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 – 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 – Spike #1 A Dark Place Part 1 of 5

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
After deciding that he can’t just sit around and wait for Buffy to call, Spike jumps in his roach mobile and takes off for the calm and serene vacation spot known as the dark side of the moon. In an attempt to gather his thoughts and clear his mind with various libations, Spike and his bug crew are on their way. Once arriving on the moon though Spike can’t seem to shake his super sad mood and the memories of Buffy seem to be everywhere. Spike’s bug friends refuse to sit back and watch him wallow in his misery so they devise a plan to get him back on track, which works, for a while anyway. Meanwhile, we learn that just like on Earth the moon has its own group of nasties with bad intentions. We quickly learn what those intentions are and all hell breaks loose. Will Spike and his bug army ever get off the moon or are they destined to become space junk?

It has been no secret that I am a huge Spike fan, so truth be told I was extremely excited about this series but also worried about how it would turn out. I first have to begin with Jenny Frison’s cover, it is spectacular in every way, everything she does is always amazing but she somehow out did herself with this one. Victor Gischler’s writing is superb. He captures the nuances of Spike perfectly. There is a bunch of funny, but there is also the torment and pain which really encapsulates what Spike is all about. The entire team working on this series is top-notch, from the cover, to the writing, to the art inside everything is really amazing. This was a great intro issue and Spike’s bugs really add a nice touch with their oddness and full personalities. If you are anything like me, fear not, this is a great issue and an excellent addition to the ever-growing Buffy cannon.

Release Date: August 22nd, 2012

Links: Pre-Order (Paper) | Preview

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #5 – Slayer, Interrupted

Script: Andrew Chambliss
Pencils: Karl Moline
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Steve Morris
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines & Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Steve Morris Cover

A Zompire mob is in full effect and Buffy, with a little (very little) help from Xander and Dawn, is trying to lessen the mob as best she can.  She thinks she succeeds only to find out that she has failed miserably.  However, all was for naught, she’s just dreaming.  Buffy’s dreams, always vivid and a bit confusing are no different this time around.  As she attempts to figure out what they mean she enlists Willow’s help.  The dreams (references to the first Slayer, season 8 and Disney) finally become clear(ish) and it seems that the magic conundrum is on the verge of being resolved (no, they don’t learn complicated card tricks).  Willow must take her own path and as Buffy’s roommates are questioning whether they can all continue living together because of Buffy’s dangerous slaying, Buffy’s world is positively turned upside down!

This issue has the potential to set up some very interesting and very important verse changing storylines (if the big “whoa” moments are indeed real and not part of a dream or something along those lines).  The dialog and art are very good and the cover is one of my favorites so far!  I didn’t know how to feel about this issue when I finished reading it but as it ruminated for a while I realized I really liked it and I am super excited to see where it is going to take us.  Everything is very good, albeit a little “wha?” inducing, but ultimately a strong issue.

George Jeanty Alt Cover

Release Date: January 11th, 2012

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