Buffy: Season 11 #6 opens with Buffy being ambushed by hit squad of demons led by the ogre who has been a thorn in the slayer’s side during her short time as a trustee. While she easily decimates the would-be assassins, unexpected revelations lead Buffy, Willow, and Spike to concoct a plan to discover just exactly what the internment camp’s work crews are assembling piece by piece, and the revelation is a chilling one.
Gage’s scripts just seem to get better and better with each issue this season, and the creative momentum building over the course of the story feels quite pleasantly reminiscent of some of Gage and Isaac’s superb work on their season of Angel & Faith (a series I personally consider the best Buffyverse comic to date). In Buffy: Season 11 #6, Gage is particularly skillful in his ability to give our core characters the strength and skill they’ve clearly gained over their years fighting the good fight, but still manages to challenge them with a threat that feels very real, very intimidating, and very dangerous. Buffy’s confident and swift devastation of her attackers is particularly striking and gratifying, and seeing our lead character shrugging off an attempt to poison, then ambush her as merely a pale copycat of “her eighteenth birthday present” is another clear demonstration of the creative team’s amazing grasp of who these characters are and where they’ve been over the years.
Willow also has some great moments in this issue that demonstrate the skills and experience she possesses, but it’s her revelation about the government’s “final solution” for the inhabitants of the internment camps that steals the show. As Willow describes it, the secret project the work crews are helping to assemble appears to be one big machine with the power to drain and store magical energy on a large scale. Some individuals would simply be depowered, many others would be wounded and/or deformed, and those living only through supernatural means (such as vampires or zombies) would straight-up die. It’s been noted in reviews of previous issues of this season that this current Buffy storyline seems to routinely and uncannily tap into current events and fears in our nation, and while this machine of mass supernatural destruction doesn’t seem to be anything akin to modern military weapons, dealing with such a deadly force the same month our country historically drops the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal certainly seems to have an unsettling synergy.
It was an absolute joy having Buffy Season 8 & Season 9 artist Georges Jeanty return for the last few issues, but with Isaacs back in the saddle, we once again are reminded of what a superb team she makes paired with Gage and the absolute wealth of artistic talent that Buffy Season 11 has been blessed with. Isaacs' skills are on particular display during the ambush sequence, where she demonstrates proficiency in depicting both an exciting and action-packed fight sequence, but adding the facial expressions, body language, and emotional core that give scenes like this the same intensity, humor, and dramatic weight that were present in the live-action show that the comic continues.
- I don’t usually have a single “favorite page” in each issue of Buffy, but it’s easy to pick one in Buffy: Season 11 #6. Watching the hulking ogre, enraged at his failed ambush attempt, pound our hero in her face while screaming in frustration “Why won’t you die?” is a near-perfect moment. It’s only out done by the following panel, showing Buffy bloodied and smiling as she shoots back, “It’ll take more than you’ve got.” Our heroine has always been underestimated by her adversaries, and it’s still surprisingly refreshing to see her confront the arrogant and brutish around her and thoroughly hand their asses to them. And speaking of that nasty ogre, it was a nice twist that the camp’s biggest bully and self-proclaimed human-hating leader is actually a turncoat working undercover for the camp’s guards.
- Spike’s comment that “a big chunk o’ the world” might think the mass genocide of various types of supernatural beings is a “brilliant idea” is fairly depressing in how possible it seems in light of the way many in our nation have turned against immigrants, Muslims, and other persecuted minorities in our midst. The Buffy franchise has always reflected the human experience of maturing in the modern world. During the late nineties and beyond, the series examined current cultural issues like the ever-present misogyny women deal with day to day, the effects of bullying, school shootings/violence, and much more. Today, in comic book form, Buffy reflects us clearly, showing the ugliness that the anger, division, and polarization of the current day has revealed within our own walls. It’s depressing to state, but if we can’t bring ourselves to open our hearts to our fellow humans on this planet, how could we ever expect the human race to have empathy for creatures that feed on human blood (even the ones currently ensouled)?
FINAL VERDICT: The sixth issue of the series continues the winning streak that has been Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 11. Every installment adds layers to the story while demonstrating how aptly the creative team can handle these characters. This series is pure heaven for Buffy fans.
Buffy: Season 11 #6 hits shelves today (Wednesday, April 19th), so get out to your local comic book retailer and pick up a copy!
That’s all for now, my fellow comic book sniffers. We’ll rendezvous in a month.
'Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer