As was the case with Freaks & Geeks, this is Buffy when she’s barely started at Sunnydale High and is also at the beginning of her Slayer career. It differs from both that book and the following Parental Parasite, and doesn’t match either because new writer Kel McDonald has some teething problems presenting an appropriate balance between school life and slaying. Glutton for Punishment concentrates too much on the former. It’s a problem with pacing. After a standard slaying over the first two pages, it’s well past the halfway point before the supernatural intrudes again in any significant manner, and by the time it raises its head a second time the story’s almost finished.

Too many nights out slaying vampires means Buffy’s falling behind on her studies, so when she’s offered the chance to make up some grades with some extra-curricular classes she selects cookery as the easy option. It’s the wrong choice, and not just because Buffy’s hopeless at it. For those who like scenes of Buffy and her friends just hanging out, Glutton for Punishment is a feast, but for everyone else the best sequence will be the imaginative ending, which reduces Buffy to a background character, but in a good way.

Yishan Li’s delightful illustration again brings the cast to life, but their likenesses are a little more impressionistic than previously, although without harming the look overall. She has a manga action style, and as seen from the sample page, a good eye for design when it comes to a credible monster.

As noted, McDonald’s problem with pacing is temporary, and Parental Parasite restores this series to the level of the opener.