"Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 11) #8" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs
Colored by Dan Jackson
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 21st, 2017
Buffy and Willow have been depowered and are back in the real world with Xander and Dawn. Spike is still in the Safe Zone with the other monsters, but the Chosen One and her friends have a plan to bust him out and shut down this government-run internment camp. That is easier said than done.
We’ve seen Buffy go through all kinds of trials and tribulations in the decades-long run of the series both on TV and in comics. She’s fought vampires, monsters, gods, and more. She’s literally died and come back to life. Now the powers that helped her accomplish all of this are gone. She’s a normal woman. Without those abilities, how is she going to take down a common thug, let alone the government power holding her boyfriend?
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That idea is a driving force in this issue – and likely the season as a whole. What makes Buffy the Chosen One is not the super strength and fast healing. It’s the drive to do what’s right and stop evil in its tracks, regardless of the form it takes. That comes through in droves here as Buffy faces insurmountable odds. This is what makes her a hero.
The difficulty is coming to terms with this new status quo. This is something that both Buffy and Willow struggle with. Something that helped define who they were has been removed. That’s a punch right to the gut. Think of yourself for a moment. What makes you you? Is it your race? Gender? Religion? Now imagine someone taking that away from you. That would feel pretty crappy, right? That is what these characters are facing.
They’re definitely not doing this laying down. There’s a terrific scene where Buffy confronts a street thug harassing a former Wiccan in a park. This guy is twice the size of her and she no longer has super strength or reflexes. Despite these odds, she jumps into a fight because it’s the right thing to do. Just because she doesn’t have powers doesn’t mean that she can’t defend the helpless.
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This especially comes through in Rebekah Isaacs’ artwork. Buffy has an unmistakable look of determination on her face. The hoodlum is skeevy from the first moment you see him. This is a guy that you would cross the street to avoid if you saw him walking towards you. We’ve seen Buffy take some hits before, but never like this. The fight is almost too brutal to watch. You’ll cringe when each blow is struck. This builds up to an incredible moment that really shows how nothing is going to keep Buffy down. It’s highlighted by Dan Jackson’s colors, giving the panel a dark red hue.
This is an issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer without a single monster. Everyone in here is human and it’s just as riveting as a big vampire battle royale. Isaacs has a talent for characterization and expressions. There’s certainly a nostalgia factor at work in the relatability and familiarity of the characters, but that will only take you so far. The looks they give each other bring a warmth and comfort even in the face of such horrible odds that make them feel like home.
This season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been absolutely stellar. It’s one of the best yet, with a compelling story, gorgeous artwork, and undeniable excitement. Every single chapter ups the ante and shows just what made this series so special.