After a purposeful, but sometimes meandering, two-year run on Dark Horse Comics, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9” presents its season finale with equal parts adrenaline, action, and mystery-fuelled resolution. Though the overall journey has been a mixed bag of highs and lows, “The Core” Part 5 delivers an apocalypse thwarting final battle epic—reminiscent of the TV-verse finales—that ultimately changes the course of the established series mythology and opens the door to even more possibilities in Season 10.
WRITTEN BY: Andrew Chambliss
ART BY: Georges Jeanty
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: September 11th, 2013
Compared to last season’s exhaustive 40 issue saga, choosing to expand the narrative over a span of 25 issue installments seems to have been a good call. Though, even with the reduced design, there still manages to be moments of ineffectual story developments. Moreover, the condensed structure may be why some storylines or characters seem to have faded away into obscurity over the months, e.g. the discontinued use of Detective Dowling, and the identity of Koh’s betrayer, who still remains unknown.
Picking up right where the last issue leaves off, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9” #25 sees our protagonist overcome her stint as a slayer kebab, after Simone skewers her with the scythe. She joins Willow, Xander, and what’s left of the mystical council, in the fight against the giant-sized demon, Maloker, as Simone continues her relentless attacks. Illyria has her hands full with Severin, who’s just about ready to implode and destroy everything around him, as all the magic he’s been collecting becomes too volatile for his body to handle. Fortunately, the new seed Willow birthed in last month’s issue is just the perfect vessel to transfer that magic into, and re-juice their currently magicless world.
Andrew Chambliss doesn’t waste any time as he moves narrative along at an almost rushed pace. I think trying to conclude the season without leaving any loose ends, all the while setting up teases for Season 10, may have posed some difficulties. Overall, it’s a good closer for season 9, but not great because there isn’t enough time spent on dissecting the aftermath. The main focus of the final issue is the battle within the Deeper Well, which is basically just 14 pages of blood and pure visual chaos. Ending with the gang experiencing a case of “Explosion Propulsion”, and an unsurprising moment of dramatic tension where Buffy makes it “Out of the Inferno” alive, if you will, I’d say Andrew Chambliss and Georges Jeanty do a commendable job. They evoke the essence of original series, especially in regards to past finales.
The art remains consistent from last month. Busy panels showcasing lawless and bloody battle imagery litter most of the pages. Jeanty doesn’t always hit the mark, but his illustrations depicting moments of action are naturally engaging and fun. For the past while, he’s been drawing Buffy with an awkwardly phallic ponytail that, fortunately, meets its end, *SPOILERS thanks to Simone’s unsuccessful attempt to behead the heroine; arguably the best part of the entire issue END SPOILERS*. Karl Story is back on inks, taking over for Dexter Vines, and his contribution brings a softer, more authentic feel to Jeanty’s pencil and Michelle Madsen’s colours. Her large palette of purple and browns were perfect for the battle scenes; making the splatters of blood stand out.
The gang has resolved what they set out to resolve, but at what cost? Readers will be left speculating about possible scenarios for next season, and curious about the ever evolving vampire mythology of the series once getting to the final panel of the book.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd