Dark Horse Comics’ “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10” starts 2015 sans the wonderful Rebekah Isaacs, but introduces a new artistic vision and style courtesy of Megan Levens, who makes her BtVS debut in “Love Dares You” Part One. This three-issue arc welcomes the return of Nicholas Brendon, who rejoins Christos Gage to co-write another disarmingly fun installment that successfully balances its underlying drama with an uneven mix of gags, guts, and fluffy kitten goodness.
WRITTEN BY: Christos Gage, Nicholas Brendon
ART BY: Megan Levens
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: January 21, 2015
Reviewed by ShadowJayd
Gage and Brendon continually demonstrate their strong ability to evaluate and fuel audience intrigue by scripting fully entertaining and well thought-out narratives that successfully hold the readers’ attention. “Love Dares You” Part One is a good example of this. With a masterful control of pacing and comedic timing, this issue steps away from examining the various moral and political responsibilities involved in overseeing the new rules of magic; focusing, instead, on the characters’ love lives, as well as the ambiguous motivations behind the Sculptor’s mysterious evil plans.
As this arc appears to deal heavily in matters of the heart—and given Rebekah Isaacs’ wonderful couples variant—it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see past characters return in hopes of rekindling old flames, or to expect the inevitable story developments in regards to Spuffy and Dander. And while there seems to be this natural inclination to steer the narrative in a specifically monotonous direction where certain characters (e.g. Xander and Dawn) are concerned, Gage and Brendon make up for it by managing to incorporate some unanticipated elements into a fresh and engaging script that is at times somber, but frequently amusing. So, as the Scoobies deal with their personal doubts, insecurities, and magically stimulated self-discoveries, the secrets that Dark Horse teases are not so much revealed as they are confirmed; but a major transformation occurs for one of the characters that is delightfully unexpected.
In terms of the artwork, “Madame Frankenstein’s” Megan Levens joins the creative team with an artistic style that is vastly different than Isaacs’, but still a nice fit within Gage and Brendon’s light narrative. Without sacrificing her distinguishable style, Levens is able to capture the characters’ likeness to an impressive extent. And due to her seemingly natural ability to draw incredibly expressive features, she effectively illustrates the varying degrees of emotion detailed in the script, onto the characters’ faces perfectly. Her bold and sharp lines add to this gift quite intensely. Dan Jackson provides his usual rich palette of colours to the interiors, further enhancing both script and Levens’ art. And though I prefer her black and white pencil and ink sketches instead, both artists seem to complement each other rather well; their collaborative highlight is a fabulous throwback to Season 6’s “Life Serial”. But I imagine some fans will disagree once they get a load of the final page.
Overall, “Buffy Season 10” has been a consistently good ride and a brilliantly developed series so far; an accomplishment that can only be attributed to Gage and the rest of the creative team’s successful collaborative work. Be sure to pick up “Love Dares You”Part One when it hits shelves next week. It’s Buffy’s birthday after all.
REVIEWER: 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.