In the Buffyverse, supernatural emergencies are usually a perfect time to re-examine past mistakes in order to yield new perspectives, provide closure, and produce better results for the future. But there is often a fine line to tread where the balance between retrospection and wallowing in regret is concerned. In Christos Gage’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10” #9, the ‘Return to Sunnydale’ conclusion, characters must decide whether to make amends for their past transgressions, or be consumed by their painful memories and doomed to repeat the same destructive mistakes.
WRITTEN BY: Christos Gage
ART BY: Rebekah Isaacs
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: November 19, 2014
Reviewed By: ShadowJayd
With a script that is infused with drama, personal struggles, and entertaining action, Christos Gage continues to hold the interest of the fandom with another meaningful, character-driven chapter of Season 10. He gives the narrative a proper sense of pacing and offers an authentic portrayal of the natural, unforced chemistry characters in the Buffyverse have. Moreover, Gage maintains his welcomed penchant for genuinely addressing and cleaning up unsettled issues and character misdeeds from Seasons past, making this installment more reflective and expository than most.
To catch up, this arc finds Buffy and Spike in a superboss battle with the mega-sized Soul Glutton demon that wants Buffy to pay for the actions of a 14th century Slayer who slaughtered its kind. Not far from this arduous fight is Willow, in pursuit of Andrew who has stolen the VAMPYR book in hopes of resurrecting — not Warren Mears as presumed — but her deceased ex-lover, Tara Maclay.
In both situations, sobering conversations about the nature of accountability and personal responsibility for significant past events and errors in judgement take place amidst the chaos, that may ultimately provide some sense of long-overdue closure for the characters, as well as many readers. Spike’s fears of reverting back to a soulless vampire, due to the monster’s ability to devour souls, force him to share his negative — though enlightened — perspective on his controversial involvement with Buffy in Season 6. Andrew’s need to assuage his guilt over the events leading up to Tara’s death, and consequently, the rise of Dark Willow, though seemingly honourable, is really just a selfish means to diminish his shame and remorse, as well as an ill-advised attempt to regain lost trust. His acknowledgement of culpability is respectable, but the blatant weakness of character makes it difficult for him to see wrong from right without proper guidance. Fortunately, Willow’s past experiences allow her to be the persuasive voice of reason Andrew needs.
The artwork is emotive, dynamic, effortlessly fluid, and as impressive as it is expressive and detailed. It manages to deliver just as hard it always does, courtesy of Rebekah Isaacs and Dan Jackson’s level of talent and creativity. The former showcases her keen sense for visualizing and depicting movement in Gage’s script, as demonstrated through the natural flow of action panels illustrated around the narrative drama. Jackson’s knack for visually engaging readers through his large palette of inviting colours is thoroughly effective, and is enriched by Isaacs’ super clean line work.
BtVS Season 10 has been consistently wonderful and brilliantly developed. If the creative team hadn’t already proven themselves ten times over, I’d cross my fingers for continued success.
ShadowJayd, known everywhere else as Farah Jayden Hakkak, began writing for Bloody-Disgusting in July 2012. You can find her on Twitter, or praising comic book artists in her art column, Visions of Horror.