Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 11 #6

Once you read a page, you can't stop. Highest possible recommendation.

The covers: Steve Morris’s artwork for the Regular cover completely won me over for this issue’s frontpieces. Buffy and Spike are still in the internment camp, but they look to be enjoying themselves at night: she’s sitting on a rock, looking at what her undead boyfriend is pointing at underneath a starry sky. Both characters perfectly resemble the actors who played them on television. This could be incredibly romantic, were it not for the ogre behind them that’s raised a boulder to bring down upon them. The art is wonderful, with fantastic details, such as what Spike is drinking from, the tread on Buffy’s boot, and the veins in the ogre’s leg. Utterly fantastic. The Variant cover features script by Christos Gage, art by Rebekah Isaacs, colors by Dan Jackson, and text by Comicraft. It’s another “missing scene” that starts this issue’s story. Spike and Buffy are walking among the trailers where the camp’s inhabitants live. She’s waxing philosophic about being a trustee, feeling that being one will make their lives easier. Oooh, if only she could see what’s ahead of them. The script is funny, the visuals cool and ironic, and the colors perfect for the night. Another winner from all involved. Overall grade: Regular A+ and Variant A

The story: The incredibly relevant story titled “Back to the Wall” starts with Buffy off to work as a trustee. She sees Willow who asks if she’s doing the right thing permanently removing magic from five women. Buffy tells her that she knows what she’s doing is difficult, “But things keep getting worse in here. You’re doing what’s best for them, Wil, even though it’s hard. That’s the definition of the right thing.” This sounds like a lost quote from one of the television episodes, proving that writer Christos Gage is the perfect person to script this series. As they separate, a flying eyeball watches and notifies the ogre that Buffy is on her way to the ambush. One of the creatures flicks its tail, sending several poisoned spikes at her, with one embedding itself in her leg. The ogre and his seven allies then launch their attack, though two quickly learn that she won’t go down easily. The battle is fierce, with its conclusion on 8 shiver inducing. The information learned on this page and 9 explains much and allows Buffy to go forward with a plan that she, Spike, and Wil began to make last issue. Before that plan can occur, Willow gets the spotlight with someone close trying to get closer. This leads to the heroic trio going into action, with each playing a key part. Spike does what Spike does best, Buffy acts casual, while Willow uses magic in a very familiar way. How Buffy and one character exit on 19 is very suspenseful. I was pleased to see that the characters have learned something, but they, and the readers, are still missing key pieces. Action is definitely called for, but what to do? A great cliffhanger of a tremendous impending danger to keep fans anxious for a month. Overall grade: A+

The art: Rebekah Isaacs returns as artist and the book looks resplendent. Her characters are close enough to resembling the characters from the small screen, yet they are her own creations. She is outstanding at giving her characters tremendous emotions and fans will be won over by the love upon Spike’s face as Buffy kisses him good-bye as she leaves for work. The worry followed by relief on Willow’s face shows a reader her heart without dialogue. Peeper who flutters above the pair is a creepy looking creature that hopefully will return in a later issue. However, look beyond Peeper: that’s some great perspective and layout to explicitly show the reader where Buffy and Wil are in relation to each other. The ambush that follows is great: it goes on for several pages and shows the Slayer fighting a variety of foes. I gasped at the top of Page 4, cheered on 5, and shuddered at the top of 8. Buffy doesn’t get through this fight easily, and the damage that she shows only proves that Isaacs can beat up Buffy and still make her look strong. The last panel on Page 13 has the Slayer striking a pose that’s as natural as if it was created by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Spike’s outfit on 15 is practical, cool, and badass. The third panel on 16 is terrific, but I can’t state what it is without spoiling anything, and its follow up on 19 is just as outstanding. Willow’s wince on 20 will be felt by every reader. The book closes out with Buffy passionate and determined — I love her pose in the third panel. A close up of the Slayer ends this installment, making the reader feel her words and remember them during the thirty day wait for next issue. Overall grade: A+  

The colors: The mountains where the camp is located provide a beautiful background to the characters. They are teased in the first panel on the first page, but Dan Jackson really makes them incredible in the second panel, with the rusted orange being a good way to put focus on Buffy. When the reptile man launches his spikes, the background goes a vivid reptile green to reinforce his look. This green background continues, allowing the strong crimson of Buffy’s scythe to pop off the page. The tone work done on the characters on Page 5 is really cool, with the second and third panels being awesome. Willow’s use of magic employs several different colors, with each bringing her abilities to life outstandingly. Speaking of Miss Rosenberg, notice how reds increase on 10, matching the increase in warm emotions. Every page and every panel shows Jackson the master of color. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt are responsible for crafting the book’s dialogue, character’s unique speech, the story’s title, sounds, yells, grunts, screams, scene settings, whispers, and the three word tease for next issue. There’s a considerable amount of dialogue in some panels, yet it never gets shrunken to better fit or overlap key parts of the art. This is a clear sign of letterers who know what they are doing. The opening fight scene has some terrific sounds, which look like the actions that are occurring, with SLLCK and SHNT being killers. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Once you read a page, you can’t stop. The supernatural horrors and the ever-growing mystery will suck you in and leave you completely satisfied. This is how comic books should always be. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To purchase a print copy go to http://www.tfaw.com/Comics/Profile/Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-Season-Eleven-6-Steve-Morris-cover___533908?utm_source=darkhorse&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=darkhorse_buy&utm_term=buy+Buffy+the+Vampire+Slayer+Season+11+%236 

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-Season-11-6/digital-comic/486496?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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