Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs take Buffy and the Scoobies back to basics with action, humor, and heart.
Buffy fans, this review is for you. If you are new to the Buffyverse—welcome! Now go away and watch all seven seasons, read the trades for Seasons 8 and 9, and then come back when you are properly indoctrinated and addicted like the rest of us.
Seriously, if you have no reaction while listening to ‘I Only Have Eyes for You,’ this is not the comic you’re looking for—yet.
With a new creative team in place that is well acquainted with the Buffyverse, courtesy of its work on Angel & Faith, Buffy returns to the basics—old-fashioned slaying in a small California town. Her internal commentary throughout this issue gives insight into a character who has matured and learned some invaluable lessons from her painful journey: “Sometimes it’s good to get back to basics.”
Aided by the resident vampires who asked for their help at the end of Season 9, Buffy and company are rooting out the remaining nests of Zompires, knowing that once the task is finished, their temporary alliance with the vampires will expire.
Willow is in good magical form as she learns the rules of the new magic now at her fingertips. Spike and Buffy have reached a working agreement that allows for no (well, not much) tension between them, and it’s nice to see Dawn in fighting shape. Dawn’s relationship with Xander is on the rocks, and that’s probably a good thing; Xander isn’t quite the same after his experiences last season, and life isn’t likely to get any easier for him.
Christos Gage has a good command of the Buffyverse and its denizens, and he offers a Whedon-esque balance of fast-paced action and humor. The scene where Spike rips Andrew’s shirt is a comedic gem.
In setting up so much with this first issue, Gage is a little dialogue-heavy. Hopefully, he’ll settle into a rhythm for future issues where he doesn’t feel the need to explain so much. For this first issue, however, he gets a free pass—there is a lot going on.
Rebekah Isaacs’ fluid art captures the characters beautifully. Whether they are fighting, talking, or in a panic, her depictions are spot-on and maintain a sense of constant motion. She is also keenly aware of the emotional element of this series that makes or breaks every issue. Sometimes this series rips out your heart, and there are hard choices with heavy prices to be paid. Isaacs has a solid handle on this, in good balance with the action sequences.
Oh, and there’s a big surprise at the end of the issue—a huge, huge surprise if you weren’t reading Angel & Faith—and you’re going to love it. Go buy the issue right now.
Christos Gage (W), Rebekah Isaacs (A), Dark Horse Comics, $3.50, March 19, 2014