In Reveiw: Giles #4

A solid conclusion as teenage Giles battles his son and has to deal with his vampire girlfriend.

The covers: The Regular cover is a beauty by Steve Morris. During the eclipse, Giles is casting a spell on girlfriend, and vampire, Roux, who doesn’t look pleased by the affair. Not helping her mood would be the flames underneath her and Giles holding a stake. The characters look really good, but take a look at background — the buildings are fantastic! This setting really adds to the realism of the characters. The colors are also neat, with Roux getting the spotlight in yellow and red. Well done, Mr. Morris. The next cover is displays a heavily colored pink setting of the school. Giles puts a fist to his heart as he thinks, ‘In both my lives I’ve faced many monsters…but love will be the death of me.’ Roux is walking away from him as he deals with this pain. I’m just not liking the way Giles looks on this, with arms approaching ape levels in length. Roux looks good, but look at the other two students to Giles’s right — they’re just too cartoony. This Variant cover by Arielle Jovellanos with Comicraft is designed to appeal to an audience that’s not me. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant D+

The story: Joss Whedon and Erika Alexander’s final chapter begins with Giles sitting atop the school, taking in the vista of the surrounding city, pondering if he has the stones to be the person he think he can be: a monster killer. The problem is he’s in love with Roux, a vampire, and she’s connected to the deaths that have been happening at Living Legend Academy Charter School. He goes to see his old friend who’s lost his mind, because he’s a teacher at the school, and learns that there’s a way to take out the demon Seed, which spawned from Rupert. The conversation is going great until Seed possesses his friend. Giles quickly gets the demon out, but his friend has to go to the hospital for the once over. Before being hoisted into an ambulance, his friend tells him that Seed will probably make his stand on a high place. Looking to the right, Giles cannot miss the St. Thomas Bridge. Needing a bit of courage and magical assistance, Giles calls a character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This moment is definitely needed because Giles is a man…boy, er — man alone. His solitude doesn’t last long because someone else is in the room and gives some needed exposition to reveal what happened to few members of the faculty. Unfortunately this individual reveals that someone else is in immediate danger if things don’t go well. The chase that follows is neat. How Giles is able to get to the bridge is a little convenient, but I rolled with it. The final confrontation with the Big Bad is good, but it’s the scenes between two other characters that’s the reason to pick this book up — Those scenes, though brief, are magic. They are more of a payoff than fighting the evil character. Even better than the story’s resolution is the character growth that occurs. This is rare in comic books, but I truly believe that Giles is a different person after the events of this issue and series. that’s exactly what a reader, and a fan, want. Overall grade: A-

The art: It took a while, but I’m enjoying Jon Lam’s artwork. Lam begins the book with a highly detailed panel of Giles sitting on the school’s roof looking out at the city. This view is terrific. Then, like a master cinematographer, Lam slowly pulls in to Giles and swings around the point of view to take in the full figure of the protagonist. The point of view is also well done when showing Giles speaking with Addison, which has the missing friend’s living quarters looking quite ominous. When Addy’s transformation occurs when possessed by Seed, Lam does it very effectively by having smoke begin to pour out of the man’s eyes. The entrance of a character at the bottom of 6 is well played, with the individual far enough from Giles to seem threatening. The last panel on 8 is awesome, setting up the events of the next few pages. There’s a neat, though terrible, panel in the middle of 9. There’s a lot of action on Pages 10 – 13 with much of it free from dialogue. This allows Lam to showcase his skills and he makes the character movements exciting. When Seed appears he’s got some very cool panels, wielding magic and making boasts. Page 19 and 20 contain the images I’ll remember the most from this series, as well as the final page which visually confirms a character’s growth. Overall grade: A

The colors: Dan Jackson’s colors start off strong with a great lighting effect for the sun on the city Giles is looking at. This is carried over onto the item that Giles is looking at in the final panel of the page. The colors go gray with every possible shade to show where Addison is hiding out. I like how a very faint violet is used to telegraph the power behind his smoking eyes. This violet goes luminescent when fully possessed. When Giles takes action a strong violet is used. The grays used to obscure a character on 6 are excellent. The chase through the school’s halls uses some great colors, especially for the magic employed by both parties. The climax has some really great colors, with energy bolts creating some great shading on characters and settings. The last panels also have some strong coloring, closing this series out perfectly. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This issue’s text by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt includes scene settings, the story title, dialogue, narration and a telephone transmission, possessed speech, Big Bad speech, sounds, yells, and whispered dialogue. The scene settings are bold, making each location like a revelation. The narration and the phone conversation are italicized and differentiated by their balloons, which is fine, though I wish they could have been differed by their fonts. The possessed speech and the Big Bad dialogue look as monstrous as their sources. But it’s the whispered dialogue in the end that completes the artwork by making the proceedings a visual gut punch. Overall grade: A

The final line: A solid conclusion as teenage Giles battles his son and has to deal with his vampire girlfriend. The emotional moments are a bigger draw than the action, but that’s what I want from a Buffy related book. Though this series started slowly, it ended wonderfully. Overall grade: A

To order a print copy go to https://www.tfaw.com/Comics/Profile/Buffy-Season-Eleven-Giles4___566161?utm_source=darkhorse&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=darkhorse_buy&utm_term=buy+Buffy+Season+11%3A+Giles+%234

To order a digital copy go to https://digital.darkhorse.com/books/62dd3f3d3c2e4e08857f2b3cdeeea3c0/buffy-season-11-giles-4

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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