Buffy #52

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #52
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #52
Viva Las Buffy (Part 2 of 4), Act 2: Full House

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:
    Applying for a job at the Golden Touch Casino, Buffy the Coatcheck Slayer and her faithful sidekick, Pike the Valet boy get to the bottom of the mystery of the vampire factory believed to be located at the casino. Meanwhile, Angelus, posing as a bodyguard also tries to solve the mystery but ends up getting caught and thrown into a time vortex, landing him in the 1920's. Buffy finally finds some more vamps in the casino, but finds she bought more than she bargained for when all the attendees and workers at the casino reveal themselves to be vamps and Buffy and Pike are next on their menus.

Zinna's Review:
    Of the many jobs Buffy has held over the seasons - waitress, construction worker, retail sales clerk, Doublemeat Palace employee - I bet you never knew her very first job was being a coat-check girl for a casino and scantily clad coat-check girl at that! Unlike Buffy's other jobs, this one is not for the money-Buffy and Pike are undercover (Pike is a valet) at a Vampire Casino Royale! But Pike and Buffy are not the only ones undercover-Angel is posing as a bodyguard to one of the casino's higher-ups. Even though they are all working the same angle their paths miraculously do not cross, but just barely.
    Before I go into the significance of Angel's role in this issue, I must first talk about Pike. Again, Pike is the narrator and fortunately he has moved pass obsessing on his Buffy-crush to obsessing about on the danger they are sure to meet, tracking vampires in Las Vegas. Apparently, it has finally dawned on Pike that there's more slaying than just starring longingly at the slayer's perky (and shiny) ponytail bounce as she quips and stabs, kicks and jabs. Suddenly, he sees the overwhelming reality of all (Who'd thought such self-actualization was possible in the tackiness that is Vegas-hey don't get mad at me. I know what Vegas is like. My mom lives there. No, really. She does.) The reality being vampires are real. There are a lot of them and they have no qualms about being involved in organized murder and mayhem. For the ca-trillion blood-sucking evil fiends out there (and large percentage seems to be hold up in this casino's hotel) there's only one girl (not yet a woman) with the strength, resiliency, and agility to overcome them. This one girl just happens to be the only girl for who Pike's heart yearns. What's worse, this girl appears to be all alone (no watcher, no parents-she ran away, and no Dawn to ask annoying questions and point out the obvious for those who can't keep up) save for Pike. So, you can understand how Pike would come to feel responsible for Buffy, regardless of how much sense it does not make (she being the emotionally and physically stronger of the two).
    You ask now feeling responsible is not obsessing over a crush? Well, there's only so much hysterical blindness a crush can cause before Pike sees that by loving a slayer he's signing on for what will ultimately come to death, possibly his own or even worse…hers. For Pike, a life where he has to watch Buffy die is not one he's sure he's ready to live. And the casino swarming with vampires picking off people right and left and Buffy having no plan for taking these fools down other than her usual stake-as-you-go philosophy it's no wonder Pike's filled with fear. Guess who can't afford to be a coward right about now. You got it! The Slayer. Letting her fear take over is luxury that will get Buffy killed. So, then Pike's question is can Buffy afford for Pike to be afraid? If she can't, then that means Pike will be the reason that she dies. And for Pike there's one certainty in this scenario: sooner or later Buffy is going to die (and while we'd all like to believe that Buffy's going to die at the ripe old 80, we know the average slayer barely makes to 25). Even more daunting then knowledge of his love's inevitable demise, Pike also has to content with being the cause, and worse, having Buffy know that he may be the cause of her death, hence, the obsessing.
    Pike's internal struggle brings to light something we take for granted about the Scoobies' (an affectionate nickname for Buffy's friends in Sunnydale)…endless dedication to fight along side their slayer. Since Willow and Xander found out that vampires were real and fatally dangerous, they have yet to question the harrowing responsibility that comes along with caring about a slayer; like Buffy, they deal, which explains the Scoobies success rate for stopping apocalypse after apocalypse. If Xander sat around thinking about how he almost got killed this time or how he almost got Buffy killed that time, Buffy would have died (or rather stayed dead) in the first season. Yes, it's true. If you were lucky enough to see the first season's finale, you'll remember that Buffy drowned. And if Xander had stopped to think about the dangers of going to help Buffy face the Master, he probably would have realized that it wasn't his most sound decision. I mean, what are the odds that Xander could succeed where the slayer is prophesized to fail? A million to one? For Xander it didn't matter. For Xander all that mattered was that he be there for his friend. Maybe someone ought to tell Pike this is a better approach. Of course then that same someone would be forced to tell Pike that Xander's crush remained unrequited for the duration of his relationship with Buffy to date.
    Seems to me like Angel would be the perfect one to enlighten Pike, but he's busy with his own problems. What problems? Let's just put this way: In a casino that let's vampire overrun its clientele with neck attacks, what are the chances a higher-up of said casino isn't going be able to tell the difference between human and vampire (Angel)? Well Einstein, you can pretty much bet that Angel's cover is blown. What does that mean for Angel…All I can say is Issue#53 will be out later in the month.
    Let us not forget Giles in England vying for a most coveted position of being Buffy's new watcher. I'd like to say there's something insightful about this whole side plot, but I can't because Giles' plot is just warming up (Again, Issue#53 will be out later in the month).
    All in all, I'd say this issue isn't as enjoyable as the first, but well worth the read, especially if you want to understand what's going on in part 3 of 4. Something tells me part 4 of 4 will definitely be worth this lovely "setting-up" issue. Besides, this issue is worth it solely for the picture of Buffy in her barely-there coat-check uniform. Also, I have to commend the artist for his success with capturing the essence of Buffy's emotion-purveying facial expressions that we've all come to rely on when trying to figure out what's going on inside the slayer's head. Because if you want to know what Buffy thinks or feels about something, you can't be sure that she'll just tell you. She's not exactly an open book when it comes to spilling her emotions, but for the most part, her face tells it all.


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


Comic Monster Guide
The Monster Guide


Hellmouth Central
Hellmouth Central

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