Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #20

by Alan Rapp on April 18, 2013

in Comics

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #20Friendship is at the crux of the latest issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine as one of the Scoobies returns and another will make a choice that may leave his relationship with the Slayer forever damaged. Willow returns with a little newfound magic power (which I’m guessing she got in that recent mini-series I couldn’t be bothered enough to read).

Willow’s return and the return of her bestie’s magic mojo gives Buffy hope that they might be able to save Dawn from the magic (or lack of) which is killing her. Still blaming Buffy for Dawn’s condition, Xander is offered a second alternative to help his girlfriend. Despite dismissing the the offer, he eventually caves and agrees to help Severin and Simone get what they need to stop Twilight from ever happening (which, when you think of how monumentally Season Eight went of the rails, may not be that much of a betrayal).

I’m not sure I like Xander as Judas, especially betraying Buffy to a coldblooded killer like Simone, but I’m willing to wait and let this play out. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #19

by Alan Rapp on March 20, 2013

in Comics

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #19The main storyline is put pretty much on hold as Buffy and Koh catch up with the de-powered Illyria who has been completely drained of her powers by Severin. As to the time-shattereing plans of Severin, we’ll have to wait at least another month as the focus shifts back to the B-story and he strange illness which is slowly killing Dawn.

Even without her powers, Illyria quickly diagnoses the problem. The magic used to keep The Key in human form is failing and the mystical energy is slowly leaving Dawn’s body. Which means yet another person close to her may have been irrelevantly harmed by Buffy deciding to destroy The Seed and end magic in this reality.

The issue ends with Buffy taking responsibility for her action which still isn’t enough for Xander who is watching the woman he loves slowly fade away because Buffy and Angel couldn’t keep it in their pants. Despite the dustup, the pair put their issues aside and work together to help save Buffy’s little sister. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #18

by Alan Rapp on February 18, 2013

in Comics

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #18Buffy, Illyria, and Koh work together to take down Severin, but things get a little complicated when they discover what he’s after (Illyria’s power) and why (to rip apart the fabric of space and time and change the past to save his girlfriend’s life).

The issue also includes Xander‘s growing frustration with Dawn‘s mysterious illness (which apparently is leading to another “let’s trap Dawn in another goofy body” storyline), and the continuing misadventures of Billy the would-be Slayer who continues to investigate Buffy’s disappearance that left Billy and Detective Dowling at the mercy of a mob of zompires.

The Billy story aside, the comic works well as Severin’s motives (if not his logic) are easily understood and Illyria’s ego certainly hasn’t been damaged too much for her time in Los Angeles. However, the last few panels make me a little concerned that the old one’s time in Season Nine may be very short-lived. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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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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