- Cover by Steve Morris
- Script by Christos Gage & Nicholas Brendon
- Art by Rebekah Isaacs
- Colours by Dan Jackson
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!
Those of you who remember some of my earlier reviews will remember that I’ve discussed at length my feelings for ‘BtVS’ in it’s comic form, I’ve struggled with seasons 8 and 9 finding that they can become bogged down around the of their sometimes epically long runs. In fact at the end of season 9 I swore that I would read season 10 in TPB form rather than the ongoing monthly but there I was several weeks later finding my mouse hovering over the subscribe button when season 10 #1 went up for pre-sale.
My reasoning? I really loved the artwork on the ‘Angel & Faith’ series and really wanted to see what Isaacs and Jackson would bring to the title. Whedon himself seems a little absent from this series probably due to commitments with filming ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ but I hope that somewhere in the back of his ridiculously awesome mind he’s keeping an eye on his years of hard work.
Season 10 has so far felt like a great reinvention of the show, better than attempts made over the course of the last two comics series. Where season 9 did a brilliant job of bringing things back to a level of normality after the overblown scale of season 8, season 10 is a regrouping of the core characters and a move to redefine the mission statement of the show.
New magic. New rules. New Buffy.
Lets start with the art… Isaacs and Jackson have brought all the fun they injected in to ‘Angel & Faith’ and brought it all with them to ‘BtVS’ the scenes jump off the page and the characters have such a brilliantly individual style that it’s almost like watching the ill-fated animated series, for which you can see the sizzle reel here, playing out before your very eyes.
Whilst allowing Isaacs to explore her own visual style the characters always remain true to their TV counterparts and that’s one major bonus for a fan base as rabid as those who follow Whedon and the Buffy-canon. Despite the fantasy drama that plays out in the panels there is still a lighthearted approach to the imagery that stops the series from spiralling into becoming a gothic opera likewise it never feels like reading a series based on other such popular vampire franchises.
This issue again features some script input from ‘BtVS’ series start Nicholas Brendon who brings some of the focus on to his character – Xander – whilst further exploring the Buffyverse incarnation of Dracula.
Side note – many fans did not like S05E01 ‘Buffy vs. Dracula’ but I am not one of those people. I genuinely enjoyed it and always wanted the show to further explore the history of Vlad Tepes.
Brendon knows his character well but he also knows the universe well and his short stint here has been some classic ‘Buffy’ albeit representing where the characters are now in their lives. Considering the battle they are up against with the vampires new powers (big step up from zompires) the team of Brendon and Gage bring a great level of humour to the series that perfectly echoes the writing of Whedon-past.
It was only right to bring Brendon in to an arc featuring Dracula considering the ties his character held to the dark prince in the show but through the jokes and the mind control the underlying tension between Xander and Dawn is brought to the forefront organically and dealt with in an incredibly grown up way just like fans would expect from the TV series.
Buffy herself is taking a bit of a backseat at the moment which is no bad thing, some of the high points of the series were when Buffy herself allowed the characters around her took the stage to push their stories forwards. After ten years there’s not a lot of Buffy or Willow to do that they haven’t already done so I hope this focus on Xander, Dawn and newly teenage Giles lasts for a few more issues before the action really kicks in.
I really want to give this issue 5-stars but due to the overall lack of action, apart from the end which we won’t spoil here, we can’t quite call it the best of the best. But if you aren’t already reading this… pick it up now!