‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (Season 11) #3 review
Written by Christos Gage with art by Rebekah Isaacs and a cover by Steve Morris. Variant cover provided by Rebekah Isaacs, Christos Gage and Comicraft.
With the magical folk in the US being cataloged and relocated to a “safe” place, Buffy and her friends will have to decide if they will be divided . . . Or if they will try to run. With Slayers being recruited to help police the magical folk, escaping might not be so easy.
I’m not afraid to say that I’ve been burned by ‘Buffy’ in the past. Season eight through ten all started so well before meandering on for far too long and ending on a whimper rather than a bang. Every year I say the same thing: ‘never again’.
Well ‘never again’ always becomes ‘one last time’…
Bring us to issue #3 of season eleven and I’m pleasantly surprised by the direction that the series is taking. With this current season ‘Buffy’ will only run for twelve issues and I could not be happier. Returning writer Christos Gage has a handle on the series pantheon of characters. Tasked with bringing them in to true adulthood he has handed supporting roles like Xander, Willow and Dawn with ease. His handling of Buffy, Spike and Giles are a little on the iffy side.
The ‘Spuffy’ relationship bugged me during the series. The decision to continue that through the comics has only irked me more. As the two continue to rile each other up, break up and then make up I lose more and more interest. Ironically for me this issue is one of the strongest ‘Spuffy’ stories ever in the Whedon-verse.
In season eleven Gage has crafted a very political and timely story. With magical creatures and demons exposed to the world everybody is asking whether they should be allowed to live amongst us. Many are now being shipped to internment camps and put on registration lists and their movements are restricted by the government. Purposely or not it parodies the political state of America right now in much the same way the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ TV series did for seven seasons.
This issue focusses on those closest to Buffy and how they are affected by the new laws. Taking time to focus on each of the characters equally really shows the balance they have been able to strike. Seeing Buffy at odds with her heritage as well as with the consequences of her own actions brings the comics as close to the TV series as it has ever been.
Perhaps most cleverly slayers now the legal hand of the government and with Buffy at odds with their motives this puts her once against as the lone slayer. Hopefully Gage is able to develop this well over the remaining issues.
As always it is the art by Rebekah Isaacs which puts ‘Buffy’ head and shoulders above the rest. The cartoon-like quality of her art is unrivalled in current mainstream comics. Characters reflect the actors who once played them with parodying. Isaacs is able to inject enough personality to take the comics a step beyond the TV series without losing what makes ‘Buffy’ great.
Where the character designs are limited by default Isaacs is able to introduce flare in to their surroundings. The San Francisco location enables the show to take on a different look to its Sunnydale roots. The introduction of interment camps and in the ruins of events from the first issue there’s plenty of creative ideas to mine.
This is a creative high for ‘Buffy’ and long may it continue.
‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ #3 is a great read. One of the best issues in this series for years. A timely story with some heavy emotional weight. The dialogue is borderline Whedon-esque but it’s the artwork that rules here.
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