First things first: The title of this new comic book series is a reference to T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, a not-so-subtle nod at Great Britain’s most famous fictional (?) monarch, King Arthur. Instead of a straight take on the Arthurian legends, Kieron Gillen’s tale sets itself up to be in the vein of the action/adventure genre, much in the tradition of classics like the Indiana Jones saga or, more recently, the Uncharted video game series.
A quick recap of Issue #6: Xander, having “survived” a botched siring, was in need of a Soul Tie to anchor his soul. Buffy and Willow retrieved one from the Siphon but at a terrible cost: a piece of Willow’s soul.
A quick recap of Angel #2: Issue #2 showed us a bit more of Angel’s dark past with Mara, the warrior he corrupted to his cause. We also get an idea of the MO of Angel’s death squad: They’re harbingers of the apocalypse. In the present, after a conversation with Lilith, he’s clued into the new innocent that he has to protect. A fan favorite character is introduced in a different, but somewhat familiar, context. Spoiler alert: It’s Fred!
Quick recap: The Sundog crew is on the run, not just from the Lux Corp., but also the Renunciation, because of information they inadvertently uncovered about the secret relationship between the two organizations. Oh, and Vess, an Initiate of the Renunciation is onboard with corroborating information. Things aren’t looking all too great for the motley crew.
Quick recap from the last issue: The gang’s all broken up. Jayne has been arrested, because the sheriff thinks he’s Wash. River and Simon are playing along / egging on that notion. Kaylee and Leonard have gone to join / save them while Wash, Inara, and Book are trying to catch up with Zoe. Meanwhile, Mal and Moon continue their odd couple shtick.
Quick recap of the new arc so far: Xander has been sired… or not quite sired? In the equivalent of a magical Hail Mary, the Scoobies are trying to find a Soul Tie that may just fix the problem. For those who’ve read the Free Comic Book Day short, you already know how Buffy gets the map to the McGuffin. All caught up? Shiny!
A quick recap of Angel #1: After losing his human protégé, Helen, in Los Angeles, Angel finds himself in Sunnydale. In a flashback, we learn that Angel(us?) used to be the leader of a marauding gang of vampires known as “The Riders.” In a fateful encounter, a young female warrior (Possibly a slayer?) known as Mara falls under his thrall and is sired. As half the issue is dedicated to this dark moment of Angel’s past, it’s very likely that Mara and the rest of the Riders will feature in his story moving forward. In the present, Angel meets up with an old friend, Francis (A nod to Doyle?), and the intriguing Lilith, presumably the mother of demons as per most pop-culture mythology. Lilith warns Angel of a dark force that “feeds on the living,” presumably on human narcissism, envy, and insecurities, driving its victims to do terrible things in return for instant validation. Interspersed with that reveal is the fact that the latest victim is none other than Francis’ daughter who sets her family on fire, killing them all. Pretty dark first issue, huh?
The nitty-gritty: Grix and her crew are still on the run from Lux, having stumbled upon some unsavory corporate secrets. Meanwhile, Vess is under scrutiny by Mother Proxima for her indiscreet curiosity that may threaten to upend the quiet solitude of the lives of the Nones. Desperation will bring these two together in hope of a brighter future that neither can see.
Just about every kid in the '90s had some exposure to R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps. The books were wildly successful and even spawned a TV series that Stine occasionally cameoed in. The plots were often simplistic: Kid(s) discover some dangerous/scary secret, shenanigans ensue, good (usually) trumps evil, though often with a twist. That’s your Goosebumps primer.
A quick recap from the last issue: Mal has been captured by Boss Moon, and the rest of the crew are on the run from the homicidal cult. So, we're basically on par of the usual level of shenanigans when it comes to this crew. Moving on to the present. Things pick up immediately from there, with the Serenity crew (with the addition of Chang-Benitez) still on the run, but an accidental fuel cell mishap saves the day. Elsewhere, Mal and Boss Moon trade barbs and blows.