"Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 11) #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Illustrated by Georges Jeanty
Colored by Dan Jackson
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 15th, 2017
After a supernatural dragon devastates San Francisco, the US government creates “Safe Zones” for vampires, demons, magic users, and any other non-human entities. They're essentially internment camps, where these people can be housed until the powers that be figure out what to do next. Despite the fact the camp is patrolled by slayers, Buffy is a captive as well since she didn't want to work with them. Plus, she's in a serious relationship with Spike, so there's some solidarity there too. Willow is also in the camp because of her witch powers.
I mentioned in my review for issue #2, when the topic of these “Safe Zones” first came up, that Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 is dealing with important issues. The President of the United States recently issued a ban on people coming into this country based on their religion. This is the same thing, although with fictional beings, and it shows the very real horror that can come as a result.
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The camp is depressing. It's basically a shanty town with make-shift shelters propped up here and there as demons, ogres, and assorted supernatural creatures struggle to get by. Spike gets a weekly blood ration that barely keeps him alive. Fortunately for him, Buffy lets him supplement with her own blood every now and again, but that's not something she can do all the time, especially since she's been enforcing her own justice amongst some of the bigger baddies nearby. Even though there are guards, they don't seem to care if the prisoners beat each other up or even kill one another.
There are several new varieties of monster within the camp's fences. Artist Georges Jeanty brings us a number of unique creatures, including a cyclops, a dinosaur-like beast, and a little goblin. There are many more that make the larger, crowded panels intriguing to sift through, looking for new and interesting ones.
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Jeanty captures action very well, bottling a sense of excitement in his panels as Buffy leaps into battle. The fight scenes are expertly choreographed and flow very smoothly. He also gets the basic likenesses down for the actors that played the main characters. There is always something a bit off about some of his faces though. This bothered me way back in Season 8 too. I think it's the nose. This sounds like such a trivial thing to point out, but it throws off the whole look of the face. Sometimes it looks like there's nothing there. Other times it's like there's a gelatinous blob where a nose should be. It's inconsistent, but never great.
As mentioned, Buffy Season 11 is delving into some very serious issues, showing how the government could react – or overreact – to a supernatural terrorist attack. Was a vampire responsible for the dragon that destroyed San Francisco? Probably not, but that's not going to stop them from being imprisoned along with any other non-human in the area. This book packs a political punch without banging the message over your head. It puts things into perspective.