In a last-ditch effort to save Dawn, the heroic trio of Buffy, Willow, and Xander must split up and tackle their own demons, real and imagined. As the season’s Big Bads—Severin and Simone—threaten to turn back time, the mystical council partner with Koh and Illyria to prevent a tragic tear in the fabric of time!
Writer: Andrew Chambliss
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Karl Story
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Buffy, Willow, and Xander are reunited and prepared for battle at the heart of the Deeper Well – the tomb of the earth’s greatest evils. Their goal? To prevent Dawn from disappearing, they will jump-start magic in a world that sorely needs it.
And here we are just 1 issue before the end of the season (finally…). I didn’t review last month’s issue, I was not in a mood to review this month’s either. It’s been almost a day that I got the comic and I just can’t find any interest to talk about it.
But let me explain what I actually mean. I don’t know who are the actual readers of this story. It seems to me that DH writes this story for comic book readers, when the people who follow Buffy in the comics are actually TV viewers who only read Buffyverse’s titles. Or so I believe, at least according to the online fandom who talks about the comics. The ones that haven’t dropped them yet.. And the problem is that while, we, the TV viewers, are waiting to read a graphic novel, or kind of, a continuation of the 7 seasons, what we get is a just a comic. I hope you get the difference here, what I’m trying to say. The comics have managed to make me lose my interest in talking about Buffy. And I am not the only one. Take a look at Slayalive or Buffyforums, the two Buffyverse sites that talk the most about the comics. Just a couple of years ago, there were hundreds of posts every day, from people who were reading the comics and were talking about them. Now, we’re lucky if there are more than 5 posts every day. 20 of them when it’s the day that the comic comes out.
If their intention was to alienate people, it has been a job well done this season. But let’s talk about the issue itself. So, Simone becomes a vampire, because as she says, it was something that she chose to do, she wasn’t chosen to do it. And now she’s the most powerful creature on Earth, and she’s ready to do what she wanted ever since she first became a slayer: to kill Buffy Summers.
Let’s talk about that for a while. Simone has to be the most muahahaha villain I have ever read or watched or heard of. It was obvious, right from the beginning, that Simone would either die from the hands of an ensouled vampire (Spike or Angel) or that she would turn. No way to send her to jail, been there done that with Faith, besides she would probably be the Queen in a jail, doing whatever she wanted, not seeking redemption. And no way that Buffy would ever kill a fellow slayer. So, they just turn her into a vampire, in order to give an end to her story in the following issue. But let’s return to Simone herself. She wants to kill Buffy. She’s been using guns ever since we met her, but it has been really hard for her to use a gun to kill Buffy, right…. She is a slayer, she is one of the most powerful beings on Earth, but she wants more power I guess, so she wants to become a slayer/vampire. But that comes with a price, no sun, no daylight, and gives Buffy a reason to kill Her. Think about it a little bit more. She wanted to become a vampire, but she did nothing about it while the seed was not broken. The easier thing for her would be to capture a vampire, drain its blood, dust it, then start draining herself from her blood and just before she dies, drink its blood and become a vampire herself. But no, she didn’t do that while the seed was untouched. And now, with the seed broken, she was 100% sure that 1) she wouldn’t herself become a zompire, even after getting turned by an Old One, 2) that the Old One would actually turn her, and not just kill her. Great plan, like I said, muahaha villain.
As for the explanation why she became a vampire and not a zompire? It was the blood, the Old One’s blood, which was stronger, not like the regular vampires on zompires. But, haven’t we been told at the beginning of the season, that we have zompires now because the demon can’t come from another dimension, so it’s a remote control thing? So, we have zompires, not vampires? Then where and how and when did a demon come through an Old One’s blood to control Simone? So, is it the blood and magic, or remote control and a demon coming from another dimension? I guess Simone is more clever than Willow here, since Simone was actually right. She became a vampire. Although, according to the drawings, she looks like a zompire. It’s confusing, I know, blame the art, not me. And another question I have here, if Simone is not Simore but a demon occupying her body, wouldn’t she, as a slayer, know about that? That if she becomes a vampire, she would actually die and not be her? And why don’t we have a Buffy laughing at her in this issue, telling her “you’re a fool, you’re not Simone, you’re just a random demon who thinks it’s Simone, Simone was killed by the Old One”, like she told Severin at the beginning of the season. Have your cake and eat it too. Can’t work both ways, DH creators, decide which way you’ll follow, or you’ll lose the rest of your Buffyverse readership.
Then we have Willow, who gives birth to a new seed and saves the world. Or at least that’s what the seed tells her (I think it’s the seed talking there). And she’s left without magic. And as she’s told, magic will come back, but in millenia. But since Dawn doesn’t have that much time, she takes the petite seed to Severin, who’s about to go all Chernobyl, in order to gather the power that he’s been gathering into the new seed. I know, how convenient. Another muahaha wanna-be villain of this season, that they still haven’t explained to us how is it possible in a magicless world for a person to become such a powerful being and from where he got his powers.
As for Xander and his story, that they had promised us months ago it would be worth waiting for and we would want to read more about it? Besides falling and getting his head crashed, nothing else. He tried to help Buffy, only to get beaten by Simone. Then he tried to help again, mad when he heard that Simone fooled him and that she never intended to turn back the time, only to get himself thrown into the vast. But although he’s falling from a height of hundreds of meters, if not miles, and he falls on Koh, neither he, nor Koh get any harm. And let’s accept that Koh is a demon, so he might be able to survive that, but Xander? Isn’t he a human? If somebody falls from the third floor on me, I won’t save him, we will probably both die. But no, Xander gets up and starts helping the council and Koh against the Old One. Whatever. I guess there won’t be any more story about him in the following issue, and if there is, who cares? His S9 story has been disappointing ever since it started, I doubt they can save it in the last issue.
As for Koh? His story and how he got imprisoned, and who was responsible about it, forgotten. Like it never happened, like they’ve never told us, repeatedly, in the first half of the season. All we care is that he happened to be in the right place at the right time, so that Xander could fall on him so that he wouldn’t die.
Let’s come to Illyria. I hope she’ll stay away from the Buffy title next season. She is an Angel character, not a Buffy one. She talks to Severin, makes him realize his mistake, tries to help him, she doesn’t care if she dies in the process. Sure, it was nice of her, but I couldn’t hear Illyria talking there. We also have a panel, a flashback of the moment that Wesley died in her arms, it was nice. Although it kind of confused me at first, since I was distracted for a moment and when I went back to reading the comic, I thought it was a Dawn with black hair and Downling there, not Illyria with Wesley. Don’t blame me, blame the artist, Wesley looks exactly like Dowling (another forgotten plot/character of the season).
Last, but not least, Spike, who is on the main cover of the issue. Yes, he was in the issue, and he talked, for the huge space of one panel dedicated to him. A way to boost the sales? With that kind of a story, I doubt. If you’re aiming at Spike’s fans, give Spike a story, give some Spuffy, real one not a “unrequited love is fun to write”, been there, done that for years in the show. That is boring, that won’t make Spike’s fans purchase your comics.
As for the art? Much better than the mess that Jeanty has got us used this season. There is a very beautiful panel of Illyria, who looks almost exactly like Amy Acker. Not the rest of her panels though. Nice drawn details, but again when characters go on the background, they look ridiculous. But one good issue won’t save the rest that Jeanty has drawn. I just can’t wait to see the work of the artist who will replace him in S10, hopefully.
So, so many fronts, and so many unfinished plots, so many underused characters, so many questions, things that don’t many any sense even in a story with supernatural elements, and just 22 pages to explain those. Or to leave them unexplained in order for S10 to do that, or even better, hoping they’ll be forgotten. If you’re a maniac about gathering things and want to have everything from the beginning to the end, purchase the issue. If not, just read the reviews. I am so sorry to say that, but I just can’t take this story seriously anymore. I am really hoping that things will improve next season, but I don’t know, maybe I have a different definition of the word “improvement” than the one that DH has, since we had been promised that the final arc of the season would win us back. I am not sure about you, but for sure they haven’t won me back. Yet. Will they do it in the final issue? I doubt.