Graphic Novel Review: Tales of The Slayers
Title: Tales of the Slayers
Blurb: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the latest in a long tradition of young women who’ve been trained to give their lives in the war against vampires. We’ve gotten glimpses of these other women over the years on T.V., in comics, and in books. Now for the first time, 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 comics’ greatest artists. Gene Colan, co-creator of Marvel’s Blade and Tomb of Dracula, returns to Dark Horse for the story of a young girl in 1970s New York, battling vampires. Tim Sale, artist of recent epics Batman: The Long Halloween and Superman for All Seasons teams with Joss Whedon for a grim tale of a medieval slayer. American comics legend P. Craig Russell (Dr. Strange, The Ring of the Nibelung) and international rising star Mira Friedmann (Actus Tragicus) also join the stellar lineup.
Published: July 6th 2002 by Dark Horse
Things I liked:
- I loved reading about the various slayers adventures and made me wish certain characters could get a spinoff comic books series.
- My favorite story was Presumption, which seemed to be going one direction and twists at the end.
- The Glittering world had a plot line that was interesting and I was not sure where it was going. I liked the nod at the end to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Righteous has a great plot line and I liked that it had a less than happy ending.
- I enjoyed the reappearance of Fray and her discoveries in her story line.
Things I disliked:
- Though I liked Righteous as a story I was less of of a fan of the art style.
- Nikki Goes down has some great art but I think the story was very slight.
- The Innocent had a cool setting but I found the twist rather predictable.
I don’t want to spoil this moment but I thought the ending of the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ esque storyline had a great twist to it!
What I thought of the art style:
The style of the graphic novel really varied based on who did the art. Righteous was probably my least favorite, mostly because of the inking I think it went way too dark in some of the panels. I enjoyed Presumption a lot and how it manages to capture the style of the art of that period. I liked the monotone style of the Glittering World. Sonenblume was jarring at first as it has a very unusual art style but it fit the dark content of the story. Nikki Goes Down had a nice sense of realism to it but I didn’t like the way the panels were arranged it made it difficult to read. Tales was my favorite as it was the same artist who did the graphic novel for Fray.
I enjoyed getting to learn about some of the slayers I have never heard about in this graphic novel. As in all compilations the stories varied from very good to alright. I liked that each slayer had a unique personality and setting to their stories. However each story is very short and that means it has to impact in very few words. Some of the graphic novels were very good at that and others felt very slight. Presumption was my favorite because I think it does a great job of playing around with your expectations and subverting them. The slayer in that graphic novel is probably the one that I would most like to get to know more and see more stories from. It was nice to see Fray again and it hints at the possibility of more stories with that character, but since there is no sign of any getting published then I think it’s not to be. Overall I really enjoyed this graphic novel – it is short but sweet.
Though each of the stories are very brief, I enjoyed this glimpse into the lives of a handful of slayers who have grown up in very different historical periods. Rather than simply using these historical settings for color and flavoring, I think the various writers all do a good job of creating stories that seem to evolve out of the era they are set in and which touch on some surprisingly heavy themes (particularly The Innocent and Sonnenblume). Only the two bookends, Prologue and Tales, feel different but they serve their own purpose of tying together the whole collection and presenting it as an exploration of what it means to be a slayer.
I think it is, overall, a strong collection that benefits from its brevity and variety. While I found some of the tales more engaging than others, I liked the unpredictability of what would be coming next (both in terms of story and art style) and I appreciated that several of the stories feature nice twists and revelations.