Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #14 Join The Fight Part 1

Story: Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Grenberg
Script: Jane Espenson
Pencils: Karl Moline
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines an Michelle Madsen
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue begins with two teenagers, a boy and a girl, hanging out talking about love, life and everything in between. We soon find out that life is not so great for the boy, Billy. Billy is gay, a teenager and like a lot of kids in his situation gets tormented regularly for being “different”. Billy has the support of his grandma but she seems to be one of the few people in his life that is. While Billy’s trying to find his place in the world, Zompires are multiplying like bunnies! Billy soon meets some Zompires and all does not go great, but he is aided by a boy who Billy has watched from afar for some time. A plan is concocted and for the first time a potential Slayer is not chosen and not a girl.

Billy is a likeable character and you instantly feel sympathy for him and his plight. The concept of a male Slayer has always been interesting and I like that it comes about in a different way that doesn’t follow Slayer lore. The writing is excellent but it is Jane Espenson so that’s not a really big surprise since she is so amazing! The art is also great and really succeeds in capturing the anguish Billy is feeling. This was a solid read and I like the twist of the male Slayer!

Release Date: October 10th, 2012

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

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★½☆ 
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 – 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 #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 #6 On Your Own Part 1

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

Phil Noto Cover

This review will largely have me fawning over Spike. I try to act impartial but when it comes to the awesomeness that is Spike, it becomes very hard to do. This issue has Buffy dealing with the aftermath of the news that she learned at the end of the last issue. She seeks advice from someone who has first hand knowledge of what it’s like to fall into an impossible situation where the answers aren’t so easy. As Buffy is getting advice and trying to figure out her future, Spike is on a ride-a-long with Officer Dowling. Spike is trying to teach him about the subtleties of zompires. As Spike is explaining the enigma that is Buffy, he receives a S.O.S call from her and without hesitation he’s on his way (swoon). Buffy spills life changing news to Spike, who does nothing but listen and be supportive. As Buffy asks Spike for help, Spike again, without missing a beat is there for her.

This issue is very good and very sad. Spike is amazing, from his very concise summary of his and Buffy’s “story” to his right into action chivalrous behavior. The art is fantastic, the somber tone is captured extremely well. I love the cover, it is irrefutable that Spike has Buffy’s back (without judgment) both literally and figuratively and this is what makes him the best. This issue is the first in a two issue story arc which hopefully will conclude in a not so easy wrap-up in the next issue. Hopefully, I didn’t fawn too much, but I think once everyone reads the issue my Spike love will be understood!

Georges Jeanty Cover

Release Date: February 8th, 2011

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