With only five more issues remaining this season, Andrew Chambliss sets up an interesting 20th installment that builds up narrative tension and produces foreboding expectations of what’s to come. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #20 provides more information regarding Severin and Simone’s masterplan, and sees the return of a fan-favourite character, while Buffy and Xander struggle to live in a magic-less world as they deal with their helplessness concerning Dawn’s deteriorating health. Unfortunately, Xander deals with his deep-seeded insecurities in a debatably controversial way.
WRITTEN BY: Andrew Chambliss
ART BY: Karl Moline
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: April 10, 2013
This is probably one of the least contrived issues of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, as writer Andrew Chambliss attempts to bring readers closer to the end of the season with necessary scenes that ultimately help move the narrative along. There’s minimal action and a lot of build-up for the climax.
Issue #20 begins with a fascinating, though slightly dubious flashback to the immediate aftermath of Giles’ death after the destruction of the Seed. Understandably so, the scene showcases Xander’s furiousness as he severely beats on a weakened Angel and attempts to kill him before ultimately being stopped by Buffy. Hats off to Karl Moline on pencils, who’s managed to effectively portray such brutal panels so effortlessly.
Disregarding the fact that Xander was able to dominate a vampire so viciously, this flashback interestingly enough explains a past scene regarding why a bloodied Angel had been illustrated sitting in Giles’ apartment after the Twilight crisis.
The issue continues in the present where Xander still blames Buffy for Dawn’s condition and refuses to work with the slayer to save her. Taking it upon himself to figure out a way to help Dawn, Xander gets roped into helping Simone and The Siphon, who play on his insecurities and current predicament enough to get him on board with promises of a better future. Their masterplan seems solid enough, but as history suggests, nothing good comes from trusting the bad guys.
In terms of art, Karl Moline has taken over for Georges Jeanty, and it’s a nice change of pace. He, along with inkers Andy Owens, Dexter Vines, and Michelle Madsen on colours, work really well together, particularly in the flashback and reunion scenes. Emotionally driven moments are where they excel the most.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd