In our last issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #28, the Scoobies had hatched a plot with the faeries, the military, and other forces for one final attempt to thwart D’Hoffryn’s plans for using the Vampyr book. The Scoobies manage to convince everyone that D’Hoffryn cannot change the rules of magic. That simple belief is enough to keep D’Hoffryn from making changes to the book, and the frustrated Demon Lord is forced to take the fight to the slayer’s doorstep.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #29 is appropriately titled “Own It – Part 4: Vengeance”. The characters are continuing to deal with the consequences of their past decisions, not only admitting their faults but embracing any negative blowback, which is where the vengeance comes in. The Scoobies have gone from being teenagers trying to save the world from evil, and have grown into adults -trying to save the world from evil. Resentment and grudges are put aside, and the group has to take up the responsibilities of bearing their former mistakes while tackling the present problem of D’Hoffryn.
Christos Gage has taken a title that Joss Whedon had put to television and made it his own. There was a time when the comic served to fill in gaps in the plot of the television series. Because of this, regular audiences of the comic book were better versed in the Buffy world than the average UPN viewer. Gage has made Buffy the Vampire Slayer something that served to finish some of the smaller stories that the show couldn’t.He also takes audiences to new places with new challenges and new enemies that force the Scoobies to mature, just as readers have over the years.
In the dialogue, there are small quips that tend to show a bit of childish humor, a tradition that has been present ever since the first movie written by Whedon in ‘92. Even as the Scoobies are facing D’Hoffryn, there are small one-liners that serve to lighten the mood. Whether this is a conscious decision by Gage to keep the mood from getting too dark or a theme of the entire series that refuses to see itself too seriously, the audience might appreciate the consistency to the source material and the tone it set. However, seeing the characters grow-up and the audience growing up as well, the tone could be darker without sacrificing too much wit/humor. Generating a laugh doesn’t have to be with cheesy-one liners, but it can be with situations or lines with darker humor. Hopefully. I think growing up with that comedic approach wouldn’t hurt the original by deviating from it, but compliment it in a way to say, “Yes, we’ve grown up too.”
Rebekah Isaacs continues to deliver with an art style that is both detailed and bright. The colors certainly stand out as there is very little shadow to be seen on the pages. She continues the Archer-style of art in the character design. The backgrounds are less detailed, and are meant to highlight the characters more than the setting. Yet, we can still see there is a stark contrast between the world where The Slayer resides and the world of the vengeance demons and D’Hoffryn. One world is the calm before the storm, an apartment in seeming serenity as the Scoobies prepare for an all-out battle with the Big Bad, versus the corporate world of a reddened and greyed landscape where monsters are constantly tearing at each other and the main antagonist at the center of it all, attempting to take over the world.
If there is anything to critique of this art style, it’s that there are situations that seem to call for more darkness, and the environment doesn’t seem to convey that idea. For the last issue, the situations that the Scoobies were facing may not have been appropriate to a dark environment, and I think the issue was served better because of it. Yet there are things happening in this issue that needed a little more darkness in the panels. When facing a situation that puts the fate of the world in the hands of a demon, one would expect a bit more darkness on set to give the audience a sense of that mood.
The ominous feelings of overwhelming shadows, and evil, and doom tend to be dark and scary, per human perceptions and traditional thought on the subject. Even the Buffy show went darker than the original 1992 movie, because this is what Whedon intended. There were aspects of the show that were dimly lit and we felt that the situation was grim because of it. When it comes to D’Hoffryn and his corps of vengeance demons, I don’t get that same grim feeling, because the setting is too brightly lit and colorful.
When reading the last issue, I was getting caught up on the lore that the previous titles were building upon, and appreciated some of the choices that the author and artist had made to continue the series with the same themes while attempting to make the Buffy world their own. Even with the little concerns that I have regarding art style and some of the dialogue choices, I still believe Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #29 to be a solid title that can stand alongside the strength of the series, if not standing alone on its own merit. Christos Gage is writing the story of young adults becoming adults, and making decisions to deal with their past, whatever the consequence. Rebekah Isaacs is consistent with her art style, putting detail into the characters whether they are the focus of the frame or in the background fiddling with equipment, preparing for the upcoming battle. A battle that will be concluded in the next issue!
- Writing shows characters that have grown/accepted responsibility
- Art is consistent and detailed
- Writing continues where show left off flawlessly
- Art style lacks darkness/shadow where setting might call for it
- Humor too cheesy and may be ill-fitted to the scenario