MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
Buffy #27 opens with Dawn and Xander still stuck in a demon dimension and enriching the lives of the locals by introducing them to HBO‘s addictive TV series, Game of Thrones. (Figures demons would be Joffrey fans.) When Lilah Morgan (still dead and still under contract to Wolfram & Hart) appears to tempt the two friends with some supernatural assistance in getting home from the evil law firm, they promptly reject the “apple” offered, but it motivates Dawn and Xander to attempt the trip on their own, using Dawn’s new powers. As this is happening, the rest of the group struggles to deal with the new big bad, D’hoffryn, and a slayer who is lashing out irrationally at all those around her. While Buffy’s frustrations and anger may be understandable, it leaves her in a very uncertain and lonely place by the end of the issue.
Operating like the brilliant creative team they’ve proven themselves to be, writer Christos Gage and artist Rebekah Isaacs crank out another excellent issue that pushes the plot forward in bold ways, provides both laughs and feels, and leaves our characters in very different places than where they were on the first page. Gage and Isaacs are a Buffy comic book machine at this point, and we fans are damn lucky to have such talent shepherding our favorite franchise.
This issue was also an excellent one for the villains of the book, continuing to establish the vengeance demon D’hoffryn as a worthy big bad for the end of the season. With Angel & Faith and the character of Whistler, Gage demonstrated his ability to mine the wealth of characters in the Buffyverse and allow longtime “cast members” to step into the spotlight as major threats and influences. It’s a move that also echoes The First Evil’s rise from side character to Big Bad in Season 7 and feels totally appropriate given what we know of D’hoffryn from previous appearances. In addition, the soulless Neo-Jonathan has been taken under D’hoffryn’s wing and demonstrates his own passion for vengeance in this issue. And, as mentioned previously, we also get a visit from the delightful Lilah Morgan of Wolfram & Hart. Having Lilah back is fantastic (I didn’t realize how much I missed her.) and the descent into darkness of soulless Jonathan is an interesting plot thread, but who knows where it will actually lead. It seems almost unthinkable that Jonathan will simply serve out the rest of the season as D’hoffryn’s goon. Will he continue on into next season after becoming the first male vengeance demon? Will he finally find his humanity and turn on D’hoffryn to help the Scoobies? How does the fact that he’s an artificial, soulless version of Jonathan created by Andrew factor into his actions against the team and who’s ultimately responsible? We’ve got no choice but to speculate and #WaitAndSee.
Despite my genuine praise of Gage, Isaacs, and Buffy: Season 10, I must say that I found it worrisome that Buffy has seemed so unusually unhinged and immature in these past few issues. This is clearly the writer’s intent, as Gage even has other characters addressing the issue. (Giles even at one point refers to Buffy’s refusal to take personal responsibility as “Yet another [excuse] in a lifetime of reasons not to grow up.”) Given some of her recent experiences, I, personally, had accepted that Buffy had grown and matured to a point where she was beyond these sort of selfishly motivated actions, but Gage and Isaacs have built up a lot of good will with me as a fan, so I’m willing to hang on for the ride in this area. Buffy has always been a metaphor for various stages of one’s life, and perhaps the moment you actually believe you’re an adult is the very moment the powers-that-be remind you how far you still have to grow.
FINAL VERDICT: Both the script and the artwork are top notch (as usual) when it comes to Buffy: Season 10 #27, so there’s absolutely no reason any passionate fan would accept missing out on this fantastic series. Gage and Isaacs (and their admirable talents) continue to make Buffy the Vampire Slayer one of the best licensed comic books currently running.
That’s all for now, my fellow comic book sniffers. I’ll see ya next month!
'Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer