In Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #22
The covers: The usual pair to pique your pocketbook. The Regular cover has the most gorgeous likeness of Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn, hovering between life and death as Buffy, Will, Xander, and Spike go forward to save her. Wonderful work by Phil Noto! The Alternate cover is by the usual gang of suspects: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen. A solemn Spike against a sad eyed Buffy. How could I pass either of these up? Congratulations to all four artists: I had to buy both covers this month. Overall grades: Both A
The story: Action, action, action in this issue as Buffy and her friends battle the major magical mages on Earth to enter the Core to save her dying sister Dawn. Buffy is wielding the Scythe and Willow’s got some of the magic back. What could defeat them besides the superior numbers of opponents? Well…Mr. Xander Harris is in cahoots with the big bads, doing anything–such as aligning with anyone that promises to keep his love, Dawn, alive. I hate that Xander is doing this, but this horrible choice is completely in line with his character. And where’s Dawn? Back at Buffy’s San Fran apartment where Spike is giving an Emmy…er, Eisner Award worthy scene. I was surprised by the conversation on the second to last page, but with all that’s going on I was happy to see “it” resolved. This is another nonstop read from Andrew Chambliss. Overall grade: A+
The art: Terrific action from penciller Georges Jeanty and inker Dexter Vines. From Buffy getting physical to Willow casting spells–this is good stuff! Page 6 gave me a new respect for inflatable objects and what’s in them. I fell in love with Page 9′s layout because that is the perfect way to set out a scene with two people on opposite sides of a door. I also really loved Page 20′s first panel which is someplace I could have the characters run around for a while and be content. And I have to say I’m loving the determination and anger in the final panel on the last page. Just gorgeous work. Overall grade: A+
The colors: This book is once again a textbook example for aspiring colorists on how to do the job right. For example, Page 1: the setting is night, but that doesn’t mean an ebony background. Yellow and oranges are used in extreme close-up action shots, with the final panel being shades of blues to evoke darkness but still allowing the reader to see things. Michelle Madsen is always gold on this book. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt do their usual bang up job with solid narration and dialogue, and there are some really sweet sound effects. It’s gonna be hard to top POP! Overall grade: A+
The final line: The Slayer’s kickin’ butt and takin’ names, and she’ll be takin’ yours if you don’t purchase this book! Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comics Buyers Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years, and has only recently been teaching 9th graders English. He reads everything as often as possible, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.