Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #19 sees Buffy, Illyria, and Koh dealing with the consequences of a brutal showdown with the Siphon, who continues to gain power by ripping mystical energy from all he touches. On top of him being on the loose, Buffy is met with distressing news concerning Dawn, and an agitated Xander who is fed up with all the negative outcomes ultimately derived from Buffy’s heroic actions. It’s an issue that’s ripe with plot development, dramatic confrontations, and confirms some speculative theories the fandom already presumes.
WRITTEN BY: Andrew Chambliss
ART BY: Georges Jeanty
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: March 13th
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9” #19 is the last installment in Andrew Chambliss’ arc titled “Welcome to the Team”, and it sets the narrative in rapid motion. Illyria suffers a massive blow as a result of her confrontation with Severin. The mastermind behind the zompire epidemic is revealed, but in a very anti-climactic way due to accurate fandom speculation; and naturally, they’re cooking up a deliciously evil plan to disrupt Buffy’s life. Meanwhile, the latter faces some troubling news concerning the main reason behind Dawn’s deteriorating health; and as expected, the ramifications of the destruction of the Seed have directly affected The Key and the magic used to create her.
If Buffy wasn’t feeling guilty enough, this is just another horrible consequence of her actions, and Xander lets her know it. This issue features amazing writing and emotional imagery from both Chambliss and Jeanty, particularly regarding the panels showcasing Xander and Buffy’s blowout. It’s raw and dramatic, and really captures the voices of our two main characters. It’s a fantastic scene but it might rub readers in a negative way. While Xander has some valid points when it comes to placing blame on Buffy’s shoulders, she made a choice that needed to be made in order to save the world.
Joss Whedon is known to victimize Buffy by throwing terrible things at the character in order to garner sympathy, but it’s somewhat unnecessary at this point in the game, and borderline exhausting. Especially when it comes to reading Xander’s hypocrisy concerning the situation with Dawn. Once upon a time, he was perfectly content with the possibility of having to kill Buffy’s sister in order to save the world, but now that he’s sleeping with her he feels it necessary to condemn Buffy’s involvement and attempt to save her on his own.
This is so reminiscent of TV-verse Xander, blaming Buffy for things that are so completely out of her control, that it’s only a testament to Chambliss’ amazing characterization and writing. This is a man who really understands Joss Whedon’s world and characters. George Jeanty’s art takes a step up this time around, along with Michelle Madsen’s colours. Her talents shine through the opening panels featuring Buffy, Illyria, and Koh, post Severin showdown.
Anticipation for next month’s issue is rising due to all the dramatic build-up this installment has to offer. Definitely looking forward to it.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd