Well, if the last issue seemed a little slow, this issue totally kicks up the pace a few notches. There are some potentially cool mythology tweaks in the mix, and some major significance is hinted at here, but it’s all too soon to see the bigger picture just yet. (Giles does lay it down pretty thick, though.) In line with a more aware generation and how hard it is to hide stuff these days, it would appear that the youth in Sunnydale are a lot more aware of the weirdness of Sunnydale. The “not everything is as it seems” theme carries through with how demonic-looking critters may be allies and not all that is fair is as it seems. (Handsome Spike is maybe not a good guy.) This reboot seems to be setting up its own universe so far, and some of the world-building bits have potential to grow and go to some really interesting, new places.
That being said, I’m a bit torn on the writing in this issue. On a positive note, some of the more meta moments are kind of hilarious (Drusilla calling William out on his “Spike” moniker is particularly aces.), and I couldn’t help but cheer when it finally seemed like the Scoobies were finally on the same page; however, a lot of the exposition bits seem somewhat rushed, and I don’t know if they don’t land because they don’t seem to fit with my perception of the characters, or if the motivations are currently ill-defined. For example: While the introduction of Camazotz seems to be a planned addition to the slayer mythology, Anyanka’s relationship to the demon world, and especially Drusilla and Spike, are borderline confusing for now. Cordelia’s characterization is honestly strange, and Harmony’s dream reveal seems to solely be setup for future intrigue. (Is she somehow tied to the slayer line?) Furthermore, whatever it is that Drusilla is looking for in Sunnydale is still unrevealed, and while I like a good mystery as much as Velma does, it would be great if some breadcrumbs were dropped.
Artwise, I think that Dan Mora continues to do some solid work. If I have one criticism of his likenesses, it definitely has to be about how his Buffy, Anya, and Harmony are, at times, indistinguishable except for context cues. That’s a minor quibble, and his more subtle character moments between Giles and Buffy during the climax are particularly great!
Overall: It seems that we’re barreling towards the end of the first arc here, but this issue seemed a bit uneven. I can’t help but feel that the characters (and writer) are still finding their footing, and I would rather that they work out the kinks sooner rather than later.
Creative Team: Jordie Bellaire (writer), Dan Mora (artist), Raul Angulo (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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