Current Reviews


Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2007
By: Ariel Carmona Jr.

Writer: Joss Whedon
Artists: Georges Jeanty (p), Andy Owens (i)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

This issue of Buffy concludes the first story arc of this new comic book series, and it may disappoint some fans, if only because it lacks some of the fresh nostalgic impact of the first three issues. The conclusion to story arcs in sequential form are always tough to craft. I find the frenetic pace of this series to be exciting, and the character moments fit in as beautiful respites to the requisite butt kickings.

Jo Chen's beautiful cover suggests it may be a Dawn-centric issue, but she's barely in the comic at all. However, she does have the best moment in the issue in my opinion, even though it occurs off panel.

After Satsu and Buffy have gone through the portal and Warren and Amy have been dispatched and Willow has been rescued, the poignant rescue is broadcast on the monitors in the Slayer's Scottish castle where Xander is still doing his best Nick Fury imitation when he mans the rescue operation and says, "Let's stop patting ourselves on the back 'till we have extraction. And someone ask Dawn to stop jumping up and down." (Get the funny?)

This issue is a non-stop action romp with Buffy confronting Amy with one magical ace up her Slayer sleeve, one which was similar to the one the Scooby gang played to defeat the demon robot Adam at the end of Season 4 episode "Primeval." There's also a showdown in the military installation two miles south of where Sunnydale used to be which is reminiscent of the initiative, which some fans hated when the TV show was on, but which also has the effect of fostering a comfortable sense of familiarity. Others include the magical scythe Buffy employed against the first evil at the end of Season 7, and the appearance of mystical beings similar to the "powers that be," recurring characters in Angel, the Buffy spin-off.

The artwork within the covers continues to be of above average quality. I was at first clamoring for Cliff Richards to pencil the tales, as I had grown accustomed to his expert renditions of the actors who made our favorite characters come to life in Dark Horse's previous Buffy comics. However, Jeanty has proven he is both capable of producing good renditions of Buffy's cast as well as depicting the more mystical and magical aspects of the series.

My only problem with the plot is that it seems that Amy's motivation to take on Willow and the Slayer army isn't clearly defined; she went from being a mild annoyance to a powerful adversary, but her transition does not seem to flow. Willow should have kept her in her cage while Whedon seems too eager to elevate her to "big bad" status. Warren's motive makes more sense: Nothing like good old fashioned revenge. Now nothing more than a skinless monster, he relishes in the opportunity to torture and possibly "lobotomize" Willow.

On the romantic spectrum, it's interesting to note that Satsu may have feelings for Buffy, as it is strongly implied that she was the one who kissed her last issue to break the spell, but is her infatuation more a sense of admiration than the manifestation of actual romantic feelings? And how does that bode for Xander and Buffy's apparent coupling? The creative team is taking a month off, so we have to wait until August for any more answers.

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