The master and the servant.
Dracula decides to help but not in a way that may be universally liked.
With the laws of magic in limbo and the vampires over-powered, Buffy is pulling out all stops to reach the bottom of this.
Nicholas Brendon, the actor who played Xander, and Christain Gage write a fun Dracula while exploring Xander’s different relationships.
As usual, Issacs is wonderful as usual but the artwork never reaches the heights of her best.
Xander and Dawn have arrived at Castle Dracula and what follows is sheer comedy.
Whether it be Xander telling Dawn that Dracula can only react to and not cause lightning (making Dracula say that he doesn’t know him anymore) or Dracula calling Dawn a ‘child bride’, Gage is in top form writing Dracula.
Reaching San Francisco, Dracula confronts two of the vampires about to feed on humans and he is helped by the Scooby Gang.
There is some clever mix of science and magic by Willow, and Dracula finally admitting that the world has changed without telling him.
Reaching Xander’s flat, there is more comedy on Dracula’s part where he designates it as ‘the servant’s quarters’ while Andrew acts like a fanboy fawning over him.
They discuss some interesting ideas like ‘What is magic?’ and ‘Who is Dracula’ and the explanations are rather deep.
Dracula suggests capturing one of the new vampires and studying it to find out what spells have been cast to enable them to transform and walk in sunlight. Due to it being day, Spike and Dracula have to sit this one out.
Willow and Buffy reach a place but are unable to find anyone. Sharing a tender moment, they move on in their search.
As night arrives, Dracula enters Xander’s premises and demands he be allowed to insert new incantations into the original Vampyr book.
Giles is opposed to this, but Xander, half under the thrall of Dracula, knocks him out. Spike wakes up but is flanked and impaled.
Dawn tries to get Xander to snap out of it, but even after saying she loves him, he leaves as he doesn’t believe it to be genuine.
When Buffy and Willow return with a captured vamp, they find Dawn crying, Spike groaning and Giles knocked out.
Dracula is easily the highlight of this issue as his dialogues are a laugh-a-minute until things turn deadly serious in the last half. Xander’s feelings of loneliness (physically manifesting as Anya’s ghost before) allow him to easily follow Dracula and the two make an awesome stand-up comedy pair.
With a laugh riot, coupled with some serious introspection and a nice twist, this issue moved things forward quite well.
Dracula stole the spotlight but Xander had some great character moments as well.
So, I give it 8.5 out of 10.
+Dracula on fire
+Xander’s character moments
-Sidelining of most of the characters
-Much of the humor was filler