Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 (Issue #23)
Dark Horse Comics
Written By: Christos Gage
Art By: Megan Levens
Release Date: January 20, 2016.
We’re nearing our final stretch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10, and tensions are high amongst the scoobie gang. As a quick catch-up, the change in magic left portals for stronger demons increasing – and the scoobies can’t quite agree on the best approach to deal with the issue. Willow has officially taken a position as a Government aid in all things magic/supernatural, but it’s a subject Buffy couldn’t disagree with more. It’s always been known that Buffy hasn’t had the best experience with the military (Ex. The Initiative, and Season 8 most notably) so Willow’s new allies have created a noticeable gap between the pair. Buffy does give it her best to cooperate (and occasionally adding her displeasure) but we’ve hit a point that they both feel rather strongly about, an intensified version of a real-life struggle in friendships. As far as who’s right or wrong, both have valid points, but Willow is also making a decision to put more faith in other forces as opposed to her best friend.
The other core members deal with their own struggles, and the pre-pubescent Giles decides to take a sabbatical in a whimsical domain with the Fae. This choice is on the heels of Giles feeling like he’s treated differently in his new (younger) form, and the combination of his wisdom mixed with a youthful psychological influence has Giles lost in transition. It’s nice to know that Giles issues haven’t been brushed under the rug, because a resurrection and reverse aging process is the ultimate double-whammy to cope with. On the other hand, Andrew makes a decision that proves what side he is on, with a ultimatum that pains him to go through with it. Xander takes a backseat in the issue, and Dawn is mostly seen to be trying her very best to maintain a normal life – and it’s sad to witness given Buffy’s inability to simply remove herself from a life of danger.
Spuffy has maintained a relationship for most of the season, and there have been a few hiccups between the pair. These issues all lie within heavy subjects like their past struggles, a future, and their ability to self sabotage. This contains a little bit of all aspects, mostly brining up the subject of what a future means for the vampire and slayer. It’s not that these issues haven’t come up before, but it’s that 20 something age where you begin to wonder how you can manage everything – and the complexity of a human/immortal relationship. Though these concerns appear on both ends, the core love between Buffy and Spike is what defies the odds, and I feel that it will extend further than the issues that Angel and Buffy faced in the past. Now we just need to make sure these two lovebirds can ignore the outside influences and their personal fears to flourish as a powerful love story.
The biggest plot point that takes place in this issue has danger written all over it, even though precautions have been set in place. Up until this point, everyone has suggested that Buffy alter the Vampyr book with the laws of magic, but she has been opposed to altering anything that could create consequences. The mystical council, Willow, Giles, and even Spike finally convince the chosen one to add a few extra guidelines – but giving council members specified enhancements to enforce their ways. The scoobies were smart to put restrictions, but if a few council members united their granted powers, it could become a problem in the future. The conflict with the rules has been a suspenseful plotline in season 10, and it can be assured that it will play an important role before the season concludes.
Megan Levens fills in as the artist for this issue, adding a spark of color to the mystical figures and scenery – capitalizing on the more lighthearted or casual moments in BTVS. The Steve Morris cover is one of my favorite covers this season, showing Buffy in an image that feels original and fresh showing the slayer’s battle ready close-up. While I know that Steve Morris doesn’t do interior art, I wouldn’t mind seeing some of his influences (like Buffy’s new hairstyle) used in the comics themselves. Christos Gage handled the issue’s script with his blend of interchanging emotions, making this another solid issue for season 10!
Overall Grade: 8/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-Buffy’s resistance from the military presence is completely justified, and I hope Willow doesn’t learn it the hard way.
-Spike and Buffy continue to explore new avenues of their relationship, reminding us they are the best romance the series has seen.
-I genuinely have no idea what to expect before the season ends, which has me worrying about nearly every character.