Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Stake to the Heart

Author: Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Cliff Richards and Brian Horton
Titan Books
RRP: £8.99
1 84023 880 1
Available 25 June 2004

Buffy Summers, the Chosen One, the Slayer, is dealing with a horror she is powerless to stop - the divorce of her parents. Adolescence is tough enough without the added distress of a family falling apart, not to mention the responsibility of standing alone against the powers of darkness. In an incredibly misguided attempt to alleviate Buffy's pain, the vampire with a soul, Angel, has unleashed a group of Malignancy Demons upon her and her family. They feed on the pain of the Summers family and bring to life the negative emotions which grip them...

A Stake to the Heart is a different kind of Buffy graphic novel, one that pretty much deals with real world problems rather than another apocalypse.

Set before the TV show, it shows the turmoil the Summers girls deal with as their parents decide to divorce. Angel has Whistler by his side, and already keeping an eye on the Buffster from the shadows, he decides to try and help the family by conjuring up a spell that will suck their negative emotions into him. However, it goes slightly askew and instead the family becomes tormented by a set of monsters that personify their emotions and fears.

Step by step Buffy has to overcome the monsters and the fears they bring out; deceit, guilt, abandonment and trepidation, before they destroy what is left of her family.

A very dark book, A Stake to the Heart is well written and definitely worth picking up, although you can might feel very down after reading it!

In addition to a great story, the artwork is amazing, with an extra couple of pages tagged on the end dedicated to showing you how they came up with the design for each monster and how their portray that emotion.

Not a happy-go-lucky kinda book, but that doesn't mean it's not worth checking out.

Keri Allan

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