Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Wolves at the Gate (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 3)
Vampires that, at will, can transform into wolves, panthers, insects, or fog invade the Slayer base of operations in northern Scotland, and not only walk away unscathed, but in possession of Buffy's scythe, the symbol of Slayer power worldwide. Buffy and the Slayer-legion travel to Tokyo in order to learn more about their dangerous new foes, as Xander journeys to Transylvania to solicit the only person they've ever known to possess such power - Dracula!
||Dark Horse Comics|
||November 12, 2008|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 36 reviews|
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11 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Great Balance of Laugh-Out-Loud Humor And Cry-Into-Your-Pillow TragedyNov 26, 2008
By Pat Shand
The first arc of Joss Whedon's continuation of his cult classic Buffy The Vampire Slayer series, titled The Long Way Home, was a great way to kick off the series, but felt very much like the start of a comic series. The artist was still figuring out the characters, Joss was still figuring out the pace, and--despite how entertaining it was--I knew it would get even better later on. The second arc, the Brian K. Vaughan penned No Future For You, showed an improvement, though it didn't really give fans an idea of how the rest of the series would play out, as it focused more on Faith than any of the core cast. Now, with "Wolves at the Gate," the third volume, Joss brings back writer Drew Goddard to tell a tale about Buffy and her close friends traveling around the world to put a stop to a gang of powerful Japanese vampires.
But first things first. This collection starts off with "A Beautiful Sunset," a one-shot comic written by Joss. It's by far the best issue of the series so far, as it features a lot of insight into Buffy's emotional state, as well as her first fight with the season's Big Bad, a masked man named Twilight.
The remaining four issues make up the eponymous "Wolves at the Gate" arc, which is written by Drew Goddard of Buffy, Lost, and Cloverfield fame and pencilled by series artist Georges Jeanty, whose backgrounds are as detailed as his great renditons of these characters. Jeanty finds an excellent balance between getting the actor's likenesses and making the images work for the comic and the story. And oh what a story. It's mind-boggingly daring what Goddard and executive producer Whedon have unfold in this issue. It's so epic that it made the news, alienated the more close-minded fans (which isn't a bad thing, if you ask me), and sent the characters down a path of confusion, heartbreak, fleeting happiness that leads towards the unknown future of the rest of the season. Each issue is packed with ideas so fresh that you never really know what's going to happen, but most--if not all--of it is enjoyable.
But this isn't all heavy stuff. Though it's certainly the saddest, sweetest, and most dramatic "episode" of the season yet, it's also by far the funniest. Dracula makes a reappearance and elevates himself from "bad Season Five joke" to awesome character. Overall, this volume comes closest to matching the tone of the show. It's a worthy continuation indeed.
15 of 18 found the following review helpful:
My favorite arc yet in Buffy Season 8Nov 10, 2008
By Robert Moore
Warning! Spoilers ahead! Major spoilers! Do not read if you wish to be spoiler free!
Please take note of the spoiler warning. I've been amazed at how often I start a review with spoiler warnings and then have people complain because the review then features -- get ready for this -- SPOILERS! There are major spoilers below, including THE spoiler. So please don't read this if you want to be spoiler free.
WOLVES AT THE GATE is the third story arc in the ongoing BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER Season 8 series, which continues in comic form the adventures of the Scooby Gang, following THE LONG WAY HOME, authored by Joss Whedon himself, and NO FUTURE FOR YOU, the very good Faith arc written by comic legend Brian K. Vaughan. In my opinion WOLVES AT THE GATE is the best arc so far, which is surprising since this is Drew Goddard's first -- as far as I am aware -- at writing for comics. Goddard (who in the summer of 2008 gained very minor fame in the web musical DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG as Evil League of Evil member Fake Thomas Jefferson) has achieved fame as a TV writer, emerging first as the last of many gifted writers on BUFFY (writing or co-writing such great episodes as "Conversations with Dead People," "Lies My Parents Taught Me," and "Dirty Girls." He went on from there to write for ANGEL before joining the staff of ALIAS (where he wrote the series finale) and then on to a minor TV hit called LOST (where Brian K. Vaughan is also on the writing staff). He has also make some noise in film circles, first writing the script for his ALIAS and LOST boss J. J. Abrams's CLOVERFIELD and most recently co-writing with Joss Whedon the script for the upcoming CABIN IN THE WOODS, which Goddard will direct. So while Goddard is not a comics writer, he is very much a writer. And if he had any questions about how to write for the genre, I'm sure either Whedon or Vaughan was available for any questions.
OK, even if you haven't read these issues, most likely you've heard about the BIG EVENT. Buffy and an Asian female slayer in bed. Together. After a bout of passion. It is shocking, but more than that, it sets up one of the funniest sequences I've ever read in a comic. Buffy realizes she isn't gay and that this was, for want of a better word, probably just "experimentation" and an emotional release after a string of very stressful events. Buffy, of course, wants to keep everything quite, but in the next several pages just about everyone she knows discovers what has happened. So, what could have been mere titillation becomes comic farce.
Homoerotic themes continue in subsequent pages. After magically shape-shifting vampires assault Buffy's Scottish castle, she dispenses Xander on the important mission of contacting the one vampire they know who also possesses this ability: Dracula. What unfolds is a revelation of what happened after Anya's death and where Xander went to get over it. Anyone who has seen BUFFY knows that there are many, many jokes at Xander's expense concerning his heterosexuality. On one level, Xander is clearly a heterosocial male. Virtually all his friends are female. He is less comfortable with males and possesses some mild homophobia. But the hints in WOLVES AT THE GATE are that Xander has both bonded with Dracula and that the latter has something of a crush on his human servant. It could have been unfunny, but Goddard is exceptionally able in handling comedy, both on TV and here.
These issues are filled with a string of great moments, many of them comic. The arc also features an absolutely shocking death. BUFFY the TV show did more than any show in TV history to make the body count an essential element of action television shows. Previous shows killed off a few characters (THE X-FILES killed Deep Throat and X), but usually as a way of easing a character out of the show (cf. Denise Crosby's death on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION). But BUFFY made it a part of television. So having the comics continue this is not terribly surprising. But the comic elements dominate. One of the best comes with Dawn, who was still a giant at this stage in the comics (she has undergone a transformation since then), encounters a Mecha-Dawn, utterly the kinds of things that nonfans of Dawn accuse her of. They do battle in the middle of Tokyo, with Andrew -- who states that he was born for this moment -- explains to Dawn how to defeat her robotic copy. There are also some great and awkward moments between Buffy and Willow, the latter clearly bothered that Buffy never was tempted to experiment with her.
As a huge fan of the TV series, I've been delighted with the comics. There have been some major delays in issues on the subsequent story arc -- dealing with Buffy's time traveling to the future and meeting the future slayer Melaka Fray (the star of the Joss Whedon graphic novel FRAY) -- but based on published issues the first four arcs are all remarkably good. I look forward to seeing what happens next.
5 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Wolves have bite.Nov 24, 2008
By Patrick S. Dorazio
"Author of The Dark Trilogy"
I enjoyed the writing of the third installment of season 8 as much as the other two thus far. Quite compelling in fact, with the real introduction of the "Big Bad" for season 8 as well as the re-introduction of Dracula, who had a memorable episode that started season 5 of Buffy. The relationship he has with Xander is pretty hilarious and takes me back to that episode.
In some ways, this is the best writing of season 8 so far, with a suprising and heart-rending death and a very creative nemesis with a pack of vamps who can shape shift and steal Buffy's scythe in an effort to turn all the slayers back to normal. Good stuff.
If I were to be critical it is the one element, the BIG surprise that I will not mention but has been in other reviews that I felt came from out in left field. Yes, Buffy has felt lonely, yes, she deserves to be happy, but sheesh, it just seemed a bit forced here and out of character. I can swallow it and even enjoyed the aftermath, which was good comedy, but again, it seemed a bit awkward. Not a biggy but still a bit surprising. But even so, it makes for an interesting read, that is for sure.
Overall, excellent writing and the story continues to fascinate me.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Best in Buffy Season 8 So Far!!!Jan 09, 2009
By Malcolm Furgol
OK, so I'm a fanboy, but seriously this is the reason why its worth investing in the first two volumes of this series. Whedon really starts packing in the emotional punches here and how can you not love the return of Dracula in such a spectacularly cool way? Take the time to read this series and you will have fun, I promise. Now if only they could make that Buffy movie a reality...
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
More like the television series than the first twoDec 03, 2008
By C. Raso
A group of Japanese vampires steal the scythe that was used by Willow to turn all the potentials into slayers. Buffy and the gang, with the help of Dracula, travel to Japan to bring back the enchanted weapon and keep the vampires from reversing the spell.
This installment felt more like the television series than the two previous books. There was more of the mixture of humor and pathos that made the show so great. Xander really stands out in this story arch with his relationship with Dracula and Renee. Andrew shows up for some very funny nerdy scenes. I don't know what to think of Buffy and Satsu's storyline. It's kind of confusing and I don't know where the writers are going with it.
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