Story Mini-Review & Recommend:
Before I get to the mini-review, this story is the first in a series, "Hunting and Slaying", which plays right into my current weakness (still!) of drawing Whedon's Buffyverse and Kripke's Supernaturalverse into one shared reality. A second story is in the works, but for this review we'll only be speaking of 'Grand Canyon', by an author known as LolaAnn. As second story in this series still in WIP status.
The basic premise is that Sam and Dean need a little down time (but only Sam seems to recognize the fact) from the "something-universal-threatening-is-comi
And, Buffy needs a break from the training of the newbie Slayers and she wants that break with Dawn, dammit. Dawnie, meanwhile, is about as excited over this trip to a 'big hole in the ground' as Dean.
The most wonderful thing about this first chapter is really 'chipper-Buffy' and Dawn trapped in the car with her. But, I also love references to Dean and Sam's apocalyptic adventure against Lucifer. The Slayers were all getting geared up for another end of the world thing, only to find out that it just suddenly petered out and they weren't needed. This is a small part of what has made Buffy so happy.
Of course, you know it isn't long before some adventure or another interrupts any normal-person activities, even while the Hunters & Slayers are supposed to be vacationing!
The Good: I love the Buffy / Dawn interaction. Dawn is bratty, but without pushing the boundaries into bitch!Dawn and the author doesn't lose sight of the fact that Dawn does love her sister... she just doesn't want to be trapped with her for an extended period of time. And I really loved how Buffy would not be deterred in chapter one.
I also love the more coarse humor between Sam and Dean. I'm thinking specifically of Sam & Dean discussing mules at the rim of the Canyon... chuckle....
I like the humor on the 'cute meet' scene too; both camps are spinning the tales about what they do for a living, each one suspecting the other is full o' lies. It's pretty funny.
Buffy and Dawn vs. Dean and Sam in the wits department outside of the Cave of Mystery was definitely a highlight. So love Buffy throughout this story.
I like the Sam/Dawn dynamic a lot.
The Bad: Nuthin' is badly done on this story. There be kudos.
Other Thoughts: It's not enough to place it in the bad, but Dean's schtick was really wearing thin in chapter 4. It also felt like his character was taken backward to S1 Dean. Finally, I do feel like the insta-fall-all-over-himself for Buffy was a bit overdone.
I also didn't really like Chapter 10 much, just because it wandered too much under a weird circumstance for reminiscing. Again, it wasn't bad at all, just... misplaced.
I'll also have to admit that I didn't completely buy the 'romance' of Dean and Buffy. I didn't not-buy it, either.
Also, the interaction of Willow dropping in on Buffy & Dean and that chapter in general seemed to be more about space filling than advancing plot. Again, it wasn't badly done at all... it just seemed like a lot of empty dialog considering that Willow was there for very specific reasons.
The Scoring: I really liked this story, more for the characters and the dialog than for the basic 'monsters of the week'. I also really liked the dovetailing of Buffy & Dawn with Dean & Sam over a shared vacation which one person wanted and the other was more bored about. If there was any hang up I personally had, it was the Buffy/Dean interplay when it came to the non-Slaying activities - it just felt forced to me, the way that their getting interested in each other played out. There were a few chapters that seemed to wander off on tangents a bit too much under the specific circumstances as a way to shout out to past Buffy/Supernatural episodes, but these details could have been easily placed as tales over beer, rather than where they appeared.
I also have a slight (it is slight) problem with Cas being brought into the story. His presence wasn't needed here, and you can't really bring him up without also bringing up Buffy's being dead for that summer, which would bring up the number of times Dean and Sam have been dead and that just leads to lots and lots of rambling... I think it would have been better to keep Castiel off panel for this one.
I liked the way the story ended to allow Buffy to get back to the Council and Dean & Sam to get back on the hunt, while also allowing the door to stay open on a follow up.
3.75 out of 5
A few notes on what is coming up: Next is going to be BTVS, S8 #25, whose review has already been started.
Next, there will the completion of the reading and a review/recommendation of MissAnnThropic's Dean/Cas fiction, "Leap That Makes The Fall" (title love). I'm on chapter 17.
My WATCHERS-forum pal, Charles Kelly, will have a fiction review here for: "Balloon Payments".
Then 4th on the list is another movie review for the oft-mentioned and finally getting to: Kill Baby Kill!