Christos Gage returns with “Fray” artist, Karl Moline, to deliver an appetizing filler chapter that contributes nicely to the larger tapestry of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10”. Pick up “I Wish” Part One today, and hit the jump to read our review!
WRITTEN BY: Christos Gage
ART BY: Karl Moline, Cliff Richards
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: August 20, 2014
Reviewed By: ShadowJayd
In the months leading up to the initial release of “Buffy Season 10”, Dark Horse Comics had been proclaiming that the series would be “going back to the basics”. While the first arc effectively demonstrated just that, this latest installment hammers the point home. Not only does the narrative employ the Monster of the Week Month trope in a way that it relates to an overarching series theme, but the theme itself is also reminiscent of Buffy’s early struggles in Season One.
This is not another story about slaying vampires and demons; this is a tale about responsibility and accepting reality. Things have been pretty chaotic since the new rules of magic altered the supernatural status quo, and now Buffy (as self-deprecating as she may be sometimes) has to trust herself, as well as her friends, to make sure things don’t get any worse.
The risks involved in handling the VAMPYR book seem to be as limitless as the directions in which this season can potentially take us, and this leads to a slightly different kind of storytelling from Gage. He manages to be surprisingly direct, yet inconclusive enough to keep readers guessing about the future of the series. There are no subtleties to be untangled in the script, as the characters’ feelings, narrative themes, and story developments are laid out pretty clearly on paper. The book reads like a breeze as it tries to speed to the next arc, and while not necessarily a good thing, it’s almost understandable considering the filler nature of the issue.
“I Wish” Part One begins with the Scoobies revaluating their living arrangements, and lamenting over financial woes. It’s a dilemma that speaks to the real life challenges of residing in San Francisco, where the cost of living is obscenely high. While seeking Detective Dowling’s help concerning pre-teen Giles’ inaccessible funds, a supernatural case is thrown their way that might just be the answer to their housing problems. A haunted apartment building at the centre of 25 missing child cases needs exorcizing. If the gang help, the landlady will offer them cheap rent in return. Simple enough… only nothing is ever simple in the Buffyverse. As they attempt to battle the demon in the building, they’re thrust into an alternate reality that they wished they’d had growing up. The Scoobies have to find a way to reject the fake reality in order to make it back home.
What’s interesting about this alternate universe is that time and geography is of no relevance there. They are still able to interact with each other even though Spike’s reality takes him back more than a century; Giles, nearly five decades, and the others, only as far back as their teenage years. Gage creates a very unique hell dimension that spans generations, using the innermost hopes and desires of each character against them. A few of their personal wishes feel repetitive at times, as they touch upon already explored fantasies, but there’s a sense of intimacy and connectedness that, not only ties the readers to the characters, but ties the issue up quite nicely. as well.
Taking over for Rebekah Isaacs on pencils is Karl Moline (Cliff Richards also credited). While extremely talented, his style is not generally effective when attempting to capture the likeness of the series actors. The fact that his 18th century William looks like True Blood’s Bill Compton, is evidence enough. But that’s not to say his artistic talents aren’t appreciated. In fact, he depicts the widely-varying range of despondency that pre-teen Giles is going through so flawlessly, readers will find it difficult not to feel the same as the story unfolds. Buffy’s fake reality also stands out in execution, as both Gage and Moline manage to personally evoke flashbacks to “Normal Again” (6×17). Other than that, the artwork definitely suffers.
Overall, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10” #6 is a decent installment, seemingly intended to bridge the gap between the first and second arcs. If the final page is any indication, expect more significant plot development in the following issues.
Reviewer: ShadowJayd, known everywhere else as Farah Jayden Hakkak, has been a staff writer for Bloody-Disgusting since July 2012. You can find her on Twitter, or passed out by the dirt road behind Wendy’s.