In Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #16

The covers: The Regular cover is by Phil Noto showing Xander and Dawn with Buffy in the background. It’s fairly boring, and Dawn looks really odd. I really didn’t like this. The Alternate cover is by Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen. It’s a great action shot of Buffy and a zompire going off a building with the gorgeous skyline of San Francisco behind them. This image with the story’s title “Welcome to the Team” make this the perfect combo. Overall grades: Regular C and Alternate A

The story: Buffy and her new gang of Scoobies battle the zompire threat, while getting moments to examine their relationships with each other. Seems mundane? Think again, because Andrew Chambliss is great at action scenes, and, boy, are those first six pages good, but even better are the character scenes. Pages 8 through 15 have great character moments that increase readers’ knowledge of the cast, and foreshadow events to come. Without these pages the book is just mindless slaying. And before you get to that last page, you better have some clean shorts on hand, because this is the biggest character reveal since Angel came to Dark Horse. Overall grade: A+

The art: The opening pages from penciller Georges Jeanty and inker Dexter Vines play like a lost scene from the television series. It’s creepy, action packed, and “shot” gorgeously. Slayer HQ is also drawn well, considering it’s such a small space, Jeanty moves his camera around enough to keep these character scenes interesting, while not losing any detail, be it any of the characters’ drop dead eyes or the dalek and K-9 on a shelf. And that last page reveal is stunning! Overall grade: A+

The colors: Another outstanding job from Michelle Madsen, who perfectly can make a scene horrific with bright colors, and not just rely on blacks to create tension. I also like the apartment’s green interiors, since this setting is the Scoobies’ only safe haven, it makes sense that it’d be cool, relaxing lime green. I also can not overstate how appreciative I am that the sound effects get their own colors to make them stand out. Overall grade: A+  

The letters: Several cool sound effecs at the beginning and end of this issue, with solid dialogue in the middle. Page 2 is good for future letterers to study to see how this skill can be done so perfectly! Work by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. Overall grade: A+

The final line: I’ve used the word enough times in the review, so why not once more: perfection in every way! Overall grade: A+

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