In Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 11 #12

The battle is epic, the magic huge, and the romance wonderful. Marvelous.

The covers: A fantastic twosome to close out this season. The Regular cover is by Steve Morris and it’s a gorgeous image of Buffy standing proudly holding her scythe. She’s surrounded by images of the Scoobies: Dawn, Faith, Spike, Xander, and Willow. This must be a poster. I’d be stunned if this isn’t the cover for the collected edition. I also would like to request that this be a tee shirt. Simply perfection. The Variant cover features script by Christos Gage, art by Rebekah Isaacs, colors by Dan Jackson, and letters by Comicraft. From Harmony and Clem’s suite in Paris where the pair are being rubbed down, the vampire looks on her phone to see that something is happening in San Francisco, again. Before she can tell Clem precisely what the trouble is, she has some choice words for one of the attendants. This was hilarious and made me laugh out loud. The art is great, with Clem’s bliss awesome. Everything about this works, serving as a quick recap in case the reader forgot how last issue ended, as well as giving a great laugh with two supporting characters. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: The dragon that wrecked San Francisco in the first issue is back, but it’s having its power leached by Press Secretary Joanna Wise, who was revealed last issue as being behind the dragon’s attack and the government’s laws against all magical creatures. Willow witnesses the dragon getting zapped and speeds back to Land’s End base, where Spike grabs the woman while Buffy smashes her machine that’s helping her absorb the dragon’s power. Dawn and Xander hold Faith back from entering the fray, as she, and all the potentials, have lost their Slayer abilities, as Buffy’s had them all reverted to her. Wise blasts at Spike, but Buffy jumps between the pair to deflect her energy, but Spike still gets hammered. Just as all seems lost, someone arrives and the mega-fight begins. The fight is good, with its conclusion sure to rank in the top tier of Big Bad defeats. The final ten pages are set “Days Later”, with the gang seeing how the government is going to deal with the clean up, what’s to become of supernatural creatures, what the fate of the potentials is to be, what’s to come of witches, and where does Spike and Buffy’s relationship stand? All of these questions are answered succinctly by Christos Gage, who’s responsible for this book’s script. The third panel on Page 13 contained two characters that had me cheering, the change on 14 had me happy, the dialogue on 15 had me smiling, but Page 18 left me upset. Why this action occurred is completely justified by the text, but I didn’t want it to happen. It’s now too easy for this action to be reversed. I’m hoping that a future season makes this possibility impossible. That said, the last page gave me the feels so much, my displeasure became happiness. This is how I wanted this season to end. It’s the perfect conclusion. Overall grade: A-

The art: Rebekah Isaacs has been one of my favorite artists for her ability to make the characters resemble their television counterparts, create outstanding action sequences, marvelous magic, and terrific settings. One has only to look at the first page to see that she does all of the above: the behemoth is getting blasted and tiny Willow is a witness to it. The point of view shifts from the characters to Land’s End where a tremendous blast of energy is shooting at the beast. With a turn of the page, the reader sees Wise powered up to demigod levels, with Buffy and Spike running at her. The third panel has a great sense of motion. When Wise changes up how she’s battling the pair, she dons a magical field that’s an awesome design and looks incredible with the coloring. The damage done to Spike is sure to make the reader gasp — I did. The entrance at the bottom of 5 is great. The realization on 7 is awesome. The damage done to Buffy had me wondering if Isaacs was allowed to actually allowed to go that far. Pages 10 and 11 have a brilliantly composed conclusion with the action created brilliant. Buffy, Willow, and Dawn’s apartment closes out this series looking as fine as when it first debuted — I could draw a map of this location if asked, it’s rendered so completely. The characters on 16 had my jaw drop and their posture speaks volumes. The close-up of Buffy at the bottom of 18 is just so darn cool. The magic that follows it is beautiful. The last page focuses on a pair of characters with very little dialogue. I continue to get goosebumps reading it, even as I’m writing this review. It’s fantastic. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: Without a doubt, the magic in this book blasts off every page because of Dan Jackson’s coloring. There’s so much magic being thrown about, one would have to be undead to be numb to it. The yellows hitting the dragon on the opening page are stunning. I love how the dragon’s scales are turning red from the power drain. The colors define the intensity of the magic being used on Page 2, with the first panel being hot as hell! The pinks used on Wise after this page make her wonderfully evil. Because she’s so amped-up, the backgrounds begin to take on the same color, showing how dominant she’s become in this issue. The red used on 4, 5, 9, 11, and 12 left me frantic, since that particular shade should never be on the characters! Page 19 has some stellar blues and whites that are heavenly. Mr. Jackson, thank you. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Sounds, dialogue, the story’s title, laughter, a scene setting, a television broadcast, a television crawl, and the final two words are Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt creations. The sounds are spectacular in this issue, with dragon wails, magical blasts, and fighting. The WRAASSH is great! I also have to give a shout out for Wise’s evil laughter. Yes, it’s a villain cliché, but it’s perfect in this issue. I continue to enjoy both these gentlemen’s contributions. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Action, magic, and romance are alive and well in the Buffyverse in this conclusion. The battle is epic, the magic huge, and the romance wonderful. Marvelous. Overall grade: A

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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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