In Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #24
The covers: What a thing of beauty Phil Noto has created with this issue’s Regular cover. Spike with the two most important ladies in his life: Buffy and Dawn. Sadly, only Buffy is in this issue, but this sure does look fantastic! And what a stunner of an Alternate cover from Georges Jeanty with Karl Story and Michelle Madsen. Doffler is going Hulk on Buffy. I love all the debris raining off the block she’s going to hurl. Plus, I love the logo being on that block. Buffy in peril always gets to me, so this was the cover I had to purchase. Overall grade: Regular A and Alternate A+
The story: The penultimate chapter of “The Core.” Will Buffy, Willow and Xander be able to jump-start magic on Earth to save Buff’s disappearing sister Dawn? That’s not resolved this issue (“penultimate”, not “ultimate”) but lots does happen in Andrew Chambliss’ script. Doffler has become a Big Bad vampire and her goal is to kill Buffy. The pair battle in every direction within the Core. It’s violent, rough and uneasy for either to claim victory. Willow using the “magic detector” finds something…something that can change everything…but there will the ultimate price for one or two characters. Siphon is continuing to cause havoc as he accumulates enough power to go back in time and save the one he loves. It’s this storyline that got me this time around. Usually it’s a moment when Xander or Willow says something to Buffy that pulls at my heart. This time Buffy’s nowhere near the scene and Willow is the recipient. Pages 18 – 20 are gonna mess you up! The final page wasn’t too much of a shocker, judging from where the spike is protruding, though the third panel promises big fireworks! Overall grade: A+
The art: Wow, Wow and WOW! Penciller Georges Jeanty and inker Dexter Vines have created an elaborate setting for our characters to run about. Speaking of characters, Doffler is one wicked looking Bad: frightening and ancient, wrapped in a punker’s garb. Outstanding! As she and Buffy fight in every possible direction in the Core, I was impressed I didn’t get lost. I’ve read many comics where characters are pounding each other senseless in a random cave and I couldn’t tell you precisely where the fighters were, but in this comic, due to the many shifting points of view and the clarity of the images, I feel as if I could map out this fight. Brilliant! Willow’s magical mystery tour was also stunning. I loved her finding of the object (my favorite panel is the bottom of Page 9), and her taking it to the pair that could help her. Every image of this issue is a treat! Overall grade: A+
The colors: As good as the art it, Michelle Madsen’s work is this issue’s life blood. The first two pages are in a coolly lit chamber where Doffler in her new look confronts Buffy. The colors are sedate, unless Xander is being punched or the monster’s eyes zero in on our heroine. Willow is in deep red looking for a magical object, which explodes into a brilliant orange, which in turn transitions to the blinding light of Siphon on overload. The colors of this book are magic. My favorite pages are 18 – 20, where it’s so bright Willow’s hair looks orange-blonde. Magnificent! Overall grade: A+
The letters: Dialogue, vampire dialogue, screams, yells, and a score of sound effects throughout from Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. Page 2′s WHAK! and the multiple BAMs and CRASHes were my favorites! Overall grade: A+
The final line: The Slayer and her friends act and look amazing. Buffy without a budget sure is stunning. Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s 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. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th graders and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.