Hello, gentle readers. We’re still in the “Ring of Fire” arc, so let’s check in real quick on where our favorite Slayer of the Vampyrs was. After the Hellmouth opened and Buffy hopped in to deal with it, another Slayer, Kendra, was Called. In order to save Buffy, Kendra and others descended into the Hellmouth, and they all emerged victorious. For now. Xander was lost, and Willow decided to take some time for herself. Buffy and Kendra are both currently under the watchful(?) eye of Rupert Giles, but there are some learning curves when the Chosen One is now the Chosen Ones. On top of everything, Anya warned Giles of the existence of a multiverse of Hellmouths… perhaps too many for even two Slayers to safeguard against. There, all caught up on the important stuff.
Issue #17 is a standalone, but seemingly a very important one that introduces us to a few new major players, two of whom will be instantly recognizable to long-time fans. Enter one Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and the-ghost-of-someone-who-has-beef-with-Giles. In this issue, the Watchers’ Council grapples with the fallout of the Hellmouth event and a new mystery involving the Slayer before Buffy. As the ideal Watcher, Wesley is assigned a really important, new mission, one that’s actually – quite frankly – mind-blowing in how well it’s been set up. At any rate, it looks like Wesley is headed to… Boston(?).
Jeremy Lambert, who co-wrote the Hellmouth miniseries with main writer Jordie Bellaire, returns to the fold to co-write this issue. The introduction of Wesley as a bit of a fantasy nerd is rather amusing, as it does retain a certain awkward charm about him. The bombshell that’s dropped in this issue is actually ingenious in its simplicity; it’s refreshing to have something major be so simply explained without requiring some serious contorting of logic which is something some of the major plot points have struggled with (i.e., Xander’s half-vampirism debacle). #StoriesMatter not only when their twists are surprising, but because the logic is so elegantly simple, like it was lying right in front of the reader all along. There’s nothing more satisfying than a “eureka” moment that feels like it’s earned your respect. With all of these new elements in play now, I really hope that this will actually ignite this “Ring of Fire” arc.
The artwork by Andrés Genolet is pretty dig-worthy. The characters are expressive, and Wesley is recognizable. Genolet’s work also lends itself well to the few moments of comedy. Raúl Angulo continues to do pretty strong work in this issue. I’m especially impressed by the subtle colorwork that shows Wesley’s discomfort at being in a meeting with the heads of the Council and the comforting ease he seems to feel in the library. While I’ve frequently commented on how well the colors and linework complement each other, I think it’s high time that praise also be lavished on how well the lettering here works with the art. Ed Dukeshire’s lettering works so harmoniously with the artwork that he makes a conversation with three speakers feel intuitive, even when, for the most part, only two characters are in a panel at the same time.
Overall, an intriguing piece to the puzzle that in the “Ring of Fire” and a great introduction to two familiar faces. And perhaps a heavy hint at the first appearance of a fan favorite?
Creative Team: Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert (writers), Andrés Genolet (artist), Raúl Angulo (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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