In Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #12

A great entry to the Buffyverse of stories, though the colors are surprisingly dull.

The covers: A really nice cover of Spike vamped out in the center with him and Buffy on either side of the bloody trail he’s left in his supernatural wake. Love how both characters look forlorn. Excellent job by Steve Morris with the red background being the perfect way to showcase this image. I would buy this now if it were a poster. The Variant cover is by Rebekah Isaacs with Dan Jackson and it’s quite good, but from an entirely twisted point of view. Buffy, Xander, and Willow are being swallowed in a sea of bodies. Humans are disintegrating into a gooey liquid, and this series’ hallmark trio are drowning in the bodies, which scream and grab them as they turn to goo. Creepy and cool, with the characters’ faces looking as one would expect. Overall grades: Both A

The story: If you thought last month had a good story, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Part Two of Christos Gage and Nicholas Brendon’s story “Love Dares You” begins with Buffy and Spike finishing that passionate kiss that was begun last issue after they killed some bads in a graveyard. When they part, Buffy asks Spike if he’d like to rekindle their relationship, and he says, “I don’t know.” This floors and angers Buffy, especially after he goes on, in detail, about all the times he’s wanted her and she’s pushed him aside. She storms off, “This was a bad idea.” Watching her run off, he does a facepalm and says to himself, “I’m a wanker.” This is a though echoed by every reader. Whom does Spike turn to find some way to fix this? Hint: he co-wrote this issue. The two pages of advice that Spike gets are as close to a character wearing their heart on their sleeve as writing goes. This conversation is interrupted by a character that had a major change last issue and he’s hilarious in this chapter. I wasn’t too keen on what happened to him last month, but now I’m rolling with his new physique and it’s just fun. Where this character ends up isn’t much of a surprise after what was said earlier, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. Three characters get some fun scenes beginning on Page 18, with the individual on 19 stealing the focus as he storms out. The dialogue between the twosome left is great on 18 and 21. The final two pages show that there’s going to be trouble in paradise, but, then again, this wouldn’t be fun to read if someone wasn’t miserable. A great read! Overall grade: A+

The art: Good visuals on every page from Megan Levens. She gets to illustrate what fans have been clamoring for–Spike and Buffy, together again. But she also gets to give the fans the angst that follows, when Spike rejects the Slayer. I can’t judge an artist by their page layouts, which Levens is good at, but if an artist can have their characters emote (beyond the happy, smiling, and screaming super hero trio of emotions). The bottom of Page 3 has an image of that Buffy that contains no dialogue but says plenty with her facial reaction. There’s a nice mirroring of images on 4 and 5 that is both funny and heartbreaking. The arrival of the character on Page 7 looks like something drawn by Jack Kirby, and that’s exactly the intent Levens should have gone for. The big action scene in the issue could have been more grotesque, but, thankfully, Levens does just enough to show what’s going on, without going over the top in graphic detail. Pages 16 and 17 are worth the cover price of this book alone, and Levens makes it work outstandingly. I’m really enjoying what Levens is bringing to this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: This issue was surprisingly pale this month. Everything looked washed out. Dan Jackson is a superior colorist, whose work I’ve raved over many times, but this month it looks really faded. Take the opening scene in the graveyard; the two characters’ skin tones, their clothes, and the background has those pages looking dim. Things don’t improve in the apartment due to the mustard colored walls, or Spike’s shirt. Ditto on his companion’s shirt. The arrival of the character on 7 only maintains this blah palette. Even the action scene is blasé with all the flesh colors and floor that too closely matches the monsters. Even the sounds continue this monocolored scheme. Brighter colors should have been inserted to mix things up. This is the first time I feel let down by Jackson. Overall grade: C

The letters: Go-to Whedonverse letterers, Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt craft the opening story title, dialogue, scene settings, and sounds. They do their usual excellent work, with the final sounds effects being a nice replay of seasons’ earlier actions. Overall grade: A

The final line: A great entry to the Buffyverse of stories, though the colors are surprisingly dull. Still worth your attention. Overall grade: B+

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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