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

Another winner of an issue and a perfect place to start reading. When will Harmony get that spin-off mini-series?

The covers: The Main cover by Steve Morris is a shot of Buffy in a graveyard taking out two vampires. She’s in the process of stabbing one in the chest with a stake as she high kicks the other in the face. It’s an excellent image, but the content is generic. This could be placed on any issue of Buffy from any time period and it would fit, since she is a vampire slayer. There’s also not a lot of detail in the illustration, something not usually found in Morris’s work. The graves are suggestions and much of the space is a peach background for the sky. Again, this is nice, but generic. The Variant cover by Rebekah Isaacs with Dan Jackson is flat out fun. Dawn, Buffy, Willow, and D’Hoffryn are at a spa getting mani-pedis. The two sisters are chatting, Willow is relaxing in bliss, and the master of vengeance demons seems ticked that a woman is having to file his nails down. The coloring is so smart, with everything being colored naturally, save D’Hoffryn’s blue-grey skin, with slight highlights on his beard to draw the reader’s eye more. An outstanding “Day in the Life” cover with one element to make it supernaturally funny. Overall grades: Main B- and Variant A+  

The story: “Day Off (Or Harmony In My Head)” by Christos Gage is going to crack up readers. Buffy is helping Willow get dressed for a job interview. The redhead suggests that Buffy could get a better paying job, but the Slayer knew what she was getting into when she “chose the freelancer’s life.” However, she also has other duties, like writing the rules of magic and being visited by those petitioning for her to write specific rules–in her living room is a drunk leprechaun, a Japanese lucky cat, and Cedric the Slime Man. D’Hoffryn appears to tell her she better speak with those three, and perhaps create an oversight committee on magic. Buffy tables that for later, and Gage seems to be laying some groundwork for D’Hoff to make a move for power. After dealing with the three in her room, Vicki appears, one of the new vampires that can walk in daylight, transform into a bat, etc. Things couldn’t get worse, until Harmony Kendall walks in with Clem. Her addition to the story takes it into some unexpected directions, with Pages 13 and 14 being the stuff of fans’ dreams or nightmares. Gage does an exceptionally spot-on job with her dialogue. It’s impossible not to hear Mercedes McNab’s voice as Harmony speaks. Her scenes with Spike are great, especially at the bottom of Page 8. The ending on Page 17 was hilarious and perfectly in character for that character’s action. The final two pages of the issue return to some past villains this season and suggest they’re coming back for more. Gage is mining gold. Overall grade: A+

The art: I make no secret of the fact that Rebekah Isaacs is one of my favorite artists. She can draw anything well, and she’s frequently called upon to do that on Dark Horse’s Whedon books. In this issue she has to create all the well known characters, three supernatural creatures, Buffy’s apartment, Spike and Xander’s apartment, Harmony’s new world order, and the last two pages with the big bads. I love the emotions streaming out of her characters: Buffy’s anger on 3, Harmony’s perfect entrance, the handshake on 6, the finger at the top of 7 and Buffy’s “Let’s do this.” Pages 13 and 14 will wind up on the Internet forever on fan sites. The creatures of the last two pages look sensational. I love this work and I look forward every month to seeing what Isaacs has created. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Great work from Dan Jackson this month has his colors doing a lot. D’Hoffryn’s entrances and exits are always so cool in the bright blue that Jackson uses. The panels that don’t have any backgrounds, due to the space needed for much dialogue, are colored to match the mood of the scene. Notice how the peach walls of Buffy’s place turn into soothing green once Harmony tries to make peace between the Slayer and Vicki. Spike and Xander’s place is mustard colored, but on 10 and 11 note how Jackson changes up the background to match the emotion of what’s transpiring. Slick work from Jackson. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The holy trinity of a letterer’s job falls upon Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt–dialogue, scene settings, and sounds. I like having some of the dialogue italicized so I can better hear a character’s emphasis and the sounds, such as Harmony’s squeal and kiss, which are completely in line with the character. This is well done. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Another winner of an issue and a perfect place to start reading. When will Harmony get that spin-off mini-series? 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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