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Buffy the Vampire Slayer #22

Posted: Monday, February 9, 2009
By: Ariel Carmona Jr.

Steven DeKnight
Georges Jeanty
Dark Horse Comics
While vacuous teens were going crazy over the vampire movie and the "Twilight" book, the name means something altogether different to Buffy fans, as we know that it is the name of the latest big bad to menace the Buffy universe.

SPOILER ALERT: Issue #22 follows up on the Harmony story by revealing that in the wake of Harmony's bid for fame with her reality TV show, public support of the Slayers may be turning thanks to media influence. I'm not sure how I feel about this development, while it was certainly funny to see Harmony return last issue and to read a spoof about the entertainment industry's obsession with pseudo celebrities, the clandestine nature of the Slayers is no more, but people can't tell who the good guys are and who the black hats are.

This would necessitate the overall public being aware of the existence of vampires, but if that is the case then wouldn't there be a greater mobilization against the threat along the lines of the Initiative? Or would the converse be true with evil people trying to exploit the vampire powers?

Well, at any rate, issue #22 also seemed to be making a strong case that Buffy isn't gay, perhaps to allay the fears of long time fans who worried about the repercussions of her dalliance with Satsu. I thought Kennedy's long winded speech to Satsu was a bit of overkill, we get it, Buffy isn't a lesbian and Satsu needs to move on because there is no future in a relationship with a straight girl, we don't need Steven De Knight beating us over the head with this.

The strangest most off putting thing about "Swell" was of course, the Swell and the Vampy cats. I thought the Santorio Corporation was a hilarious send off on Sanrio which manufactures the Hello Kitty merchandise which girls have been fascinated with for years. As an adversary, the vampy cat seemed recycled, reminiscent of Gremlins or even the toys which once made an appearance in the Buffy Slayer annual from 1999. Anyone remember that story? However, I read in some blogs that their subsequent transformation into the monstrous Swell may be a nod to Japanese manga adversaries, and I don't read mangas to be able to verify this. Satsu's traditional Japanese garb early on in the comic would seem to corroborate this. However, this does nothing to change the fact that this was mostly a weak story and not what we have come to expect from this title. Perhaps Joss' absence from the writing chores has something to do with it.

Soon enough there's the appearance of a submarine in defense of the Swell's intended invasion of the Slayers' castle in Scotland. You gotta love a comic book in which a submarine is involved and it makes perfect sense in the context of the story. This wasn't the best issue of issue eight but I like the new trend of having former writers of the show like DeKnight and Jane Espenson pen installments of issue #8, I just wish they were giving us stronger stories.



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