"Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 10) #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs
2014, 24 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on March 19th, 2014
You can't keep a good slayer down. Buffy returns for Season 10 and she's brought friends. After jumpstarting magic once again, the zompires (zombie vampires) are dying out, but your garden variety bloodsuckers are still going strong. Joined by Dawn, Andrew, Xander, Spike, and Willow, the Chosen One is back to kicking ass, but the rules have changed. While magic is once again flowing through our world, it's not quite the same. Willow is having a hard time getting a grasp on it and the vampires seem different. Not quite the same furrowed brows the Scooby Gang is used to dealing with.
The creative team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs did a tremendous job last season with Angel & Faith. They have now moved to the main title this season and that synergy continues. The pair work very well together. Gage has a knack for dialogue in the Whedonverse and Isaacs nails the likenesses of all of the main characters.
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As this is a season premiere, there's a lot of narration to catch the reader up on the new status quo. This is done in the form of thought boxes from Buffy as she recaps recent events and how she's struggling to come to terms with things. The Slayer Handbook's pages are literally blank, so this is a new era for magic. Gage lays it on a little thick at times. There are no less than three references to how much Giles is missed in this issue. We get it. She misses her father figure. Anyone that read through Angel & Faith knows what to expect with this issue. It's no surprise that the not-so-dead former Watcher was searching for his star pupil.
It is rather refreshing seeing Buffy take charge again. The entire issue is a big battle as the slayer takes on a horde of zompires swarming Santa Rosita, California. While she has some help, Buffy is in the zone. Last season had her trying to figure out what to do with herself, which was pretty lackluster. With the return of Giles, hopefully she'll be back on track and ready to confront the new dangers that lie ahead of her. The tail end of this chapter features some pretty big changes that completely alter the way that vampire slaying has been handled to date.
The supporting characters are also back in a satisfying way. Although some only get a few panels of exposure, Gage manages to include some exposition for each of them. Whether it's Dawn trying to figure out where she fits in after nearly fading away from reality or Spike managing to fight side-by-side with Buffy without getting all emo, there's a lot going on here. Fortunately, it never feels cluttered. The biggest possibility is Xander, who is seeing and speaking to a ghost from his past. As this is a Joss Whedon creation, there are plenty of dead people to choose from. This could be a coping mechanism that he's created as a response to the events of Season 9, but it could also be something much worse.
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As mentioned previously, Rebekah Isaacs does a brilliant job with each of the characters. As this is Season 10, they're all a little older. They're not in high school anymore. Isaacs draws them with a maturity that you'd expect from a group of people in their mid-to-late 20s. Some of the choices are a little strange, such as Willow's Luke Skywalker outfit. She looks like she just came back from picking up some power converters, but it's an adult style, not one from a confused young girl. In a similar vein, Xander is in full-on adult mode with a scruffy beard coming in. He has a look of exhaustion to him, like he's being haunted. I guess that makes sense as he's talking to a ghost, huh?
Isaacs has a talent for fight scenes as well. Considering that this issue is one long action sequence, her talents are definitely well utilized. There's a flow to each panel, especially for the first few pages. The comic jumps right into the battle and it's like coming home to an old friend. Hello again, Ms. Summers.
The first story arc for Buffy Season 10 is called “New Rules”, which sums things up pretty well. Everything has changed and not in that fake-super-hero-comic way where everything is really the same again. The way that things work in the world is fundamentally different. Buffy has her group assembled once again, but there's a lot of baggage that they have to get through while dealing with this new magic. This is a refreshing fresh start for Buffy and it's got me really excited.
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