With the recent arrival of not one, but two new Slayers, Buffy is left feeling a bit obsolete. Ironically, this puts her in the same emotional space as Giles as they commiserate. With the Slayer count at an all-time high, Morgan struggles with her decisions, and her choices may have graver implications yet.
This is the issue that I’ve been waiting for… a truly beautiful issue that explores the relationship that Buffy has with her true father figure, Giles. There are moments in this issue that recall some of the best moments that these two characters have shared in the previous iteration, and to say that I almost wept would be an understatement. I know that I was particularly harsh on Giles in my previous review, but this issue has greatly rekindled my respect for him.
While I think that my previous criticism of how the series hasn’t quite found the “Buffy” of it all for a while now remains valid, this issue takes us straight to the “Buffy” of the current arc. Slayers come and Slayers will fall, but our girl is truly unique, and I really hope that we’re getting to just how special she is. With four Slayers in the mix (including Morgan), this really is the time for Buffy to step forward as the Chosen One. While Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert really nailed the Buffy/Giles dynamic here, we have yet to really see Buffy step up and take her place as a truly iconic Slayer, though this issue does seem to suggest that that’s coming up soon. It’s actually really interesting to see both Buffy and Giles experiencing a sort of Slayer-Watcher existential crisis together. #StoriesMatter because, so often, our personal angst seems to be so overarching that we don’t see the pain of others but in sharing their doubts and resolve. I’d like to think that Buffy and Giles will emerge from “The Ring of Fire” much stronger and more united than before.
Ramon Bachs is back on art duties, and while his likenesses are still on the sketchy side (He does a great Giles, though!), the issue generally looks great with some really great character moments. Raúl Angulo’s colorwork is at its usual strength here, deftly juggling atmosphere and keeping things just generally looking good, and the contrast between the astral plane and the real world is nicely consistent throughout. Finally, Ed Dukeshire’s lettering is solid as it’s ever been, bringing the dialogue and monologues to life.
Overall, not a whole lot happens plot-wise, but this is definitely worth a read for the lovely Buffy/Giles scene.
Creative Team: Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert (writers), Ramon Bachs (artist), Raúl Angulo (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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