Comic: Buffy The Vampire Slayer- Season 11 (Issue #4)
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Buffy exudes strength, charm and realistic life lessons in yet another successful chapter of the 11th season.
After last month's phenomenal issue of Buffy Season 11, we find Buffy, Spike and Willow relocated in the government-aided "Safe Zone" for supernatural beings. When it picks up, they've already been living in the quarantined camp for a few weeks but not without struggles. The issues takes place almost solely there and primarily focuses on the trio's developments with a situation nobody is quite clear how to handle efficiently. In my previous review, I pointed out how strong the series has been from the start, and I will confirm that this season has only gotten stronger due to an increasingly impressive fourth chapter to a season unlike the others.
The Safe Zone doesn't live up to its name, seeming more and more like a demonic camp with trailers, fencing and plenty of pissed off supernatural beings locked away. Buffy, Spike and Willow have attempted to integrate themselves with the others, but it wouldn't be the Scooby gang if they didn't take on some responsibility. For starters, rations of blood have been handed out to vampires, but the resources are scarce, which makes a lot of hungry vampires ready to savagely feed. Spike is one of these starved vampires, yet Buffy decides she will aid him with her own blood, something she had only previously done for Angel (Season 3). It is evident that this action will put her at a greater risk of dying, but that's one more reason Buffy's love for Spike is crystal clear. (Later, Spike nearly dies from sunlight to save her; it's a reciprocated love.)
Spike isn't so keen on taking blood from the woman he truly loves, putting up a fight (non-literal) with Buffy about her gift. Even with both Buffy and Spike having an understanding on the necessity of blood, his impulse to keep feeding is the only point of contention between them, just subtly enough to show us Spike hates what he is and Buffy knows she'll always be the one to draw the line. Barring their issue with life and death, the connection between the pair continues to flourish partially because of experiencing these extreme circumstances in the company of each other. A simple act of grabbing each others' hands when surrounded by fellow supernatural beings and a goodbye kiss when worried about one another adds to their love unlike anything either of them had experienced in past relationships.
Speaking of relationships, Willow is shown to be the guardian of the Wiccans in the Safe Zone, who all look up to the most powerful Wicca alive. It may be brief, but we see Willow has grown close to one particular witch who is noted to have a significant other outside of the Safe Zone. (Leave it to Willow to develop a complex relationship; she will never find another Tara.) In the last few seasons, there has been budding conflict between Buffy and Willow, but, this season, having them confront the same issues has given them common ground again to do what they to best: work together. By the end of the issue, Buffy makes a choice that will (hopefully) keep her friends safe and also gives us a nice throwback to the second season of the series as Buffy finds a new role in the Safe Zone -- additionally placing herself in direct danger.
The art brought back veteran Buffy the Vampire Slayer artist Georges Jeanty, who drew Seasons 8 and 9 almost entirely. His art easily captures the Buffy essence and feels comfortable/familiar given how much time was spent observing his take on the Buffyverse -- a major welcome back is in order because Georges has created visual wonders once again. From his action sequences that use multiple panels to the smaller attributes like fashion, facial characteristics and the colorful night sky, he's a perfect fit for BTVS. As we approach the midpoint of Buffy Season 11, the art, story and characters are true reasons that continuing Buffy was Dark Horse's best decision in comic publishing.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Aedan's Final Thoughts:
- This season consistently impresses with exceptional development and new territory.
- Buffy/Spike nuances are the best kind of reminder of the fact that they are the series' best strengths.
- There's no telling where Buffy will head in the second half of the season, but my gut is telling me it's going to get very serious.