Buffy #51

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #51
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #51
Viva Las Buffy (Part 1 of 4), Act 1: Broken Parts

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Fabian Nicieza
Pencills: Cliff Richards
Inks: Will Conrad
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover: Brian Horton & Paul Lee

The story takes place before Buffy the Vampire Slayer's first season

Jeremy's Brief Synopsis:
    Having recently become the Chosen One, expelled High School freshman Buffy Summers found life in L.A. to difficult to deal with and jumped at the chance to pursue a ring of vampires to Las Vegas, with just one clue in their pocket -- the vamps had a casinochip from teh Golden Touch Casino.

Zinna's Review:
    Ever wonder how Buffy transformed from being a shallow fashion-obsessed, cheerleading diva to a complex fashion-obsessed slaying warrior? Well, this issue is your chance to see Buffy before she comes to absolute grips with her destiny. Before she understands what being a slayer really means. Before she understands all the sacrifices, the loneliness, the responsibilities that accompany such power. Before she understands the hearts she will have to break… Speaking of broken hearts looking to wallow, do you remember Pike? Well, maybe you remember 90210's Luke Perry. Luke Perry plays the sympathetic and somewhat charming Pike in the original BTVS motion picture. Before the Scoobies there was Pike, Buffy's lone sidekick and guess what? Pike is narrating the beginning of this tale, the prelude to Las Vegas.

    Pike, as you may understand, has of course fallen head over heels for the slayer. Unfortunately, Buffy is not emotionally available for such entanglements. She hasn't even figured out how to stake a vamp without getting the ash all over her hair (which can be a real problem since the price of conditioner keeps going up). So, much in the way of Xander (but I guess since this is a prequel, Xander is more in the way of Pike), Pike tries to connect with Buffy on her level&emdash;fighting along side her. Since he is not superhuman, he mostly provides the wheels (a motorcycle) and moral support among other things (he'll pick up the tab when they have pie, that sort of thing). This issues is about Pike knowing that he's fallen, knowing that it's not going to work out all happily ever after, and still wanting to be along for the ride. It's also about Buffy, who we see mostly from a onlooker's perspective, trying to deal with her new-found powers and responsibilities on top of grieving for her recently killed watcher, Merrick; hiding her identity from her parents, who seem to be using Buffy's troubles at school as an excuse to chew each other out; and the possibility of expulsion (remember all those references to Buffy burning down Hemery High's gym in effort to kill a lot of vampires, well that's just happened in this tale and you can bet the school board is not very understanding, especially when Buffy can offer no explanation for it).

    Here's what the issue is about to me, Buffy isn't that different from who she is now (see BTVS season 7). She may be more naïve, little more immature and little less witty, but she's pretty much a younger version of current self. And well, you can say, wasn't everyone just a young version of thir current self. Maybe, but humor me… Compare Cordy at Sunnydale High to Cordy now. The change is phenomenal! I think we're supposed to believe that Buffy was Cordy (or similar to Cordy) before she became the slayer, maybe Buffy was, maybe Buffy was worse… however the transformation from shallow to complex in Buffy's case is instant. The minute she begins training she becomes a fearless protector. For example, in this issue Buffy has to face a school board hearing where they'll decide if she can attend school after her shenanigans in the gym. Pike, the chivalrous sap he is, offers to take the heat. Buffy won't allow it, she doesn't want her friends taking the fall for fallout from her secret slaying life. Buffy seems to already know that if she's going to be any good at the whole saving the world bit, she's going to have to take the heat, now and every time after this. That's the job. Pike is disappointed. He wanted to be needed. He wanted know that Buffy trusted him enough to lean on him.

    What Pike doesn't seem to understand is that she does need him. I think it will only become more apparent as the series progresses (part 1 of 4, people). As we know, one of the reasons Buffy lasts so long as a slayer is because she counts on her friends, loves them, and lets them step up to plate for her as much as she has to step up to the plate for the world. So, then wouldn't she just collapse in Pike arms, let him protect her in ways that he can? Because she's too strong? Too proud? Doubt it. Maybe it's because she doesn't think Pike's a very good liar? Umm that doesn't seem right either. When Buffy replies to his offer, she says , " 'Preciate it. But we can't tell the truth, and if I have to lie, I'm not dragging you into it." Pike's response is silence, but in his head he wants to tell her that he's already up to knees in it, but he doesn't. He knows it won't matter what he says. Buffy is going to protect him (be it his hide or his good (umm) name)… That's who she is now. That's who she always was. Or least that what I'm drawn to believe since she's been kicking about vampire ass for a week now and she's already a prime candidate for a stoicism award.

    Here's some more food for thought, Dawn's in this tale even though it's before Buffy came to Sunnydale. Dawn's sleeping in Buffy's bed, arms securely around Buffy's prize childhood possession Mr. Gordo, while their parents fight downstairs and Buffy's out dusting the streets. When Buffy returns home after patrol, Dawn is there to get the low down and warn her about the parentals current upset&emdash;Buffy. While the scene itself is minorly informative, I'm spending more time wondering if the scene really happened or if we're to believe this is just a memory infused in Buffy's mind by the monks (the one who implanted Dawn, the key, into everyone's memory).

    So, now you're wondering what does all this have to do with Las Vegas? Well, as you know Buffy's school career is axed at the hearing, and Father Buffy is not very nice to her about it (there's yelling and biting comments). So, Buffy begins to figure her home life isn't going to be all peachy, what with the parents hating each other and now having an reason to take aggressions out on her. So how does Buffy cope? Well, what's Buffy's comfort food? If you guessed kicking ass, you guessed right and apparently, there's some vamp ass to kick in Las Vegas (and you know who's tagging along or shall I say driving).

    Don't say I'm ruining it for you because there's a lot I didn't tell you and the whole expulsion thing is like no big surprise. As for what I didn't tell you, here's a taste. Giles makes appearance and let me just say he's rather feisty, not what you'd expect. Angel, also makes an appearance, oddly enough, not in a Buffy's guardian angel capacity, he's kind of doing his own thing. But you can bet, they paths are more intertwined than I'm letting on. Hahahaa go buy the issue!

James' Review:
    After finally accepting her calling as the Slayer, Buffy Summers begins to adjust to her new role; however, now she must decide how feels about love interest Pike, try and cope with her parents are always fighting and now she's been kicked out of school, where does her life beyond slaying? In England, the Watcher's Council must choose a new guardian for Buffy now that Merrick is dead.

    This issue marks a risky but ultimately interesting change in the Buffy title. After four years of keeping safely within the Fox regulated continuity, Allie and his team have finally broken free of the current season and skip back seven years to just after The Origin. Don't be put off by the lengthy title (Betwixed And Between: Viva Las Buffy: Part One: Broken Parts!) or the lack of Scoobies as this arc, and year, promises to one of the comics best.

    Continuing on from the set-up in the movie and mentions in the show, the LA Buffy is a new change from the current angsty, wavy-haired heroine we know now, with a more Cordy-esque feel to her and an fresh, less jaded attitude to slaying, back when her worst night might be three, maybe four, vamps up to no good. Nicieza nails the dialogue, as always, with Pike's narration continuing the way of change the title is experiencing. Although the main gang doesn't make an appearance in the issue, the scenes with Giles and Angel do set-up for more involvement in later issues, especially the slight cliffhanger to do with the latter. Unfortunately, this issue does have considerable filler and not enough actual plot. With only four issues to cover Las Vegas and the town doesn't even get hinted at to until the last half.

    Richards' art is good in this issue, but not quite the high standards we've been spoilt with lately, as his Buffy is great, complete with leggings and skimpy tops, with a nice Summers family to go with. However, his Pike seems to be slightly Xander with a goatee and is there a reason why there's no good, clear shot of him. The detailed art that Richards' that can sometimes be his down fall (cheap cameos in Buffy/Angel 1/2) come back into play in Broken Parts as each poster or advert has a famous character or image on (look out for: Calvin, Hobbes, Scooby Doo and Freddy Prinze Jr. notable).

    This issue had a lot of pressure on it to succeed after weeks of much hype and, luckily, it delivers but still leaves me with the feeling that the issue was a bit too much continuity bridging and not enough substance to keep me on the edge of my seat for the next issue. Never the less, I'll be back here next month raving my ass off.


Comic Book Guide to Buffy
Comic Book Guide to Buffy


Tales of the Slayers
Tales of the Slayers


Joss Whedon's Fray
Joss Whedon's Fray


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The Monster Guide


Hellmouth Central
Hellmouth Central

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