Buffy: The High School Years—Freaks & Geeks

While Buffy the Vampire Slayer is continuing its 10th season in comic format, Buffy: The High School Years takes readers back to the television show’s first season. Part of a new, ongoing series, this short tale returns readers to a less convoluted—though no less deadly—time for the Scooby gang. For a franchise that’s built on long and layered character relationships, there’s something refreshing about stripping the characters down to their roots. Author Faith Erin Hicks nails Joss Whedon’s signature banter and use of supernatural forces to explore, threaten and comment on humanity—though the plot does recall the Season 6 story arc. Doe-like eyes and epic action panels give Yishan Li’s art a manga twist that maintains character recognition while giving the series its own style. Hicks’ story, Li’s art and the book’s 77, quick-read pages suggest a more casual read, very episodic—perhaps for younger readers—but the target demo may find the $10 price tag too high.