"Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 11) #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs
Colored by Dan Jackson
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on December 21st, 2016
Buffy and the Scooby Gang have saved the world countless times. They've suffered personal losses and almost every member of the team has been dead at some point, not unlike the X-Men. Now they face a larger challenge in the form of government regulation. In the wake of the devastating supernatural attack on San Francisco by a storm dragon that left chunks of the city in ruins, the country has hastily appointed a Secretary of the Supernatural and begun instituting new laws that apply specifically to anyone dabbling in the dark arts, however big or small.
It's easy to draw comparisons to the events in this book and those in present day America. You can replace Muslims and immigrants with vampires and demons here and you have a very similar situation. I realize how awful that sentence sounds, as if I'm comparing Muslims and immigrants to these monsters, but understand that I'm referring to literal creatures as they appear in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not hurling insults.
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The government's rules are rather vague and draw a number of questions from Buffy and the team. Since the slayer has these innate abilities, does she need to ask for permission from the local legislature if she wants to lift something heavy or come to someone's aid? What if Willow needs to cast a spell? What are regulated? There are so many different types of creatures currently living out in the open in this world that it would be tough to apply an overall ruling that basically applies to any non-humans by default. This quickly spurs on hate crimes and some chilling scenes of violence that reflect what's going on in the real world today in a very unsettling manner.
Artist Rebekah Isaacs brings heart to the Scoobies, showing them in a very vulnerable position as they react to the news. She delivers so much emotion in a scene where they're all just sitting in an apartment talking to one another. You can tell a lot from facial cues, especially with Buffy. I love the instant attitude she gets when confronted by another slayer working for the government. She immediately turns suspicious as her blood starts to boil.
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Additionally, Isaacs shows the monstrous qualities in everyday humans when they begin to commit these xenophobic acts. They're desperate, afraid, and angry, which is a dangerous combination. You'd never think that you could feel pity and sympathy for a horned demon, but that's what happens here.
One of my main criticisms of Buffy Season 10 is that it seemed like the title character is stuck in an advanced adolescence, refusing to accept the responsibilities that come with being an adult. I'm happy to see that this season is off to a great start with the exact opposite. Buffy is grabbing hold of this problem with both hands, refusing to accept the new status quo. What makes things doubly challenging is that this enemy is not something that she can punch or stab. She's fighting the United States government while also possibly evil, is unlike any other opponent she's faced.