Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #17

by Alan Rapp on January 13, 2013

in Comics

Buffy Summers‘ world gets even more complicated by the arrival of Illyria who uses her mostly restored powers to rip the Slayer from her battle with zompires (forcing Billy and Detective Dowling to make do on their own) and transporting Buffy to a gathering of magical beings.

As Buffy meets with a council of magically-imbued creatures trapped in this dimension (including D’Hoffryn), Billy’s faith in his new profession is shaken, Dowling is almost killed, and back at home Xander‘s anger is out of control and Dawn is felled by some unseen force.

Unaware of what is happening with her friends, Buffy agrees to help the council stop Severin whose power continues to grow. She even accepts the help of Illyria and Koh, neither of whom Buffy is sure she can trust as the powerful threesome walk right into Severin’s trap.

A good issue and I’m happy to see Illyria, although her account of her recent activities does seem to contradict Angel After the Fall. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #16

by Alan Rapp on December 18, 2012

in Comics

btvs-season-nine-16-coverAfter Jane Espenson‘s two-part story Season Nine returns its focus to Buffy Summers taking on Zompires on the streets of San Fransicso, although it looks like the character of Billy will be sticking around for the foreseeable future and may have a larger role this season than I’d like.

Even with the addition of Billy, and the continued absence of Willow, things get back to normal as our slayer gets her love interest for the season, finds out some zompires are more powerful than others, and gets a surprise when a Whedon favorite makes her first appearance in Season Nine.

Honestly, the Billy storyline curtailed my interest in the season by quite a bit. However, flipping through the comic and seeing the introduction of (the still magically-imbued) Illyria into the new arc was enough for me to pick this one up and stick around to see where things go from here. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #14

by Alan Rapp on October 18, 2012

in Comics

btvs-season-nine-14-coverThe latest issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine isn’t what I expected. For one thing neither Buffy Summers nor any of the regular or new supporting players make an appearance.

Instead Jane Espenson, writer of some good (“Band Candy,” “Pangs,” “Checkpoint“) and not-so-good (“I Was Made to Love You,” “Doomed,” “The Harsh Light of Day“) episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s seven-year run on television, gives us a tale of a young gay teen named Billy who puts up with mean jocks and begins fighting zompires.

I understand what Espenson is doing here, but the story is pretty damn pat (he ends up having to stake and kill the football jock who has been harassing him). This kind of story would seem to fit much better in something like the Tales of Slayers anthology series than in the middle of an ongoing season arc. If I had found it there, or if was just a one-issue tale (I don’t need a second month of Billy’s misadventures), I might give it a pass, but 14 issues in, as the season is still trying to find its focus, it simply doesn’t work. Pass.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #13

by Alan Rapp on September 15, 2012

in Comics

btvs-season-nine-13-cover“Guarded” comes to an end as Buffy has to save the life of her client from the demon she brought in as added muscle and destroy TINCAN, the Senior Partners sole connection to Earth. Oh, and she punches out her boss, too.

There’s plenty of action, and the arc is wrapped up satisfactorily. However, I am disappointed (though far from surprised) by the story’s epilogue. For a show, and now comic, about a character growing up and changing Buffy sure seems to be stuck in neutral as she chooses martyrdom and over the lucrative offer Kennedy offers her (which would also allow her to continue using her gifts to save people in need), even after the black eye Buffy gave her.

I know the point of the season is to return the character back to basics, and her decision sure wants to be profound, but it simply doesn’t come off that way. Instead it feels far too much like the old self-centered Buffy long before she learned to rely on others to help her with her calling. Hit-and-Miss.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #12

by Alan Rapp on August 15, 2012

in Comics

btvs-season-nine-12-coverWorking for Kennedy‘s new Slayer bodyguard service Buffy learns that Wolram & Hart want their latest client dead, and for good reason. Hired by the company to build a digital portal into the Hell Dimension where the Senior Partners live, it’s now the only link to the Earth following Buffy destroying the Seed at the end of Season Eight.

Unwilling to take the chance that the man might try to shut it off, knowing it would be impossible to turn back on, the Senior Partners have put a hit on the programmer. Despite the loss in money and prestige, he knows the only way to save his life is to destroy what he’s created, but that’s easier said than done.

To destroy TINCAN means shutting down the servers deep under the company’s headquarters which are guarded by a many-tentacled Teuth Demon. It also means wiping user data, stealing billions in advertising, and making enemies of several rich and influential people.

Realizing she and Kennedy need help Buffy calls in the debt Koh owes her, but things don’t go exactly as planned. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #11

by Alan Rapp on July 18, 2012

in Comics

btvs-season-nine-11-coverLooking for a fresh start Buffy joins Kennedy‘s force of high-priced Slayer bodyguards but finds it difficult to shut off her normal instincts when faced with demons and the new Zompire infestation.

I like seeing the comic continue to incorporate more of the wider Buffyverse and Kennedy is an interesting choice as, although the weren’t ever enemies, she and Buffy were never exactly friends. The idea of several of the Slayers joining up for a private corporate security company also makes a lot of sense, although I’m not sure (from what we saw of her in Season Seven) I’d have picked Kennedy for the corporate head honcho. Although I do like the choice of a client fleeing from Wolfram & Hart.

A couple of other interesting tidbits: Spike‘s friend Eldre Koh of the Nitobe needs help in his quest for vengeance (which seems really hard to be setting something up that doesn’t really fit in this issue) and Buffy learns the police under Detective Dowling have started a special task force to deal with the Zompires. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #10

by Alan Rapp on June 20, 2012

in Comics

btvs-season-nine-10-coverBuffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #10 concludes the “Apart of Me” storyline which found Buffy‘s consciousness trapped in the body of a Buffybot and her body’s new personality under the brainwashing of psycho slayer Simone.

Although I think the arc has provided some nice moments it ends more with a whimper than a bang. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not a bad issue, but it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect (without a big Buffy vs. Buffy throwdown). Buffy gets reunited with herself, Simone gets away, and everything goes back to normal (or whatever Buffy’s version of normal is).

The only real lasting effect of the arc is Spike, realizing there’s no hope for vamp and slayer, deciding on his own to leave. Although it provides a nice moment for Spike it also removes yet another one of the comic’s most entertaining characters. Next issue marks the return of Kennedy who hopefully will breathe some new life back into the Buffyverse. For fans.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #9

by Alan Rapp on May 10, 2012

in Comics

btvs-season-nine-9-coverAs Spike and the Buffybot track down a former enemy, and old friend, who is responsible for Buffy’s consciousness being trapped in the robot, Xander and Dawn help Detective Dowling hunt down his former partner turned zompire, and Buffy’s unprotected body finds herself at the mercy of crazy slayer with a grudge Simone.

Although I’m still a little disappointed but the abrupt change of direction the series took in the last couple of issues, there are some nice moments here. Andrew coming clean with why he put Buffy’s mind in a Buffybot has just the right mix of misplaced generosity and foolishness that the character has always been known for.

The callback to Xander slaying Jesse in the series opener “Welcome to the Hellmouth” was a nice touch and seems to be returning to more clear-cut version of vampires taking over (instead of taking on the character traits of) their human hosts than we saw in the last couple seasons of Angel.

The final panel suggests we’re going to get to see Buffy vs. Buffy in the next issue, which certainly works for me. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #8

by Alan Rapp on April 16, 2012

in Comics

btvs-season-nine-8-coverThe search to discover the truth behind how Buffy was replaced with a Buffybot with all of the Slayer’s memories leads one-armed mechanical Buffy and Spike to the one person they know with experience in this type of thing – Andrew.

It turns out not only is Andrew responsible for downloading Buffy’s brain and sticking it into a robot, but he did it to help the Slayer. Now the group has to retreive Buffy’s real body (which is living out an idyllic life in the suburbs with no knowledge of who she really is) before someone else finds her. However, they may already be too late.

With the first big Season Nine twist writer Andrew Chambliss keeps going for the unexpected. This isn’t some nefarious plot by a big bad to hurt the Slayer, but an ill-thought-out attempt by a friend to keep her safe. Meanwhile, with the Slayer out of action Xander and Dawn help Detective Dowling with his Zompire problem. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #7

by Alan Rapp on March 17, 2012

in Comics

btvs-season-nine-7-coverGiven her current situation Buffy decides to move out of her apartment (not realizing that both Anaheed and Tumble want her to stay) and onto the bug ship with Spike. Because, you know, nothing says normal like living on an alien spaceship with your undead ex-boyfriend.

When Detective Dowling finds himself overmatched with a vampire nest he pulls Spike away from an awkward heart-to-heart with Buffy. It’s the post-fight fallout however that will leave the vampire, and readers, stunned as writer Andrew Chambliss throws a huge curveball into a controversial, but very strong, story arc I’ve really enjoyed. I’m a little pissed at the decision, but I’ve got to admit I didn’t see it coming.

I’m not sure exactly what this means for Buffy’s pregnancy or her relationship with Spike, but from what we see at the end of this issue I’m going to assume things are going to get far more complicated before the season arc decides to answer either of those questions. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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