Review: ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow – Wonderland’ #3

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Things are decelerating in Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow – Wonderland #3, as Jeff Parker and Christos Gage reach the half-way point of the series. The quick-paced narrative that plowed through the last two slows down in this installment, as our protagonist must come to terms with the fact that her ultimate quest to restore Earth’s magic is failing. With a newly encountered society of witches pulling her one way, and her companion Marrak, another, this issue presents Willow with a multitude of choices regarding her future, both in this mystical realm, and on Earth.

WRITTEN BY: Jeff Parker, Christos Gage
ART BY: Brian Ching
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASE: January 2nd

‘Part 3’ takes Willow through the soul-crushing realization that without magic on Earth to anchor a portal to this mystical realm she’s found herself in, her hope of bringing magic back to her world through the gateway is dashed. Her reality has collapsed, yet she makes very little progress in terms of completing her quest, as she spends the majority of the issue becoming increasingly enamoured with the new mystical paradise she’s discovered. The witches, though seemingly well-meaning, have as much motive as the mysterious warlock, and ultimately, Willow will have to choose which side to take in the upcoming issues.

Parker and Gage devote this issue to Willow’s inner-musings, insecurities, and fears concerning her place in a world without magic, her usefulness to Buffy and the gang, and her reasons behind embarking on the quest itself. While it is very much a self-discovery piece, Parker and Gage utilize other characters to incorporate elements of vigorous and bitter conflict, action, and romance; even bringing back Giles via ambiguous vision.

Brian Ching’s pencils and Michelle Madsen’s colours do not particularly live up to their previous work on the series, but the deep water panels, which follow Willow on a significant underwater journey, make up for the inconsistencies. Madsen definitely steals the show, but Ching’s use of symbols in these scenes is just as commendable. It’s probably the first time I’ve seen the Ouroboros, the concept of Yin-Yang, the Dharmachakra, and the Venus symbol all in one panel.

Sadly, while still being an interesting and worth-while issue, this installment doesn’t quit hit my high expectations, though I do believe it’s a necessary filler to set up the remainder of the series for what looks like an epic finale.

3.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – ShadowJayd