REVIEW: Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 9 #25 (of 25)
Season 9′s journey has come to an end, but who will stand and who will fall? Will Buffy be able to repair the damage she has caused? And, more importantly, can there be a Season 10? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Lovely art throughout.
Ties up the loose ends.
I know that the franchise still sells, but eventually they have to give Buffy an ending.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER -
SEASON 9 #25
Writer: Andrew Chambliss
Penciler: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Karl Story
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor(s): Scott Allie & Sierra Hahn
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 9: Buffy Summers saved the world, but became VERY unpopular doing so, when she destroyed the seed of magic that empowered most of the strange people of her world. Her little sister Dawn is fading from reality, her oldest friend seemingly turned on her, and a battle with rogue Slayer Simone has left her on the edge of death. Given the body count in her past, I’m wondering if anyone is coming out of this one unscathed.
THE BLOOD OF A SLAYER.
First and foremost, the cover of this issue is really striking, and even if part of me wonders about the use of the pink background, it’s a very strong image and incredibly showy on the stands. As for the story itself, Simone has stolen Buffy’s magic red scythe and impaled her with it, revealing herself to be a Slayer/vampire hybrid demon, leaving our hero bleeding on the floor of what might have been the new Hellmouth. At the same time, Illyria (the super-powerful demon from ‘Angel’) and another creature from beyond have traveled deep within the Earth to empower a new seed of magic, but their grasp on the power is tenuous. It’s probably a cliché to call this “a Buffy finale”, but then again, the all-is-lost-until-the-very-last-minute trope is something of a tradition in this franchise. There’s lovely character work throughout the battle, as Buffy drags herself back into the fight, Xander goes full-on barbarian out of guilt for betraying his friends (to save his love Dawn, whose magical origins have left her a literal shadow of her former self), and Willow tries desperately to regain an artifact that might allow them to escape the madness. Can they succeed?
Sure. Sure, they can, and they do, and it’s pretty clever. So there, neener!
The second half of the issue, however, reveals that not everything is wrapped up with a pretty little bow, as Dawn has continued to fade into nothingness, and even Willow’s most powerful magics aren’t bringing her back. I really love Georges Jeanty’s work on this series, as he has given everyone a set of expressions that exist solely in the comic series, and his character designs, while derived from the actors, are now separate entities. Willow looks like a 20ish Willow, regardless of the fact that Allysyn Hynnygyn (I never remember where the Y’s go in her name, so threw in some extras, just to be safe) does not and may not EVER have looked like that. It’s phenomenal design work that is sometimes missed in the month-to-month reading of the comics. I admit that I fell out of Season 9 a few months ago during one of my periodic ‘drop-some-comics-for-the-budget’ moments, but this is a good strong finale, giving each character a little something to chew on, setting up more than one shocking (and I mean, really kind of shocking) thread to go into a Season 10 series, and returning magic to the BTVS fold. The largest complaint for me is the presence of some ambiguity in the final fate of Dawn Summers and the ramifications of Xander’s actions to save her.
THE BOTTOM LINE: NEVER-ENDING BATTLES DON’T END.
It’s a good solid hit from the creators to put Season 9 in the history books, but there’s still a quiet voice in the back of my head that wonders if these characters are ever going to get an ending. Not a happy ending, not even an on-screen death (though the latter seems much more likely than the former), but just an ending, where they get to go off an have lives and such. It’s an odd worry to have, but writer Chambliss has successfully captured the Joss Whedon mystique enough that I still feel like these are my old TV Buffy friends, and that maybe, after more than a decade of rushing about getting picked off, they could go and have a Diet Coke on the veranda. Still, Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 9 #25 is a solid ending to a somewhat shaky season, and has me wondering what might be up next (especially given hints that the return of magic has all-new rules), earning a better-than-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. (And that cover is still pretty amazing…)