Christos Gage and Jeff Parker’s characterization of Willow Rosenberg conforms to one of the most infallible representations of the witch ever written—post television verse. With a narrative that rapidly advances toward its series’ end, the two formulate the final stages of our protagonist’s journey through her adventures within a significantly bizarre dimension. If Willow’s ever going to make it back home to restore magic to her world, she has to confront the greatest evil she’ll have to face—herself.
WRITTEN BY: Christos Gage, Jeff Parker
ART BY: Brian Ching
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: March 6th
Dark Horse Comics’ “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow – Wonderland” #5 is the final issue in the series, and it easily outshines all previous installments due to the high level of artwork and script. Following a two-month slump, Brian Ching and Michelle Madsen return with beautifully rendered panels that come to life through a simple, yet effective, colour pallet of mostly oranges, greens, blues, and purples. Their knack for visually engaging readers through their art style is effortless, and is only enriched by Jason Gorder’s dramatic inks; the latter especially excels during the final showdown between Willow and Rack.
Part 5 teaches Willow a valuable lesson that’s detrimental to her ultimate quest of restoring magic to her world: It’s possible for opposing forces to exist in the same space. With that in mind, there’s no such thing as Dark Willow or Light Willow; or Dark magic or Light magic. It’s not as black and white as Good vs. Evil. There’s only Dark intent and Dark action. How a being carries the power within itself is what matters.
Unfortunately, the destruction of the Seed of Magic has led Earth to lose the power within itself, and, regardless, no gateway could carry enough magic to restore the world back to what it once was. Magic only exists where it’s inherent, as “part of the essence of a being”. One who is worthy and ready for such a responsibility, and one who will use the magic given to them, but not only for them.
Now, what Willow chooses to do with this enormous responsibility is limitless, but Gage and Parker end the series in a way that feels as if it’s come full circle; paying homage to, and symbolically revamping, a particular panel in the first installment which showcased the lack of creativity, inspiration, and vision amongst civilians in a magicless world.
You’ll have to pick up the final installment to truly appreciate such a satisfying, yet vastly open end; not only for the Willow fans, but for the Buffy fandom in general, as it ties directly to Season 9’s narrative and future of the verse. The two stunning covers by David Mack and Megan Lara are just a bonus.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd