Until now, the Scooby Gang never thought that the greatest force they’d have to face came from their own ranks. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer #24, the Gang takes on a darkness out of their control. This issue is written and illustrated by long-time contributes Jeremy Lambert and Ramon Bachs, respectively. Also returning are colorist Raul Angulo and letterer Ed Dukeshire.
The Ring of Fire arc has turned multiple friends into foes. Anya, the former Watcher, continues her secret plot against the Watcher Council. Meanwhile, Xander’s a vampire hell-bent on trapping Willow with him. Now, through the magic of a mysterious gift from issue #20, Willow has been taken over by an eerie sort of doppelganger.
Dark Willow was one of the biggest twists in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Willow spent seasons of the original series learning about magic and perfecting spell-crafting in her own right. But by Season 6, her ambitions and appetite for magic had grown to a dangerous level.
I want to be honest here. Although I do enjoy Boom! Studios Buffy-verse which has excelled with titles such as Angel & Spike. Willow and even the recent Faith revival, the titular book continues to fall short of what it tries to offer us.
This first issue takes place at multiple points of Faith’s life. Mostly based around a movie theatre, we see different parts of her story told in sequence. From her admittance into a children’s home, through to early training and modern-day, Faith Lehane is trying it piece together her life, practically chiseled into becoming a slayer. Multiple vampires are slain and unknown mysteries of her history begin to unravel.
I can’t mention the Buffy series without talking about the ability of the artists. Spanning several different books across the studio line, each entry manages to deliver the characters consistently. Faith is drawn with the same look and appeal as when she was introduced in Buffy a few issues back.
In the Buffyverse, the Watcher Council often seemed an enemy greater than demons and vampires. Because they were so feared, Buffy was the only one to stand up to them. Therefore, it’s refreshing to see Anya as a former Watcher, defying members of the Council to their faces.
The Slayer Cycle has been a constant in all versions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One young woman is granted the power of the Slayer until she dies — at which point it passes on to the next one. But the new Slayerverse just revealed there are ways around that, and that a quietly vital Slayer used one such loophole.