Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike #3 A Dark Place Part 3

Script: Victor Gischler
Pencils: Paul Lee
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Cris Peter
Cover: Jenny Frison
Alternate Cover: Steve Morris
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue begins with a flashback, Pearl (of Pearl and Nash fame) has just spent a “romantic” evening with a demon, who after their romp, thinks she needs to die. After Nash fails at rescuing her, the ever gallant Spike (joined by Dru) arrives. However, more than chivalry this is mainly just coincidence, this particular demon happens to owe Spike cash and the demon’s inevitable demise just happens to save Pearl in the process. Cut to present day where Spike, Pearl and Nash just happen to run into each other but, Spike who is running low on patience, tangles with the terrible twosome. Finally away from danger, Spike and his bug crew are joined by their new mystery gust Morgan. They set off into space to their next destination, a hell mouth. The bugs are none too happy with the new plan and they do not hesitate to let Spike know; however, Spike as captain of this boat want to stay on course. Luckily the bugs suspicions have got Spike thinking and he decides to do some investigating of his own. Spike and Morgan have a long chat and she explains who and what she is, while this puts Spike at ease the bugs are still not convinced!

I think out of all the Buffyverse titles the Spike series thus far represents the feeling and voice best. I have enjoyed all the titles but this one seems to have a lot of the elements that give you that Joss feeling and this issue is no exception. Spike is really captured amazingly and perfectly. I also really love the bugs, they have a lot of personality and really add humor and heart. I really enjoyed this issue and I think fans of all things Buffy will as well!

Release Date: October 24th, 2012

Links: Preview | Order (Digital) | Order (Print)

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

Review – Willow #2 Wonderland Part 2

Script: Jeff Parker
Inks: Jason Gorder
Pencils: Brian Ching
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: David Mack
Alternate Cover: Megan Lara
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Willow, in a magical wonderland with her new friend Marrack, is in a fight with a big nasty who almost gets the best of Marrak before Willow works her magic mojo. With the nasty inevitably meeting a particularly gruesome end she now has to deal with a snide caterpillar who is quite pissed at the mess she has left behind. Soon into her journey Willow starts meeting some interesting creatures, some of which are good and others that are very bad. Willow quickly learns that she has quite a reputation when she meets up with an old friend. She thinks she has found what she has been looking for but is disappointed in the results. Will she find the answers to restore magic in the world or is the journey hopeless?

I really like this Willow series, she has always been an interesting character and she has always been deserving of a more concentrated storyline. Her voice is captured nicely and the art is beautiful. The story itself is progressing at a nice pace and the extra characters have proved to be pretty interesting thus far. I enjoyed this issue, it is definitely an entertaining read and obviously a must read for Buffy fans!

Release Date: December 5th, 2012

Link: Dark Horse Digital

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #13 Guarded: Part 3

Script: Andrew Chambliss
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Nathan Massengill
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Buffy’s in a standoff with the demon and one time ally Koh who, unbeknownst to Buffy, has turned on her and is in cahoots with Wolfram and Hart. Koh has agreed to kill Theo, creator of TinCan, the social networking site of demons everywhere as long as he is given the information on who imprisoned him a long, long time ago. Buffy, who is doing her best to reason with Koh is having no luck and finds herself in a very tense situation. Theo tells Buffy that she must leave him and destroy TinCan instead of saving him which she reluctantly does. On her new mission, Buffy finds Kennedy who has a big bump on her head courtesy of Koh’s over-exuberance. Some not too friendly words are exchanged between the two women (as well as some punches) before they devise a plan to save Theo. Will they save Theo’s life and will TinCan finally be destroyed stopping Wolfram and Hart’s evil plans (at least for now)? Most importantly, has Buffy found her new calling and will she leave saving the world in the past for the prospect of some fat paychecks?

This issue is good but unfortunately I don’t care for a lot of the main characters. Theo and Kennedy are not particularly likeable or entertaining and Koh has potential but never seems to get there. Buffy needs to find herself quick because this little girl lost act is going on too long (in all fairness she may have figured it out in this issue). Without Buffy’s supporting cast something just feels like it’s missing. There hasn’t even been a mention of Xander or Dawn. I know Spike’s off finding himself, Willow’s trying to restore magic with Angel and his crew but Buffy seems to have no one. She’s pretty much alone and it’s kind of sad. The writing and art are both very good but I think Buffy’s voice has gotten a little lost along the way. I’m not ready to give up yet but I think the comic needs a little tweaking here and there to get back on course.

Release Date: September 12th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

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

Review – Angel & Faith Season 9 #13 Family Reunion Part 3

Script: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs
Colors: Dan Jackson
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
Alternate Cover: Rebekah Isaacs with Dan Jackson
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Still in Quor’toth, our rag-tag bunch has a pretty simple mission, survive long enough to save an enslaved Connor worshiping species and get to safety. Sounds simple enough, right? Faith is doubting their plan and more importantly she’s doubting Angel. She soon realizes that her brain is being jumbled by the weirdness of Quor’toth. Meanwhile, Connor is beginning to see things much more clearly and is beginning to understand his father on a different level. Just as everyone is beginning to figure everything out, hell in the name of Quor’toth breaks loose. While all of this is going on, Sophronia and Lavinia are dealing with their own version of hell back at Giles’ house as Pearl, Nash and Whistler are attempting to have a little “conversation” with them. We quickly see who is really in charge and what they are really capable of. What does Whistler want and will it even matter if Angel, Faith and the rest of the crew are stuck in Quor’toth?

This issue is excellent. There is a lot of action and both of the storylines are full and rich. Christos Gage’s writing is great and the voice of each character is just how it should be. Rebekah Isaacs’ art is brilliant, which is not at all shocking because her work is always amazing. I love both of the covers as well, Steve Morris and Isaacs really outdid themselves on these two. I’m really enjoying this arc and it’s nice to see more of Willow as her own series is going to be starting soon. I also like the comic version of Connor much more than the T.V. Connor, he’s much more likable and not nearly as annoying. This issue is a must read, next month can’t get here soon enough!

Release Date: August, 29th 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #12 – Guarded Part 2

Script: Andrew Chambliss
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Nathan Massengill
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Buffy is settling in quickly to her new role as bodyguard. Along with Kennedy, she is on duty protecting Theo Daniels, founder of TinCan. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill protect the rich and important computer nerd, Daniels has Wolfram and Hart after him and Buffy has her hands full. TinCan is a social networking site that Wolfram and Hart hired Daniels to create, and even with magic not existing on Earth anymore, the complicated code that he created allows other-worldly portals to remain open. The solution to the problem quickly becomes evident however, as always in Buffy’s world, it won’t be easy. Buffy calls on an ally for help, who as it turns out may not be as trustworthy and forthcoming as Buffy would have hoped!

This issue has a lot of action. The Wolfram and Hart storyline is exciting and it will be interesting to see what their next move will be. This issue has the feel of a stand alone issue even though it’s part of an arc. I’m not saying this is a bad thing but how it all comes together will also be interesting to see. Like I said in my review of the last issue, I’ve never been a big fan of Kennedy but her role in this issue is minimal and my annoyance level with her was low. Buffy seems to have calmed down a little bit in this issue, which in my opinion is a good thing. She previously felt frantic and lost and she seems more on track here. The betrayal at the end of the issue was a shock and I can’t wait for Buffy to lose her s#!t in the next issue!

Release Date: August 8th, 2012

Links: Preview | Pre-Order

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #11 Guarded Part 1

Script: Andrew Chambliss
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Nathan Massengill
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Now that Buffy’s mind and body are back together in human form, it’s time for her to get back to reality and figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of her life. Enter Kennedy, she’s got a job for Buffy, which Buffy accepts immediately in her never-ending quest to be a “grown-up.” As quickly as Buffy begins her new job, her inability to be led rears its ugly head. Buffy is used to being in charge but now she’s supposed to follow, which, surprise surprise she is not too keen on! Buffy soon learns that maybe she should listen to others, even if it means no longer listening to her Slayer instincts. Since she is the Chosen One we can expect that this new lesson she learned won’t change her mind for too long and her new career may be short-lived. A demon approaches her for help and off she goes. Unfortunately, Buffy finds that her one true calling, the thing that really sets her apart from everyone else, slaying, is not as needed by society as she thought. After a little bit of soul-searching and career consideration, she decides to get her job back with Kennedy which may soon have her facing a past SUPER big bad!

This issue was solid. The ending alludes to an exciting big bad that could really potentially cause some big trouble. As per usual the art and writing were great. I’m not a huge Kennedy fan so seeing her wasn’t anything great for me but I’m sure some people will be happy with this. The only complaint I have in this issue (and Season 9 in general) is that Buffy sometimes comes off as kind of a twit. Buffy is a strong woman who has survived countless apocalypses, pure evil, she’s died…a lot and yet sometimes it seems as if she is written like she’s 15 and new to this whole situation. In these instances, she lacks confidence, maturity and experience. I love Buffy and I love these characters and I think the stories that are being written are for the most part excellent but I do wish Buffy’s mentality and overall essence was portrayed in more of a linear fashion (as linear as a Slayer in her 20’s can!). My tangent is over and I feel fully confident in saying that while there have been issues in this series it is still a must read and it’s definitely worthwhile to pick up.

Release Date: July 11th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order (Jeanty) | Pre-Order (Noto) | Preview

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #10 Apart (of me) Part 3

Script: Andrew Chambliss ands Scott Allie
Pencils: Cliff Richards
Ink: Andy Owens
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

The real Buffy has been brainwashed (at least with the jumbled brain she has left) by the scheming Simone and RoboBuffy is doing her best to fix the big ol’ mess created by Andrew. The two Buffy’s are at odds as the real Buffy believes she’s got it all figured out. Simone has an evil plan, and now that she thinks she’s figured out what’s going on, Buffy has become an integral part of it. Real Buffy, in her confused but confident state, thinks it’s a good idea to go along with this unfortunate plan. Meanwhile, Spike and Andrew make a discovery of their own and realize RoboBuffy has been gone longer than expected. They set off to find her and with some luck they find her (them?) and Simone. Simone, in her perpetual aggro state refuses to let Spike, Andrew and the bugs ruin her plan, Spike on the other hand has his own plan. While all of this is going on, Detective Dowling is dealing with his own demons after feeling the fallout of having to kill his zompire partner. He is assessing his life and trying to make some tough decisions. Will Simone carry out her evil plan and will Buffy finally understand what’s really going on? What’s in store for Detective Dowling’s future? Does all of this seem really confusing? The answer to the last one is yes, but it becomes much clearer once you read the whole issue!

This issue was good, but I did have to read it twice to follow along. Once I got it, I enjoyed it. I loved the cover, I thought it did a really great job of capturing the uncertainty of Buffy’s mindset right now. The dialog was good, and the interaction between the Buffy’s was particularly interesting. There is some Spuffy action, but nothing that we wouldn’t have seen coming. Simone has potential but this time around I found her more annoying than anything else and I hope we either get a better villain or that she becomes more interesting along the way. I can’t say this was my favorite issue but I have faith that it’s going to get better!

Release Date: June 13th, 2012

Link: Pre-Order | Preview

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #9 Apart (of me) Part Two

Script: Andrew Chambliss and Scott Allie
Pencils: Cliff Richards
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Phil Noto Cover

This issue begins with RoboBuffy, Spike and Andrew arriving at the real Buffy’s house. They find signs of a struggle and Buffy is nowhere to be found. RoboBuffy is having trouble dealing with all of the things she has just learned about herself and that everything she believed to be true, isn’t. As Andrew bumbles along, it becomes clear that he actually did think this through and has put some safeties in place for situations such as these. They get a lead on Buffy’s whereabouts and off they go to rescue her. Meanwhile, Simone is beating and berating Buffy and is having trouble figuring out that Buffy has no idea what is happening. Buffy has no memory of Simone let alone that she is the Slayer. Spike, RoboBuffy and Andrew arrive in the vicinity of where they believe Buffy to be and they separate in an effort to find her. One of them however runs into a surprise along the way that none of them expected. While all of this search and rescue business is going down, Xander, Dawn and Detective Dowling are on their own mission. They are searching for Dowling’s on a rampage, recently zompire turned (ex) partner. Dowling is taking the loss hard and soon appears to be in over his head!

I liked this issue, I really liked the way the interactions between Spike and RoboBuffy have subtlety changed. Andrew’s explanations of why he did what he did seem genuine and it really appears that he thought he was doing the right, good thing. I really enjoyed the dialog in this issue a lot, it felt very real and believable. The art was great and both of the Buffy’s emotions were captured well. All in all it was a solid read and truthfully I was initially unhappy with the direction the story line was going. I decided to suspend snap judgments and gave it a chance and I’m happy I did. It will be very interesting to see how everything progresses from here.

Georges Jeanty Cover

Release Date: May 9th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Rating:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #8 – Apart Of Me Part 1

Script: Andrew Chambliss and Scott Allie
Pencils: Cliff Richards
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

It’s finally here, after what seemed like an eternity, we finally get answers! Buffy, after losing her arm and finding out she’s not human (?) is not having the best day. She’s pissed and she wants to know what the hell is going on. She and Spike go to Andrew and demand an explanation, there’s some pregnancy talk amongst other things but Andrew in a, “what’s the big deal” kind of way, is not giving Buffy what she needs. After a little prodding, he spills the beans and explains the entire thing! Buffy and Spike are confused, hurt and mostly just mad. There is a little bit of Spuffy action followed by a very angry Spike. We also check in with Xander and Dawn, who it seems like we really haven’t seen for an eternity and all does not seem well there. Finally, a nasty makes their return but as of now their intentions are unknown.

This issue wasn’t bad but it did feel like a couple really complex storylines were wrapped up quite easily. The pregnancy, the Buffy Bot, all taken care of, just like that! There was some mention of the Siphon and not wanting to get too spoilery, the nasty who returns (again) could be interesting especially because they didn’t do what would have been expected of them. Having Andrew in this issue provided some laughs, his goofiness and obliviousness are always great. The art was good and so was the dialog but ultimately it just felt like it was missing something. Obviously, it’s a must read for those of us who were dying at the end of the last issue but don’t expect too much, hopefully this new arc will get everything back on track!

Release Date: April 11th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #7 – On Your Own Part 2

Script: Andrew Chambliss
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Karl Story
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Executive Produce: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue begins with Buffy’s roommates, Tumble and Anaheed voting on whether Buffy should stay in the apartment with them. As quickly as they come to their decision they realize that Buffy is already gone. Spike, being the stand up vampire that he is, has taken all of Buffy’s burdens and planted them firmly on his shoulders in hopes of alleviating as much stress and pain off of Buffy that he can. This is not to say that Buffy is incapable of taking care of things, but she is clearly going through some life changing stuff and Spike wants nothing more than to help and be there for her. True to form, Spike is putting out fires all over the place. After a fight with Buffy, Spike receives a call from Detective Dowling who asks him for assistance because he has come across a nest of zompires. Without hesitation, Spike steers his bug infested floating castle in the sky to the nest and jumps into action. Turns out Spike needs some help too and as Buffy helps him and returns the favor, it highlights how great of a team Buffy and Spike really are. After the zompire threat is gone, Buffy and Spike have a heart to heart (I’m not going to lie, I got super giddy here) and then, in typical form, everything goes to #@!% just as fast. Tragedy strikes and we are left wondering what the hell just happened. I read the final panels over and over again and I still don’t know what to think!

This issue was great, especially for the Buffy and Spike shippers (me!). There are a lot of sweet moments followed by a lot of what the &%#@ moments. This issue has it all, the sads, the happys, and most importantly, the sitting there like a deer in headlights unable to form a single thought! The art and dialog are excellent and I especially love Phil Noto’s cover showing a relaxed Buffy and Spike enjoying a glass of wine and a crossword puzzle, the picture of normalcy. Waiting another month for the next issue is going to be an excruciating task but I think it’s definitely going to be worth it.

Release Date: March 14th, 2012

 
Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
WTF Factor:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★½