Writer: Andrew Chambliss
Penciller: Karl Moline
Inker: Andy Owens, Dexter Vines
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Everyone is struggling with the lack of magic in the world – more than most, those who’d had a connection to it before. Dawn Summers, Buffy’s sister, was created by magic and now lies in a coma as magic leaves her body. No one knows how she can be saved. Buffy feels helpless. Xander feels useless . . . and angry. But no one is giving up yet . . .
So, we have finally reached the 20th issue of this season. Five more to go to end it. And finally, the season is warming up and it starts making some sense. If only we haven’t wasted more than 8 issues on ridiculous and pointless plots…But let’s get to it.
According to the solicits, in this issue Xander’s secret is revealed. Guess what? There was no secret that he’s been hiding. But he gets his own agenda starting. Not exactly his own, he joins forces mostly for a common goal, to end all this madness. Is that a betrayal? It depends on the way you see it. Xander has been feeling useless for years. Having supernatural friends, while all he could do was watch. Having others getting powerful, while all he could do was watch. Having people that he loved getting killed, while all he could do was watch. And he decided to stay away from anything supernatural, because he didn’t want to watch Dawn die as well. But unfortunately, she’s dying and all he can do is watch…again. Actually, I don’t know whether they will name it like it, but he’s having PTSD, it’s clear.
But let’s get back to the betrayal part. There are some nice flashbacks to S08#39 that we haven’t seen before. Angel’s haters will love those, so will Xander’s fans. And he had every right to act like that. But how is any different, what Angel did back in S8, from what Xander agrees to do in this issue? Angel was trying to change the world, to save it, keeping his plan a secret, working against Buffy, working with her enemies. I really don’t see any difference in Xander’s case now. The problem is that I sympathize with him, unlike with what Angel did. I feel for him. Does that make it right? No, I don’t think so, but this is probably the first time in 9 seasons that I can’t blame Xander. He’s lost a lot.
We also learn more about Severin’s agenda, and Simone’s as well. And finally he starts making some sense. He has a plan, and it makes some sense, although I don’t know if it can work and what the consequences will be. But at least he’s not only “I want Illyria’s powers to bring back my girlfriend”, as I was scared that he was.
As for Buffy? I really can’t like her anymore. She’s trying to fix things, she’s trying to make Xander help her, but I can’t feel for her. I don’t like this S9 Buffy anymore. Your sister is dying, pick up the phone and call everyone you know, don’t just assume things! And Andrew is somebody you trust? Yes sure, he didn’t rape you, only roofed you and violated your body while you were living in a robot, what’s not there to trust? Fortunately for her, she gets a surprise guest she didn’t expect, while we were expecting it. Will that help Dawn? We’ll have to wait and see.
The artist has changed in this issue, it’s Moline’s work. I can’t say I am a fan of his work, but it was nice to have a break from Jeanty. Moline’s Xander looks good, and he did his best to express emotions. It was OK. And finally a sleeping Dawn that looks good! His Andrew is a mess, but I can’t blame him for that!
So, was that a good issue? Yes it was. And interesting to see the road that Xander would choose. And he chose to stop watching and start acting. Will this plan work? Will he keep on betraying Buffy? It is what we have to wait and see in the final arc of the season.