Last issue (reviewed here!) I talked about wanting to give the issue 5 stars but not being able to due to the lack of action… this month ‘Buffy‘ brings us wall-to-wall action in the fight to stop Dracula after his mutation in to Maloker who, if you didn’t already know, is one of the old ones who was living down in the deeper well last season.
The highlight of this season – so far- for me continues to be the focus on the supporting cast. Despite the fact that certain characters have been off and had their own side series during season 9 I’ve always felt that their presence in the comics has been lacking and it’s taken a guest writing spot from ‘BtVS‘ own Nicholas Brendon to fix that. Retooling the comic towards family brings it much further in line with the TV series and as great as the potential for the comics has been it works best when it follows the premise set out by Whedon on the show.
This month the covers come from Steven Morris with variants by Rebekah Isaacs and Dan Jackson. The script is by Christos Gage and Nicholas Brendon. As always Rebekah Isaacs brings the art with colours by Dan Jackson. Letters are by Richard Starkings and comicraft’s by Jimmy Betancourt.
It’s always pot luck what cover you’re going to receive when you subscribe and this month I have the Steve Morris cover which brilliantly renders Spike and Maloker mid battle. The painted covers on ‘Buffy’ never fail to impress and I would suggest that any completist out there collects them all and makes a nice collage I can hang on my wall please.
Isaacs and Jackson need no more praise thrown at them at this stage. Their style has single handed reinvented the Whedonverse in print and it’s purely down to their ingenuity that I’ve returned to this series via the monthly issues and not via the collected editions as an afterthought.
‘Buffy‘ the TV series was such a hit due to its ability to mix the humour with the drama in a way that Whedon has now become world famous for and that feeling was so easily lost in the comics, even with his involvement, because comic art by default is so serious. What Isaacs and Jackson bring is the whimsy of Whedon in visual form and that’s what makes them a perfect combination for this title.
The script this month retains the humour of last month, focussing on Xander’s unnatural attachment to Dracula, but the pace is ramped up massively and is held almost throughout. The battle in the city feels a little like it should have had more attention heaped upon it considering it feature a Godzilla like Maloker but then ‘Buffy‘ has always hinged on the fact that the common man turns his back to what he doesn’t want to see.
After all is said-and-done with Dracula/Maloker there’s some serious talk to be hand amongst the Scooby gang. There’s new magic rules to be written and somebody needs to be in charge of that. Cleverly this plot point is bringing us around to the notion of family which has been so strong throughout all of ‘Buffy‘ be in on TV, in comics, novels or even in the games. More than ever this feels like the writers have got to grips with the mission statement of ‘BtVS‘ and that makes this feel like the most authentic season of the comic-show yet.
There’s an air of finality to the short Dracula arc here but there’s enough in the story to keep the momentum going in to whatever is coming next but all too often I feel like issues end with deep and meaningful conversations between Buffy and Spike. I don’t want these two characters to dance around each other any longer, they both need new love interests.
Also… more ghost Anya please!
I’m giving this issue the highest praise…