Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #17
Dark Horse Comics
Written By: Christos Gage
Art By: Rebekah Isaacs
Release Date: July 22nd, 2015
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR ISSUE #17
Buffy fans, we are more than half way through the season and our current arc titled “Old Demons” brings familiar faces back together along with immense amounts of awkward tension between the long running love triangle consisting of Buffy, Spike, and Angel. When Angel and Buffy were last seen together, Angel was under the influence of a cosmic force hoping to birth a new universe with the slayer and vampire as its pseudo-parents. The conflict ended when Buffy turned down the offer, and a Twilight-possessed Angel murdered our beloved Giles right in front of the heroine. Since then, Angel managed to revive Giles (now as a pre-pubescent young man) but the inevitable meeting had yet to happen until the ending of issue #16 last month.
In Buffy Season 10 #17, Angel joins the scoobies to fight the evil entity known as Archaeus who appeared to gain control over his line of sired vampires that includes Angel and Spike. Aside from the Archaeus conflict, the main point to this issue seems to really focus on resolving or at least addressing various character driven conflicts that have been building up, and insecurities that the core group have been accumulating over the series run. A surprising discussion between Angel and Xander takes place, which has been an ongoing quarrel since the first season. Many long term Buffy fans may even remember Xander’s dubious decision to not share Willow’s soul restoration spell in season 2, a major point of Xander’s ill will towards Angel. The moment is a turning point for them, with Xander coming to terms with his own issues, and Angel coping with his actions. Though the discussion is mostly limited to the events of Season 8, it’s always intriguing to see what will happen when these two interact. (Also - Angel mentions his son Connor and the seasons 4/5 storyline in the Buffy title?! Hooray!)
Other group interactions with Angel include the first actual meeting between Dawn and Angel (that brief phone call between Angelus and Dawn in Angel season 4 doesn’t count) where Xander subtly returns to his slight discomfort with Angel for a brief moment. When Andrew (proudly) brings up his revelation about coming out, Angel comically responds saying, “You were in?” proving everyone had an idea of Andrew’s sexuality before he did. Everyone gets a chance to have a happy reunion moment with Angel (obviously not counting Spike) however Buffy rightfully maintains a bit of hesitation when it comes to completely trusting her former beau. At this point, Christos Gage understands each character and their voice, accurately writing their group interactions as if it were a crucial scene in the Buffy series.
The group splits up, with Buffy and Spike paired together, and Angel in the other group causing a little extra strain to the dynamic between the three. Gage takes this opportunity to expand on each characters frame of mind, alternating between the perceptions of Buffy and Spike, as well as Angel, with the other scoobies such as Dawn, Willow, and Xander imparting their encouragement and wisdom on the situation like true friends would do. Another pivotal moment in the issue stems from Willow as she gives her own advice to Angel regarding relationships with mortal/immortal beings with a very valid point and an unexpected revelation. Part of what makes this issue so fascinating is the philosophical thoughts passed on to Buffy/Spike/Angel by the others, with Dawn and Andrew claiming that a major part of what makes Buffy so frazzled is her constant concerns with her choices and “second guessing” her actions in every capacity (I can relate Buffy…) which causes her to question if she’s hurting those she deeply cares for. The newly confident Andrew serves as Buffy’s life coach in between conflicts, and I’m consistently impressed by how far the previously villain-ish character has come.
Eventually things lead to an encounter with the ancient creature Archaeus, and everyone gets involved. Slayer, Vampires, spellcasters, humans, all of the key figures are on deck ready to combat the creature with some gorgeous artwork by Rebekah Isaacs and bold color choices by Dan Jackson makes the issue a complete work of art, continuing to impress in Buffy Season 10. This issue has a little bit of everything from romance, action, character development, and a story that will clearly build to a greater conflict as this arc progresses. Make sure to come back next month for my review of the next issue, and check out my interview with Christos Gage at SDCC here, where he divulges answers on all things Buffy season 10 and more!
Overall Grade: 8.8/10
Aedan’s final Thoughts:
-Christos Gage handled the Angel and Buffy reunion as perfect as possible without retracting the Buffy and Spike budding romance, showing that they can (somewhat) remain in each others lives without romantic pressure.
-This issue in particular gave each character a moment to contribute to the story, which isn’t an easy task with a large ensemble and limited page space.
-Spike and Buffy. Need I say more?
-Angel’s interactions with Dawn and Xander are actually very important to the story, considering him and Dawn have never shared an on-screen (or page) moment, and Xander and Angel have always seemed to have a tumultuous relationship.
-I was pleased to know that the Buffy characters are aware of Connor, who seems to be another topic that hasn’t been previously discussed, and it is a major factor to Angel as a character.