Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: With Willow buckling under the weight of the Slayer mandate and spiraling out of control, Buffy was beginning to doubt the strength of their friendship and her place in the team. Meanwhile, Xander was still doing… something with Spike, so that could be bad?
With pasta demon and parasitic offspring now squared away, this issue picks up the pace considerably with some “very dark, very portentious” happenings that feels part Hitchcockian and part Game of Thrones. Furthermore, for the first time so far, all of the characters are finally in the same room together, and I really wish that we had seen more of this dynamic earlier on. With the gang all together now, it feels like we’re finally headed towards something Big Bad-y… or maybe it’s nothing more than just screaming and exploding black birds.
It does feel like this is the issue that Sarah Gailey has really been building up to. And you can tell that Gailey is a fan of the original series and that they’re having fun with their run, with inside jokes and character banter. In short, this is the first issue that truly feels like it belongs in this universe. On the downside for me, it feels like some in-universe logic and rules seem to have gone out the window… with the most glaring issues being why Xander felt so comfortable being friends with a presumably (and almost absolutely) unsouled vampire, or how the issue of Faith being the extra Slayer – when Willow is clearly alive – seems to have been swept under the rug. I get that the reader knows why, and the other characters do, too, but how was that not a question that Buffy addressed? I’m not demanding that the ground rules all be clearly spelled out, but omitting them means that the reader is going to have to make some assumptions about the world building, which means drawing from previous iterations, and that’s when the troubles basically roll in.
Sonia Liao is back on art duties and, just like Gailey, it feels like she’s really getting into the groove. The characters have a lot of chemistry with each other here, and the small character moments are really fun to see. The colorwork by Valentina Pinto really ups the drama in the few tense moments, especially in regard to Willow’s magic. I’m not sure who deserves credit for this, but the sequence in which Xander and Spike tell the group about the dark portent is hilarious! Ed Dukeshire’s work on the letters is solid as per yoosh, and I really like how the mood of the characters is so evident in the way he designs the speech bubbles.
Overall, with crows exploding en masse, get ready for some dark shenanigans to descend on the Scoobies.
Creative Team: Sarah Gailey (writer), Sonia Liao (artist), Valentina Pinto (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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