BRERETON, Dan. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Dust Waltz. 80p. DARK HORSE COMICS, Oct. 1998. ISBN: 1569713421
I have quite a few of the older "Buffy" comics to talk about. As you would expect from me, I will give mostly positive reviews on the majority of 'em. I like Buffy. I liked comic books even before that. When the two things came together pretty early in the show's run, I was a happy camper. Despite the fact that Dark Horse was publishing them (at that point, I wasn't really a fan) and despite the fact that I had read several bad media tie-in "Buffy" books. That said, there were definitely a few diamonds in the rough.
The Dust Waltz is not one of them.
I just re-read it, so I can get into some of the stuff I especially hated. This was touted as the first true Buffy "graphic novel" - it was not published in serialized form and was subdivided into three "chapters." This made it about the size of 3 comic books, which isn't very long at all. The writer, Dan Brereton, was someone I had never heard of. He writes a forward to the book which is shocking bad (he puts "the wiggins" in quotes, for example) and doesn't manage to find the characters' voices even slightly. He creates pretty forgettable villains, too.
The plot of the story, if we can really even call it that, revolves around a "mother of all vampires" named Lilith, the evil demon wife of Adam from the Bible. Brereton takes liberties with Lilith here, making her a supreme vampire who can control lightning instead of a demon queen who can do a bunch of different things. Really, she's just a vampire and just controls lightning in this story. She has a sister who comes to town who does nothing, but vaguely looks like Medusa. She gets eaten by a giant snake. "The Dust Waltz" refers to a contest between the sisters where they each pick their best champion to battle each other. No reason for this contest is given. The victor opens the Hellmouth and unleashes the "father" of the two demon chicks, the aforementioned giant snake.
I wish I was making all this up.
A B-story involves Giles having a niece who comes to visit. Her name is Jane. She has a bob and freckles. She immediately becomes part of the gang and has some sexual tension with Xander for no reason. Speaking of "for no reason" she, Willow, and Xander are attacked by two werewolves for absolutely no reason at all. Jane takes out a stake and you think she might be awesome, but she ends up just fainting. She was pretty much the most horrible character ever. The question of how exactly she is Giles's niece is never addressed in the story, which would have made it slightly more interesting to me since little about Giles's family was ever revealed. The show was still going on at this point, so it's likely Brereton couldn't be too specific... ah, what the hell? I'm giving him too much credit. He probably didn't think to include it all. The whole thing is a pile of poo. Don't ever read this.
Hector Gomez's art (I've included some scans, for your un-enjoyment) was also an early problem with the "Buffy" comic. He's a Brazillian artist, and while he draws Buffy beautifully, his artistic renderings of everyone else make them look too hispanic. Cordelia and Willow look nearly identical (Cordelia is usually dressed like she's going to a tennis match, the only real way to tell them apart) and Xander... well, Xander looks like a fox. He looks too good. In Gomez's art, he's a babe. Which defeats the purpose of him being portrayed as a snarky, heroic nerd. It's just... bad. When Dark Horse started numbering the trades, this was #1. It was a bad start. When we get to my other pending Buffy trade, as well as the "Angel" comics, I promise things will get better. For now, you have this.