As is the case with most anthologies, I found the quality of the stories to be rather uneven. A big part of that may be attributed to the uneven length of the stories. The opening tale, “The Mission,” is half of the book, while “The Eating of Men” and “Behind the Mask” are both considerably shorter. As such, “The Mission” is clearly the strongest tale here, with ample room for development. Mairgrhead Scott’s short story about a Chumash slayer protecting her people from Spanish vampire colonists is a great opener, as the title is a great play on words, referencing both the challenge that “Hutash” must face, as well as establishing the purpose of the mantle of the slayer. Moreover, “The Mission” also hints at what’s to come in the upcoming “Hellmouth” crossover. Ornella Savarese’s artwork here is the most traditional of the lot, which is to say that while it’s pretty good, it’s also maybe the least visually exciting of the three styles showcased here.
Celia Lowenthal’s “The Eating of Men” starts off great. The relationship between Silvia, the young noblewoman-to-be, and her long-suffering Nanny Florentia is adorable, and the love between the two is palpable. It’s not until the twist at the end that the story collapses a bit because of the plot holes that weaken the narrative integrity. It's is a shame, because I think a little more page time may have helped eliminate some of those flaws. That being said, Lowenthal’s artwork tells the story beautifully, and I really love the limited, but vibrant, palette used. If Lowenthal’s artwork looks familiar, it’s probably because she provided the Chosen One variant cover to Issue #2, presumably depicting an older Silvia.
Alexa Sharpe’s jaunty tale about a slayer enjoying her best life in 1820s Paris is the meringue pie of the lot. It’s fluffy, beautiful to look at, and as a closer to the book, is a bit of a palate cleanser after the heavier material explored earlier. Adelaide, the bon vivant, bears some resemblance to Buffy, in that she refuses to let her duty derail a good time. That being said, I do wish that there were a bit more heft to this particular tale. It’s not like there weren’t plenty of societal issues to explore for a story set during the Bourbon Restoration period; however, Sharpe’s artwork captures the decadence and opulence of the period perfectly. You may also recognize Adelaide as the slayer featured on BtVS Issue #6 Chosen One variant cover which was also illustrated by Sharpe.
Overall, I enjoyed this volume and wish there were more tales of the slayers of yore in here. It was nice to see the Chosen Ones variant covers pay off, and I hope to see future volumes give these brave young women their time in the spotlight.
Creative Team: Mairghread Scott, Celia Lowenthal, Alexa Sharpe (writers), Ornella Savarese, Celia Lowenthal, Alexa Sharpe (artists), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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