Review by Frank Plowright
In 1998 The Dust Waltz was the graphic novel that launched the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise at Dark Horse, a relationship that’s lasted over twenty years now, so this has a historical significance.
Giles’ niece Jane arrives from England, complete with an almost insatiable curiosity about the supernatural events of Sunnydale, but Buffy, Willow and Xander have promised to keep her away from trouble. That’s a bit difficult when the town is due to play host an ancient vampire tradition, after which the graphic novel is named. It involves all sorts of supernatural creatures competing for the pleasure of Lilith and her sister Lamia, and ends with an even deadlier proposition.
Hector Gomez draws very much in the style of the late 1990s, with characters that wouldn’t look too far out of place in, say, Witchblade or The Darkness, anorexic women with large breasts. His approach to likenesses is to keep them vague, and any visual novelty comes from the design of assorted vampires representing different nationalities.
Dan Brereton supplies the plot and script, giving the characters an authentic voice, but the bantering dialogue he provides for them doesn’t match the invention of the TV show, and sometimes drops down to feeble. The plot isn’t any great shakes either, never really creating any sense of danger, and pretty well by the numbers. After all these years and countless other Buffy comics it ranks low on the list of what’s available.
The Dust Waltz is now combined with a couple of other Buffy tales originally released as one-off graphic novels and some short stories in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus volume 2.