Review of The Fangtastic Graphic Novel ‘Tales of the Slayers’
I am a hardcore Buffy the Vampire Slayer fangirl who feasts on every bit of Buffy-goodness I can get – the show (obviously), books, and comics – like Tales of the Slayers. As we all know, Buffy is the chosen one, the one to battle vampires and other dark forces. But before her there were many other Slayers. We've seen glimpses of these other women over the years on the show and in books. But in Tales of the Slayers, the writers from the television series, including the show's creator, Joss Whedon, and one of its stars, Amber "Tara" Benson, present the tales of these girls with the help of some of comics’ greatest artists. Tales of the Slayers is an amazing graphic novel that is anthology of short stories focusing on different Slayers through time.
Written by Joss Whedon Art by Leinil Francis Yu
Fans of the show already know this tale, it’s about the very first Slayer, Sineya, and how she became the first. It tells of the Shadowmen and how Sineya was made part demon. For someone like me who has seen every episode, this story isn’t all that impressive, however this comic was published before the episode that revealed the bit about being part demon. So at the time its release this story most likely thrilled fans. As for the art, it was perfect. Dark, grungy and full of expression. It captured the emotion and fit the tone flawlessly.
Written by Joss Whedon Art by Tim Sale
In spite of all of the demons and gods on the show, religion wasn’t really explored in depth in Buffy. This comic however delves into that. Righteous is set in a medieval village and tells the story of a young, deeply religious woman who initially rejects her calling as the Slayer, believing that God would not curse her so. The tale is told in poetic verse, which is perfectly fitting, and is quite dark and depressing. It is, however, an excellent story and one I very much enjoyed. As for the art, oddly, I loved everything except for the close-ups. Those close shots of her face were horrendous, but the other panels were excellent.
Written by Amber Benson Art by Ted Naifeh
This story was written by Buffy witch Tara! Set in 1879 Paris, The Innocent tells the tale of Claudine, the Slayer, and Jean, who is both her Watcher and her lover. It was a very short tale of death and betrayal. It had potential to be a really incredible story, but since it was so short it was difficult to get into. Had it been explored a bit deeper I would have been in love with The Innocent. It also would have helped if the artist showed a bit more expression on the character’s faces.
Written by Jane Espenson Art by P. Craig Russell
Set in Porter Hall, Somersetshire, in 1813, this story follows a Slayer and a vampire who meet at a lavish ball. I’ll be honest, this story started off SO slowly. I was bored out of my mind, and the art didn’t help hold my attention since it wasn’t visually appealing in the least. But, the tale bounced back at the end thanks to a fantastic twist in the story.
"The Glittering World"
Written by David Fury Art by Steve Lieber
This one tells of a Navajo Slayer named Naayéé'neizgháni (good luck pronouncing that). It actually wasn’t much of a story, just a Native American woman taking out some vamps with a bow. I did like that we got a little peek at the founding of Sunnydale and I also loved the old west feel of the artwork. But besides that, the story was pretty blah.
Written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner Art by Mira Friedmann
Worst art I have ever seen in a comic! Harsh, yes, but goodness, after seeing the first page I didn’t even want to read it because of how horrible the artwork was. But I forced myself through it. Anyway, this one is set in Germany in 1938 and follows Anni Sonnenblume, a member of the Hitlerjugend (an organization of Nazi children). The story was painfully depressing and showed the horrific treatment of Jews. We watch as Anni learns what evil is. Not a fan of this one. The artwork put me off and the story wasn’t a pleasant read.
"Nikki Goes Down!"
Written by Doug Petrie Art by Gene Colan
A story set in modern New York that follows a badass Slayer named Nikki as she hunts down the vampire that killed her boyfriend. It was a awesome little tale full of action and ass-kickery. It gave me a nice dose of vampires/giant monster/Slayer filed action. As for the art, it was completely beautiful (see above). The semi-realistic style isn’t one I usually care for in comics, but it worked perfectly in Nikki Goes Down!, I absolutely loved it.
Written by Joss Whedon Art by Karl Moline
This story follows Slayer Melaka Fray, who actually has quite a fanbase of her own due to her appearance in other Buffy comics. In Tales Melaka, a Slayer from the future, meets up with an actual spider monkey, as in it has spider legs (har har Whedon), and discovers that she’s not alone in the world. It was short and sweet. I loved the artwork, it was great.
Overall, I loved this collection of comics! There were a couple duds in there and a comic that nearly made my eyes bleed, but all in all I loved Tales of the Slayers and wish there were many more.
I highly suggest giving this graphic novel a read, and if it leaves you wanting more Slayer stories, then give the Tales of the Slayers books a read too. They aren’t graphic novels (no pretty pictures) but they are amazing. There are four books in the Slayers series: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3 and Volume 4.