Review – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #4

  • Script: Christos Gage
  • Pencils: Georges Jeanty
  • Ink: Dexter Vines
  • Colorist: Dan Jackson
  • Cover Artist: Steve Morris
  • Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
  • Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

Mystical creatures, the destruction of San Francisco and government internment camps. It’s Buffy Season 11 and it’s only getting messier as Buffy, Spike and Willow touch down in the federal camps for otherworldly powered and born inhabitants. After having a showdown with past slayers now turned government contractors the team decided to stop coming to clash with the law and see what they could do within the system. Tired of running and tearing apart the lives of everyone involved we saw Buffy take a stand to give Dawn and Xander a shot at their life as they took care of the reborn Giles.

Issue 4 “Desperate Times” takes readers under the veil of the safe zone with Buffy as she makes her rounds and learns the landscape. With a tiny camp stuffed to the brim with monsters what could go wrong? We learn about the strain showing in Spike and Buffy as they adapt to this new world and see how confinement and neglect can really turn problems up to 11.

Christos Gage tells a story of hardship and struggle for the demons and monsters in the safe zone, some problems never go away even if they’re under “guard” until the situation improves. Tidbits of Willow, Dawn and others come about and give light to the growing storyline. It’s bleak and tensions are only getting worse for Buffy and her friends, something has to give if they’re going to make it through this.

The shift to Georges Jeanty happens in this issue, with Rebekah Isaacs leading the style out of the gate the shift was easy to catch as the two artists approach gestures, character design and their worlds with their own sense of flair. The change to Jeanty makes sense as the story takes a darker turn into what inhabitants of the safe zone face. Hopefully Dark Horse is able to continue shifting between the duo through the series as they both bring so much to the books.

That said, unfortunately Buffy and the crew have their work cut out for them, Desperate Times is a fitting title for the issue given the challenges ahead in this story arc.

Release date: February 15, 2017
Pre-order: TFAW
Preview: Dark Horse Comics

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Angel Season 11 #2 – Out of The Past Part 2

  • Script: Corinna Bechko
  • Artist: Geraldo Borges
  • Colorist: Michelle Madsen
  • Cover Artist: Scott Fischer
  • Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
  • Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

Season 11 of Angel kicked off with a mess, hard disturbing flashbacks / visions, inter-dimensional infestations and the fragile balance of working with Fred / Illyria created a whirlwind of trouble in just a few pages. Angel looks to face his past as Angelus and find out where the visions are directing him, but only if things play out well with Illyria as she’s the resident time traveler.

Issue 2 drops the duo out of the vortex and back…. way back into the past. The duo (trio) must face an entirely new set of challenges including finding some shade for our resident vampire. Goals get a bit mixed and a flowing theme of past mistakes fills the story, Angel isn’t the only one lugging around some heavy baggage from their past and since he’s not the one wielding the power of time and space the journey will get a bit longer with a new detour.

The upshot for fans and new readers is the continued character development of the new group, Angel and Faith had a good run which developed their characters and now we’ll see this dynamic with Fred and Illyria come around with Angel and see how much they can get solved while working together. Given how guarded Illyria is about her past and just her presence in general there’s no doubt some good stories are awaiting readers as the group battles to tackle her past in this journey too.

Corinna Bechko has some relatively fast pacing even if unintentional for the book, with the challenges brought about by issue 2 the story passes in the blink of an eye. Part of that pacing comes by Geraldo Borges art, panel designs and direction for the read, Michelle Madsen continues to play with the temperatures to create interesting focal points and set the general mood of a given scene.

Angel Season 11 #2 continues a wild spiral of action and dark secrets and it hasn’t even touched on the original investigation yet. For fans of the series it’s worth the read as the group digs in deeper for the road ahead.

Release date: February 15, 2017
Pre-order: TFAW
Preview: Dark Horse Comics

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #3

  • Script: Christos Gage
  • Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
  • Colorist: Dan Jackson
  • Cover Artist: Steve Morris
  • Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
  • Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

The internment camp, basically the strongest moment to ring out of issue 2 of this season. As the government goes nuclear on supernatural beings in the country suddenly the walls start closing in on everyone. With Buffy standing firm to protect her friends and family it’ll be a rough ride ahead.

A House Divided dumps more problems on Buffy and the group, with new mandates from the government it’s only a matter of time before federal slayers come knocking on her door for those dearest. We see Buffy trying to micromanage the situation as much as possible and try to keep some control over what’s going down. Christos Gage paints a grim future for the group, even with their best efforts they can’t possibly keep the group going in the face of everything going on.

We see Willow take a firm stand in her beliefs after the chaos in issue 2, knowing the dangers to those who even barely met her, she makes the sacrifices she needs to. Buffy and Spike also face their own wall, given vampires aren’t a magical exemption to the rule Buffy knows they’re coming. It’s a charged issue as the group makes decisions for the best of all their futures given their climate. Rebekah Isaacs does well to pull out emotion from each character through the panels as each of them carefully set the tone with the gestures displayed. Dan Jackson does well with intensity and playing on saturation to show the mood of the world and the emotion within each character with subtle shifts in the panels.

It’s certainly not looking good, in this case the world or at least the nation might just be against Buffy now. We’ll have to wait and see what comes of all this next month.

Release date: Out Now

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #2

  • Script: Christos Gage
  • Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
  • Colorist: Dan Jackson
  • Cover Artist: Steve Morris
  • Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
  • Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

With Buffy facing an internal crisis of where she’s at in life as other celebrate new milestones and life moments, the world itself faces another crisis that has already left a dark mark on her city. There really is never time for Buffy to just get a moment, and this tension and momentum carry into issue 2 as they try to sort out a Shenlong dragon attack after a massive tsunami strike.

Tension really soars in issue 2, the entire gang is swept up in angry mobs, hate crimes and rising political problems that look to impact supernatural beings across the nation with knee-jerk legislation and actions. We see the cast split amongst themselves throughout the issue, Spike and Willow fearing for the worst while others hope to tread lighter paths in hopes the situation will not spiral out nearly as far.

Old faces cross paths and social unrest rages on as the mystery behind the dragon drives everyone to the limit without an answer. Christos Gage really plays all angles here, the cast is struggling to stomach the potential future they face and the world gets very ugly in a short amount of time. Rebekah Isaacs does well in the chapter, only some of the panels gave a slight bump in the experience as thicker ink brought about weird inconsistencies. Dan Jackson plays between muted colors and careful splashes of vibrancy to highlight the actions and moods of each panel.

Season 11 isn’t getting any easier, hopefully Buffy and the rest of the group can figure out how to keep it together.

Release date: Out Now

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #1

  • Script: Christos Gage
  • Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
  • Colorist: Dan Jackson
  • Cover Artist: Steve Morris
  • Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
  • Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

The San Francisco life is setting in well with Spike and Buffy, as they keep to classic staples of demon slaying while adjusting to life with a born again 13 year old Giles in the picture. Season 11 takes things into the life of Supernatural Consulting and solving darker crimes in the city, Xander and Dawn showing growth as they advance in their lives and relationship and Willow gets to set down some new roots starting a new Coven of her own.

Sounds peachy, except it’s a Buffy story so there’s always more under the surface, bright exteriors crack and fade, showing a rougher side of things and new challenges are always waiting. Legends emerge and chaos reigns, Rebekah Issacs paints the pages of issue 1 with rubble and chaos, with help from Dan Jackson the pages come to life with atmosphere and action that flow seamlessly once things really turn bad.

Christos Gage wastes no time playing with the main cast, pulling at their strings not only to send them into action and set each stage up, but also pulling at their hearts to continue to allow us a window into the voices that nag at them when they operate between those battles. Rebekah Isaacs compliments those character moments while also developing the atmosphere in each panel, on the rooftop we see strong gestures of action contrasted with worry and urgency and it’s an enjoyable blend in a season opener. Hopefully the rest of the season carries the momentum and keep feeding new twists along the way.

Release date: Out Now

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

 

Review – Angel Season 11 #1 – Out of The Past Part 1

  • Script: Corinna Bechko
  • Artist: Geraldo Borges
  • Colorist: Michelle Madsen
  • Cover Artist: Scott Fischer
  • Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
  • Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

Angel lives with a closet of skeletons and these days he’s also living with Fred on the road. As Season 11 opens up we see that closet start to open and begin a new chapter about the history of Angelus & Angel.

In a mix of light-hearted exchanges the story dances between nightmares of the past and their current job at hand. Corinna Bechko carries a steady stream of dialogue and storyline development as they roam through Dublin, Ireland to make good on favors while fighting off some serious buried trauma that Angel attempts to dismiss as just some rough memories coming to surface. Fred feels there’s more depth and reason though and fights to see what Angel is running from.

Geraldo Borges carries the flow and environment with a steady hand throught he pages, while there are a handful of odd facial moments it’s limited and lost in the rest of the issue. As Angel faces an abstract nightmare scene, the narrative and page flows wonderfully between Borges and Madsen, the art and palette help create interesting contrast using saturation during the memories and the struggle of Angel as Fred sits in outside that box in full color.

Blended together the story and art set the stage for an interesting season as Angel has to face a dark past that he wanted move on from. Fred and Illyria are a nice companion combination to the story as they dig through his walls in their own ways, unfortunately as dimensions start to unravel they’ll have to chip away much quicker before all hell breaks loose.

Release date: Out Now

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆