Dark Horse Day Sampler
Featuring Buffy The Vampire Slayer
“Where Are They Now?”
Writer: Christos Gage, Art: Juanan Ramirez, Colors: Dan Jackson, Letters: Richard Starkings & [Comicraft’s] Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
My Blurb: This story is from a freebie sent out by DH to celebrate their 30 years in the biz [ugh… how has it been this long… I’m so old, so old…]. As such it’s a short story packaged with a sampler of other titles. It takes place during Season 10, and is from *probably* right after Issue 21 when Harmony has “joined” Buffy in alliance against the extra dimensional invasions taking place. It would make sense that Harms would then take that alliance as an excuse to butt into Buffy’s life to “interview” her.
Page 01: We open a Clem giving a lead in on camera for a special presentation for Vampcon 21. Harms interrupts Clem’s big lead up to remind him that he’s supposed to be introducing her, not hogging the camera.
It turns out that Harmony and a small camera/sound crew are standing outside of a 24 hour Laundromat. Which turns out to be where Buffy currently is doing the mundane thing of washing her clothes.
She’s there for a special interview with Buffy Summers… a relic of the old ways of doing things when vampires weren’t following the “no kill/no sire” rules.
Of course, Buffy had no idea this interview was a thing, and so is irritated right off the cuff. And Harmony’s starting with an intro that includes calling Buffy a “used to be Chosen” who then “stupidly shared her powers” and ending with “What’s it like to be kind of boring now?” isn’t actually a good way to start.
Commentary: So, already we can see this is going to be a ‘typical Harmony chaos’ issue. Which, I’m always dubious about going in. Harms is a character who can quickly wear out her welcome.
But I do like this cold opening, especially Harmony’s intro spiel before she gets to Buffy on camera.
Page 02: Buffy’s answer to Harmony is to tell her to get out before she bleaches her, but then she says never mind, she just got a look at her hair. I guess one childish insult deserves another.
Harmony tells her she’s in a public place, and besides this wasn’t only about filming an interview, she’s also there to warn her about a plot to assassinate her.
This is old news to Buffy. She goes to march out, but steps on a live wire on the floor despite Clem trying to warn her that he’s spotted it. Buffy gets a hair-frizzed shock, but she’s half-convinced already that this is a cheap stunt by Harmony to embarrass her.
She stuffs Harmony, the sound guy and the camera operator into washers and storms out. Harmony complains about old prejudices rearing their ugly heads, while camera guy shouts at Clem for touching the camera.
Page 03: The next night, Harmony is back again. This time she’s waylaid Buffy while the Slayer is out with Spike walking down the street. Harmony calls out Buffy about how she feels being the one who is always changing the rules that have existed for millennials. And being a Slayer who is getting old.
Buffy corrects her that it’s “millennia” and tells her to go away, again. But they’re interrupted when Spike gives a shout of warning about a runaway street car barreling down on them.
Spike, Buffy, and Harmony are able to stop the car before it plows into the sidewalk and takes out a few innocent people.
Page 04: The car operator gets out to exclaim thanks for helping, because the breaks suddenly went out.
Harmony points out that she did tell Buffy that somebody was trying to kill her, but Spike points out how convenient it was that this “accident” happened just as she was there to film.
She’s insulted and points out that she could’ve just as easily gotten run down too! Buffy has to correct her that she meant “insinuate” over “insanguinate” during her tirade at Spike. But then she tells Spike they should just go, as date night has been a bit ruined.
Harmony leaps on this to imply the heat of Spuffy has already warn down if they have to schedule these sorts of things. She tells Buffy that it isn’t shocking since Spike has gotten so boring since she leashed him.
Spike starts to argue again, but Buffy tells him there is a better way. Where Harmony then ends up unconscious and bound with the street car bumper around her wrists, while sound guy is also held by a beam of metal and camera guy is thrown through the street car’s windshield.
Sound guy [who appears to be human, while camera guy is vampire, I think] shouts at Clem to film this so they can sue later. Clem reminds him that Camera Guy already told him not to touch the camera.
Commentary: Yeah, okay… this is painless thus far. And because this is a very short work, we can’t really get into depth or anything, but I like that Harmony is trying to stay in show biz by arranging her own spin-off projects. It makes sense.
And, I like that this could be tied directly into her assaults against Buffy’s psyche that she and Vicki were attempting at their confab in Vegas. The side comments are definitely in the same vein. It also feels in Harm’s character to impose herself into Buffy’s life as if she owes her something, since they’re “allies” now while also doing everything she can to “cleverly” undercut her. And Spike. And Her and Spike.
Page 05: Wednesday evening [I.E. The third night in the row], Buffy is with Giles this time. And since Rupert doesn’t have his vast array of books now, they’re meeting for some rules of magic research in the public library.
Harmony waylays them and lights into Giles about why he should be the one, excepting naked narcissism, to be the one writing the rules of magic when it affects everybody?
Rupert tries to explain that they’re the only ones who don’t have ulterior motives for doing so, and also they’ve been very careful to get input from everyone who regularly relies on magic.
Buffy isn’t really interested in explaining anything to Harmony, who is practically becoming a stalker now. But as she readies to give another beat down to Harmony’s team and finally smash the annoying camera, Giles interrupts.
He recognizes Harmony’s sound man as having been a Watcher Trainee before everything went pear shaped for the organization.
Page 06: With this revelation, Buffy finds motives in an ex-Watcher and a Vampire being a working team, and being around during her accidents lately.
With his cover blown, Sound Guy pulls out a Magic Gem, and tells them that he’s glad that they can do this out in the open. Meanwhile, Camera Guy does a shape shift, showing he’s one of the New Breed.
Our two would be killers are pissed because Buffy and her team are looked upon as idiot children playing with primordial forces with no idea what they’re doing, putting every body’s lives in danger and generally “ruining the way things used to be”.
As they begin a more direct attack, Harmony complains that she hired them to shoot a documentary and they could’ve gotten her killed, too! She demands that Clem film them so she can give them a horrible review on Yelp later.
Giles dodges a Gem Blast, while Buffy barely avoids a claw rake.
Commentary: I do like this, too. That it isn’t Harmony trying to betray the alliance so soon, and also that the attacks have, in fact, been tied to her crew being present. I was thinking maybe it was Simone Doffler and it was feeling out of character to me for these types of attempts, so it’s nice that the random baddies were in plain sight.
The chances that Giles, always out with the Council, would nevertheless spot a former Watcher Trainee seems more than a bit dubious. But… short length… I’ll let it slip by me.
Page 07: Buffy pulls out some acrobatic-foo to grab Vampire Bat Humanoid around the neck, and leap up in order to kick Watcher Guy, sending the Gem flying into Giles’ waiting hands.
In the meantime, Rupert throws a book at Buffy since it’s made of wood pulp. And wood pulp, rolled up and compressed with Slayer strength is really just a stake by any other name.
While Giles is firing a Gem Beam into ex-Trainee, and Buffy is staking New Breed, she exclaims that she always said “Knowledge is Power!”
Rupert immediately tells her she never said that and getting her to read anything was excruciating, but she shushes him not to ruin her power moment.
Commentary: I liked that bit of banter between them, too! Y’know, this could’ve been a LOT more lame than it actually turned out. I’m almost ready to see this as a “real story”, if light.
But it doesn’t make our New Breed’s end any less humiliating. The visuals alone of Buffy using a rolled up book to stake him are just something he’ll never live down… posthumously.
Page 08: Sometime shortly later, Mr. Ex-Watcher Trainee has been collected by the SFPD.
Harmony cheers for their team-up in stopping some bad guys and insists that this surely makes Buffy owe her one interview, despite the fact she didn’t actually do anything to help. Which Buffy calls her out on. With Clem once again taking the camera, Buffy warns him off.
Harmony shouts a question at her retreating back though about how breaking all of the rules, like she is constantly doing, doesn’t that lead to her eventually breaking everything? Aren’t the rules there for a reason in the first place?
As Buffy refuses to address the question, Harmony wraps up her “interview” by telling her soon-to-be audience that they can see for themselves. Buffy Just Doesn’t Care.
And she’s obviously going to keep barreling along, changing everything and leaving the ultimate question in her wake: Will Buffy be the best Slayer in history… or the worst?
The Good: I enjoyed Harmony's dialogue, side snark, and the fact that she's actually asking some pretty serious questions, albeit in her usual half-clueless and rude manner.
I also like how you can see that this is really going to be about Harmony still ginning up negative feelings toward Buffy and the Slayers in general with her "fans" when this hits the cons. And Buffy, as usual, doesn't realize she's playing right into be portrayed as the bad guy, again.
I like the questions being asked, but ignored, about Rupert's insistence on being the ones to write the rules. Am I the only one who took his "We/I don't have ulterior motives" as being a bit too flip and uncritical of what he's doing to be entirely believable? Everybody has ulterior motives, even if they're unconscious and Rupert should be the one who is constantly asking himself WHY he wants to make any particular change before he actually goes through with it. Harmony's question is surprisingly insightful toward Giles and I wasn't happy with his answer.
The Bad: It wasn't bad!
Other Thoughts: Okay, our bad guys were a bit foolish looking. But considering the limited page space, I think they were handled okay. And I liked the twist of an Ex-Watcher Trainee teaming up with a New Breed vampire to go after Buffy. But neither one of them clearly having the wits and tactical planning to be successful.
The Score: 3.50 out of 5 stars ... yes, better than the S-10 final arc has been written the last few issues.