In Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #20

The covers: Congratulations, Phil Noto! You finally got me! I’m a huge fan of Georges Jeanty and I always buy his Alternate covers. Not this time. This cover of Xander with Dawn in his eyepatch is a keeper! The alternate cover is by Jeanty with Dexter Vines and it shows Xander on his knees just at the end of Season 8. Great, but I cannot resist that Noto cover! Overall grades: Regular A+ and Alternate A

The story: This was a hard one to read. I knew it was coming–it’s due–but I didn’t want it to happen. After a seven page recap of the end of Season 8, told from Xander’s point of view, we go to the present where Xander feels useless as Dawn is dying. He’s letting his emotions rule him, as he often does when stressed, but this is different. Now he’s making deals with devils. Who is more important to Xander? You’ll know by the end of this issue! Writer Andrew Chambliss also returns a fantastic supporting character back into the mix, which only had me wincing aloud, “If only Xander had been there…” Outstanding and painful. Overall grade: A+

The art: This issue has penciller Karl Moline and inker Andy Owens handling the art and they do a good job. I like the likenesses they do of the characters, especially on the female protagonists, though when someone is mad a portion of their face gets hidden in shadows and this bugged me. Looking particularly excellent is the female antagonist–wicked and smart. Big brownie points for the emblem on Xander’s jacket. Where can I buy one? Overall grade: B+

The colors: I love how Michelle Madsen can make the darkest of scenes bright, so that every detail or emotion in the art can be scene without losing the tension. She does a really good job on the blood in the flashback and the sick green in the antagonists’ lair. Overall grade: A+

The letters: I like the dialogue and narration by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt, but the first “THWAK” and the final “THUMP” look odd. Overall grade: B+

The final line: Great story, okay art. If you’re a Buffy fan, this is one you’ll be screaming about for a month. Overall grade: A- 

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