In Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #9

This shows it's not about the slayings, it's about the characters.

The covers: Buffy is standing behind some ornate iron work, with small, almost ghostly, images of Xander, Dawn, and Spike surrounding her. This is an ethereal image made even more intense by the coloring. It almost seems as if she feels trapped by her friends and the worlds that exist around her own. Excellent work by Steve Morris. The Variant cover is by Rebekah Isaacs with Dan Jackson. This cover has Buffy and Spike back to back in a wooden room that has red Japanese lanterns handing from the ceiling. She sports a pike, while Spike has a stake. I love the looks on their faces and their poses. It’s also nice to see Buffy wearing a top with a pattern on it. Overall grades: Both A

The story: This issue concludes Christos Gage’s “Return to Sunnydale.” Deep within the ruins of Sunnydale, Buffy and Spike are trying to stop the Soul Glutton from taking any soul from the hereafter, for if it did it would be unstoppable. This makes Spike the weakest link in their battle, since he has a soul and he’s from the hereafter. The reason these blondes are in the bowels of their former home town is because Andrew has taken the all powerful book of magic down there to resurrect someone. Everyone has assumed that he wishes to bring back Buffy baddie Warren, but Willow discovers that it’s her former lover Tara that he wants to return to life. There’s quite a bit of physical action as Buffy and Spike try to take down the demon that could go toe to toe with Godzilla, and Willow has to confront Andrew. The way both problems are overcome are good, with the highpoint being Willow’s dialogue. How can a story go wrong with Willow being this well written? There are no jarring surprises in the end, though there is a suggestion of more to come with the appearance of an individual on the final page. Well played, Mr. Gage. Well played. Overall grade: A

The art: I’ve always enjoyed the way Rebekah Isaacs draws her characters and this issue is no exception. Her Buffy and Spike are aces and I love the emotion she puts on their faces. Their looks of frustration and fear are always great. Spike’s body language tells so much about his character. I also really love her Willow Rosenberg. That second page is perfection. Willow’s scenes with Andrew are the highlight of the issue as there’s a lot of swirly magic involved and the reader is unsure what Andrew is going to do. The Soul Glutton is a literal monster, and watching it try to stomp two of the heroes in the tight confines of a cave are very entertaining. I love the look of this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: Wonderful work from Dan Jackson on this issue. The majority of the action is set in a cave. How exciting has this got to be for a colorist? By all accounts, this book should be either brown or black for its backgrounds, yet Jackson doesn’t do that, and the book is the better for it. Take a look at Page 2. Things begin darkly as one would expect, but as Willow moves about (panel three) the background lightens up, turning to a beautiful lime in panel four. The final panel on the page is lit brightly, due to candles, but the item that they are illuminating is gorgeously gold. Notice also that Jackson colors the story’s title in the same gold. This is great way to move the reader’s eye from left to right. Jackson is working this book like a boss. Overall grade: A

The letters: The scene settings, dialogue, sounds, story title, a scream, and next issue’s tease are by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. I love the bold lettering used for the scene settings and the sounds are spot on. Overall grade: A

The final line: A great emotional conclusion that’s true to the characters’ appearances on television. This shows it’s not about the slayings, it’s about the characters. Overall grade: A

 

 

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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