Buffy: Season 11 #5 finds Buffy embracing her role as a trustee within the supernatural internment camp known as a “safe zone,” and while the job allows her the benefit of extra blood rations for her vampire boyfriend, her new position puts her even more at odds with the demons and vampires also contained within the camp’s fences. As the situation becomes more desperate, Buffy gains more credibility with the camp’s guards and moves up to overseeing the demonic work crews that travel outside the camp each day. The more she sees of the work crews and the projects, the more Buffy become convinced that escape from the camp for her, Willow, and Spike is an absolute necessity.
Compromise seems to be the theme of Gage’s fifth issue of the season, as we see our core characters of Buffy and Willow each forced to accept choices they are not completely comfortable with in an attempt to survive the dire situation they find themselves in. Buffy has taken on a position that aligns her with her oppressors and labels her a traitor among her supernatural peers, while Willow is considering draining other Wiccans’ magical abilities permanently so that they can escape the dangers of the camp and reenter society. While Willow is able to help a few of her friends get released from the camp, the concept of permanently removing someone’s connection to magic in exchange for their freedom is something the redhead compares to cutting off another’s hand. Still, she doesn’t rule it out, as it may mean the difference between life and death for the vulnerable Wiccans locked in with malnourished demons and vampires. And when it comes to Buffy, the unsavory association attached to her through her trustee’s badge is made chillingly clear when one of her supervisors allows the execution of a desperate amphibious prisoner attempting to escape in a particularly sobering moment for a series quite accustomed with violence towards demons.
Jeanty, once again, is a joy to have back on a Buffy book. His pencils are amazing, beautiful, and full of energy. There’s a reason Jeanty was hand-picked by Joss Whedon as the comic artist to bring the first canon Buffy series to life, and Buffy: Season 11 #5 clearly demonstrates the skills that won him that noteworthy position. Further more, Jeanty’s art is only improved by the bold inks of Dexter Vines and vibrant colors of Dan Jackson.
- In this issue, Buffy takes on the roll of protector once again. In all honesty, being a trustee isn’t that much different than the type of “slaying” Buffy’s been doing until recently in San Francisco. Over the years, the Slayer has morally matured and advanced to a place where she doesn’t mindlessly slaughter any random vampire or demon she crosses paths with. In the most current seasons, Buffy spends more time operating as a peacekeeper between supernatural and natural beings, and this is a very similar duty to her mission inside the “safe zone.”
- There’s something very ominous about Willow’s question to Buffy about whether the government safe zones are still temporary and will eventually be shut down. In addition, what’s in the restricted areas Buffy’s denied access to? What secret project does the government have the demon crews working on? And, as Willow asked, why is “a government cracking down on magic” building something that uses magic? What do they intend for the detainees filling these safe zones? While Willow is on edge, maybe even a little more than the others, it feels like something big (and most likely terrifying) is just around the bend for our characters and, possibly, the Buffyverse in general.
Buffy: Season 11 #5 is another big winner and one you can absolutely not miss if you’re a Buffy fan. This season represents some of Buffy’s best in the comic medium, and readers won’t be disappointed given the well-written characters, topical themes, and quality artists attached to the series.
Buffy: Season 11 #5 hits shelves today (Wednesday, March 22nd), so get out to your local comic book retailer and pick up a copy!
That’s all for now, my fellow comic book sniffers.
'Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer