Comic: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 11 Issue #12
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Script: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs
The first 12 issue comic season of the Buffy franchise has officially come to an end and after a year of the series, I can say it wasn’t at all what I expected and really utilized characters arcs that shaped each of the core cast. With magic being a focal point of the season, it put characters like Buffy, Spike and Willow in the forefront to question what role it plays in their own lives both in the present as well as the future. So how did the eleventh season of the cult classic series / comic conclude for our favorite heroes? The answer is much more optimistic than fans of the series could have expected.
After learning the government’s major hand in controlling magic to make it a part of their arsenal was a building tension since season seven kicked off many years ago, proving that the lack of mystical influence caused the government to panic. By giving the season a smaller run, it gave Gage the opportunity to tell a contained story and address it, leaving new opportunities for a story shedding the past issues and bringing them out of their tranquil state long enough to do what they do best and conquer evil. The way the government scenario was handled was smart and more of a treaty in the making than simply turning a blind eye entirely, done well with the aid of familiar faces Riley and Sam Finn.
Buffy and Spike being in a relationship has been a driving force in the series, with many becoming worried about their longevity but BTVS really tried something different in the way of showing the two simply happy. Through the last few villains, perilous situations and mystical baggage that even plagued her relationship with Angel - Buffy and Spike choose each other which is the most powerful example of true love. It may not make sense to people around her or even Buffy and Spike in the past, but they’ve grown strong as a unit and when everything was stripped away this season, they overcame - which was new for both characters and felt like an earned happiness for the best written characters in the series. In some of the very last panels, we see a scorched Buffy and Spike recuperating side by side with Buffy following up on an unfinished conversation that was the most genuine and fulfilling sendoff to season 11.
Willow has had her ups and downs in the Buffy universe and some would so the biggest evolution, with this season being another highpoint for the computer geek turned kickass wiccan. Willow was confronted with her fear of losing magic once again at the hands of something unexpected and her stability managed to shine through. Willow not only granted power to others (as well as taking it when necessary) but was an anchor for so many that were filled with fear - not to mention her badass display of power in the issues last few pages. Now that we’ve seen Willow be grounded through all different scenarios, the only other direction is to take the plunge into deeper power and a true evolution of magic or her role in the universe entirely.
Buffy has always been the strongest example of a lead character, and her direction in season 11 had her face to face with decisions she made that backfired or had consequences. There were moments she nearly crumbled, moments where she became an even bigger legend than she already is, but something truly felt different this season. By the last issue, Buffy is this almost certain character who knows what she wants. She has an idea of her place in the world, her responsibilities, and all she has to offer in both big and small scale ways. The last issue was such a nod to her becoming the most remarkable fictional roles written, not for necessarily slaying evil or earning approval, but by being true to herself and acting as a beacon of light for humanity to strive towards. The softer conclusion to season 11 isn’t a traditional Buffy ending, but it was such an essential transition through these characters lives and progression through adulthood that I once again find myself begging for more tales to be told in the unique and influential Buffyverse.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- This ending was almost bittersweet because although the conclusion was a touching wrap-up, it is hard to step away from the Buffyverse (season 12 confirmation soon please?!)
- Buffy, Spike and Willow all grew up in this particular season and I liked the specific focus on those three to give Gage enough time to tell his story.
- Giles mini-story written by Joss Whedon himself is coming in early 2018!