Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Dark omens (specifically, exploding blackbirds) were on the horizon. Xander and Spike were doing a lot of hanging out. Willow’s showing some serious strain under weight of her responsibilities as a Slayer.
After several issues of taking the backseat in a story that’s rightfully hers, this issue focuses entirely on Buffy. We see how she’s been dealing with her strange dreams and how she secretly revels in them because she enjoys being a Slayer. Unfortunately for Buffy, it seems that all manner of monsters never got the memo that she had been stripped of her Slayer powers and memories, and she’s still a target for them.
After the ominous ending of the previous issue, Sarah Gailey takes us on a much more intimate journey, finally giving us some quality time with Buffy to explore her psyche. It looks like while Willow’s spell stripped her of her powers and memories, Buffy’s Slayer intuition remained, albeit somewhat fragmented. I’m still not quite sure where this story is going and there seems to be, in my humble opinion, a lack of cohesion and established stakes. This may have been the first issue of this series to actually possess a real sense of personal urgency.
Look, I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of publishing a series, but I do know that a constant change in art style kinda gives me stylistic whiplash. This is not a slight towards Claudia Balboni who takes over art duties for this issue. I found Balboni’s work to pretty charming actually. I did do a double-take when I saw the creature design for a character in this issue; it seemed really similar to the design of a Saga character. Valentina Pinto’s colors work well with Balboni’s style, and I can totally appreciate that kind of versatility when it comes to adapting your style to work with various others. Ed Dukeshire’s a workhorse, and his lettering is always clean and easy to read.
Overall, things are looking pretty grim for Buff,y and I wonder if this traumatic event will be the catalyst for getting her powers back.
Creative Team: Sarah Gailey (writer), Claudia Balboni (artist), Valentina Pinto (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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