REVIEW: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #11

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Or – “Can She Really Hold Down A Day Job?”

After her recent pregnancy-that-turned-out-to-be-a-robot-body scare, Buffy Summers has quit her dead-end gig as a barista to take on a more challenging career.  Given her job history, though, I’m not entirely convinced that she’s ready for the job market.  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 9 #11
Scripter: Andrew Chambliss
Penciler: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Nathan Massengill
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letter: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor(s): Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9:  Buffy Summers had barely gotten her human body back (long story, it involves Andrew, so you know it’s going get complicated) when former Slayer Kennedy arrived with a prospective job offer:  Become part of her super-human bodyguard agency.

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX.

The issue opens entertainingly, with Buffy on her first gig as a bodyguard, facing the disbelief of her client (“You sure the company doesn’t have anyone… bigger?”) and the derision of her co-workers in her new gig.  Of course, the fact that she completely misunderstands her target, focusing on an innocent demon to the point where her client is nearly blown away by the real assassin.  Thankfully, it was just a training run, or else Buffy would have been ventilated as well, proving once again that Miss Summers isn’t really all that good at anything other than stabbing the undead in the heart.  It’s nice to see the creative team (Chambliss is credited as the scripter, but no one is credited for the plot, making me think this is an editor-driven book) dealing with Buffy’s shortcomings as a grown-up, but I can’t help but feel echoes of TV season six, wherein Buffy was beaten up by the real world worse than anybody since Cory and Topanga.  There’s some interesting stuff in her argument with Kennedy, who believes that it’s time to give up on the old slaying ways, but I can’t really believe Buffy’s motivation.  As a character who spent all her time bemoaning her supernatural life, it’s weird to see her fighting to keep the old ways alive.

SPINNING THE WHEELS.

It’s been several years now since vampires became the media darlings of the Buffyverse (though the comic has yet to really explore or address this fact other than by constantly informing the readers of that fact) and there is a plague of incredibly-annoyingly-named zompires on the loose, but both of those larger plotlines are eclipsed by Buffy’s job woes and interactions.  Nearly a dozen issues into this “season,” and we’ve still got half a dozen unresolved plotlines floating around, and each issue introduces more, as with this issue’s cliffhanger, returning a well-known institution of the Whedonverse to Buffy’s adventures.  The last several issues have felt very much stagnant, and the reveal that her pregnancy scare was a red herring left me cold, especially in execution.  It seems like there are notions of good story here and there, but they all take a backseat to Buffy’s narcissistic worries about her career, her place in the world and her status as Chosen One.  Sure, I get that it’s her book and that it’s about her, but as a protagonist, I expect Buffy to do a little more than drift from character to character for her personality.  Spike has an idea of what she should do, as does Kennedy, as does her cop love interest, but there’s no clear idea of what Buffy would be like without the expectations that the other characters bring to her.

THE BOTTOM LINE: SADLY BLAND.

This issue left me pretty cold, sadly, with the character in overly familiar territory doing everything she can to keep from evolving or being an adult, even though she’s got to be in her mid-20′s by now.  (Wanna feel old?  Think about this: Sarah Michelle Gellar is 35.)  Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #11 meanders through a recycled plot, and while it’s well-drawn, as always, nothing really happens in this issue, earning 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m hoping that next issue will recover, and that this was just a one-issue slump, but I’m just not feeling this one…

Rating: ★½☆☆☆