It’s the perfect start to the season. First issues can be difficult to tackle, just as the first episode of a TV season can be a challenge, but Gage and Issacs start their Buffy run off with the grace and boldness that the fans have come to love from the creative team’s work on Angel & Faith. Both Gage and Issacs are masterful in their treatment and depictions of our beloved Scooby Gang, reaching a level of perfection that is usually only anticipated when the creator’s last name is “Whedon.” Expectations may be high, but this is one creative team that promises to deliver.
A beloved character returns to the series! I won’t give away the surprise, but she hasn’t appeared in Buffy: Season 8, Season 9, or Angel & Faith previously, but I know that fans have missed this face, and, hopefully, the fans will enjoy seeing it once again . . . despite some obvious questions about her return.
‘New Rules’ is a great title and a great concept. For those who are not aware, when the gang restored magic to their world at the end of last season, one of the consequences was an apparent “rewriting” of the mystical rules restricting vampires (e.g., no more aversion to the sun, shape-shifting abilities, etc.) and, one assumes, the rest of the supernatural world. Personally, I can’t wait to see where this goes. Much like J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot or the Season 4 finale of Angel (featuring the changing of ownership of a certain, infamous law firm), the idea of magic being “rebooted” actually carries over, in a very meta fashion, to the series itself, refreshing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise in a truly ingenious way.
Finally, Buffy and Giles are reunited! We’ve been waiting for a long while on this, and it’s been one Hell of journey to get Rupert back from the other side. Let me not spoil anything further, but trust this Comic Book Slayer: you’ll “feel” this moment the way your little fanboy or fangirl heart so badly wants to!
That bada-- final image! The final panel by Isaacs is just phenomenal and, paired with Gage’s script, should have readers literally standing by the end of the issue and yelling “Hell, yeah!” while pumping their fists in the air. (Don’t worry . . . other “normal” people may look at you strangely, but your exuberant glee is completely appropriate!) The Scooby Gang is finally assembled again (Sorry, Angel . . . you still have some brooding left to do.), and those new vamps should take heed of these memorable (and gleeful) words from the late Miss Cordelia Chase: "Oh, you are so gonna get your a-- kicked!”
Gage takes a crack at getting between Buffy and her blonde vampire love puppy. While I still appreciated Gage’s handling of both characters, it still feels like the powers that be have decreed Spike and Buffy must not be linked romantically, despite their natural tendencies. Personally, I feel like comic writers have been trying to write Spike into being okay with not having Buffy every since the end of the fifth season of Angel. While I’m happy William the Bloody is no longer enslaved by his heart, at the same time, that’s where that character lives, at least for me. While I don’t wish to ponce-ify Spike, I just don’t believe he’ll ever stop loving Buffy with a fiery passion. That said, if one writer could prove me wrong besides Joss himself, it would have to be Christos Gage.
FINAL VERDICT: Obviously, this is a MUST READ for any Buffy fan. Heck, there are some of my fellow Scoobies out there who have long abandoned the lead Buffy title in favor of Angel & Faith, but to those fans I say it’s time to come home. Gage and Isaacs are clearly going to have a fantastic run on this series, and you are not going to want to miss it!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #1 hits comic racks today, so be sure to snag your copy (or twenty)! For more info on the series and to read a free preview of the first issue, stop by the official Dark Horse Comics website.
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers. Keep those stakes sharp!
’Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer
If you’re craving more goodies from the Whedon comic-verse to feed you addiction, then don’t miss my “Comic Patrol” posts every Friday at www.whedonopolis.com! “Comic Patrol” is a regular, weekly feature pointing out articles, previews, and tidbits relating to the Whedon comic-verse, and it’s hosted by your friendly, neighborhood Comic Book Slayer! I’ll see you there, comic book sniffers!