrated the BTVS: Giles one-shot and the BTVS: Spike and Dru All’s Fair special. His work in the Giles one-shot was quite detailed and spooky, particularly the tentacled horrors that Giles had to defeat. The Spike and Dru stories, however, have been less impressive. The panels are dull and lack the dynamic feeling necessary to create a proper mood for the story and engage the reader. I’d like to see some of the same attention to detail in these stories, which could go a long way toward making them seem less flat.

Overall, BTVS: Lover’s Walk was an entertaining one-shot. If you’re a Buffy comics fan, definitely pick this up.

You should be able to find this issue on your local store’s shelves. But if you have no luck there, you can also order direct from Dark Horse Comics, Inc. 10956 SE Main Street, Milwaukie, OR 97222 or visit their web site at www.darkhorse.com.