In Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #13

Relationships change and evolve.

The covers: The Main cover is by the talented Steve Morris which has Willow doing her best imitation of Alice, though hovering above her is not the Catepillar, it’s Aluwyn, whom she’s had a relationship with for some time. Morris did an excellent job in keeping Willow brightly colored and everything else semi-faded to give her surroundings a dream-like state. This is beautiful. The Variant cover is by Rebekah Isaacs and Dan Jackson, which has a sensational image of Buffy in action. Buffy is doing a hand stand flip on a vampire’s head while using the scythe to poke a YOLO cap wearing vampire in the chest, while simultaneously evading another vampire’s knife swing. All this action is going down in a back alley, which is complete with graffiti. I love Isaacs’s art, so this was the cover for me. The image is the best close-up shot of the Slayer I’ve seen in quite a while, and the coloring is perfect. Love the green cloud of destruction on the vamp and the shading on the vampire she’s using for the back flip. Just perfect! Overall grades: Both A+

The story: The moment that fans have been screaming for occurred last month: Buffy and Spike got together. This issue begins with the next morning. Spike is petting a kitten, as Buffy awakes. She asks if he’s evil, and his response is priceless, “No more’n usual.” He gets out of bed remembering the dream he had of killing two innocents the night before, and writes his off-ness before their coming together as a weird dream. Before they can talk further, his phone rings and it’s Dowling, asking for his help at a crime scene. When he shows up he’s shocked to see it’s the two people he dreamed about. Equally disturbing is the messiness of the kill, as if the perpetrator was sending a message. There’s only person Spike can go to for moral help in this time of confusion, and it’s the person he shares a room with. Fans of the series will know exactly what his friend’s reaction will be, and this individual does the expected at the bottom of Page 5, but then writers Christos Gage and Nicholas Brendon do something completely unexpected which leads to a fantastic transition between Pages 7 and 8. I was just as surprised to see where the book went on Page 10. I thought that character was going to get a reprieve for a while, but instead, readers are at his individual’s place for four pages. Surprising and interesting. It was also neat to see a pair of characters go vampire hunting. It’s been a while, so thanks Christos and Nicholas! Pages 19 – 21 have one character hit an emotional wall, and I was glad to see this person comforted by “that” person, and the way they found comfort. Yes, there’s some vampire slaying action, but this is a character driven story where everyone moves forward. Maybe not the way readers would like them to grow, but they’re ending the issue differently from how they began. That’s what ever writer should strive to do in a story. Overall grade: A

The art: This is Megan Levens’s final issue doing the visuals on Buffy, for now, and she goes out with a bang. She begins the book with the morning after shot, with Buffy’s hair a little tussled and Spike petting a kitten. There’s a really excellent contrasting shot in the fourth panel on Page 2 that makes everyone remember graphically what Spike is. I liked the layout of the final panel on that page, showing how Spike is trying to distance himself from the Slayer. I know I’m repeating myself, but Levens does a really good job in having her characters emote, and no one does that better this issue than Spike. He’s got some excellent shots on Page 4, panel five; Page 5, panel four; the top of Page 8; and the last panel on 18. The visuals are strong enough to communicate what he’s feeling. Other characters also are acting out their scenes well, including Buffy, in the middle of 22, Willow on 20, and Xander on 18. Levens also does well on perspective shots, such as at the top of 8. Her ability to show magic is excellent and her vampires are creepy. I’m glad to hear she’s coming back and I really have to track down her series Madame Frankenstein she did with Jamie Rich. Overall grade: A

The colors: Terrific work from Dan Jackson through, starting right out of the gate with the calm, cool colors of the morning. This only increases the impact of the fourth panel on Page 2. That would wake anyone up! There’s another excellent transition with colors at the bottom of Page 3. Page 8 is great with reds for the magic being used, which is matched by the carpet, reinforcing the harshness of the scene. However, the spell isn’t just one color–Jackson has it outlined in orange. Very slick. Eerie greens take over on 16 to match the sickening spell. I like how normal coloring resumes when the individual finally gets a chance to speak in the third panel. Jackson makes the book come to life. Overall grade: A

The letters: The outstanding track record of Richard Starkings and Comicraft Jimmy Betancourt continues. They create the story’s title, dialogue, scene setting, screams, and sounds. The highlights are the perfect sounds on Pages 16 and 17. I really like that FWOOOSH. Overall grade: A

The final line: Relationships change and evolve. Oh, and vampires attack. This is great stuff. 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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