‘BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 12 #1’ – COMIC BOOK REVIEW (THE RECKONING)
Creator Joss Whedon returns to Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the release of the premiere issue of Buffy: Season 12 #1, the fifith comic book “season” released by Dark Horse Comics. Featuring a story by Whedon and writer Christos Gage (who is also serving as the writer on the series), the creative team also includes the return of artist Georges Jeanty to the franchise and promises to deal with one of the biggest remaining story threats left over from Whedon and Jeanty’s original collaboration on Buffy: Season 8.
Buffy: Season 12 #1 opens with Harth, the twin brother of 23rd century slayer Melaka Fray and vampire prophet, finding a way to travel through time and attack Buffy Summers in an attempt to preside over “the end of the slayers in two different timelines.” Of course, this happens while readers are catching up with the Scoobies, making their own short time jump into the future and revealing proud parents Xander and Dawn, Buffy and Spike’s post-amicable breakup, a fully restored and adult Giles, and more.
Longtime Buffy fans, especially those who’ve followed the comics, will be excited not only to have Whedon returning to the series, but to see Gage and Whedon take on the hopeless and slayerless (mostly) future presented by the Fray miniseries, as well as the shocking moment in Buffy: Season 8, where a dark future version of Willow forces her slayer friend to kill her. The question has remained for sometime as to what caused Willow to wish for death at her friend’s hand and caused the slayer line to grind to a halt, so, hopefully, Season 12 will provide some satisfactory answers.
While there is much to love about the first issue of Season 12, readers may find some frustration regarding several seemingly important events occurring off page (Buffy and Spike’s breakup, the restoration of Giles to his original age, etc.). There;s a chance that these events will be examined further in upcoming issues, but the barrage of “updates” comes off as a bit rushed and will be unsatisfactory for some fans.
As always, it’s an absolute joy to have Geanty back in the saddle on a Dark Horse Buffy title. He get’s a crack at a number of beloved characters right off the bat and returns to form as if he never took a break from the Sunnydale crowd. It’ll be a pleasure to see what stunning visuals he brings to upcoming issues of the series. In addition, cover artists Stephanie Hans delivers a stunning depiction of Buffy and her slayer scythe. Hans’s style almost seems like a cross between previous Buffy cover artists JO Chen and Steve Morris, and she will certainly be adding some beautiful additions to Dark Horse’s stable of breathtaking Buffy artwork.
– The opening scene of the issue is fantastic, subverting exceptions in a classic “Whedon-esque” fashion and reminding readers of what a truly great villain Harth is.
– I have to be honest: As much as I love the character, I’m not crazy about the return of the Mayor. While he explains his return by suggesting a pure demon may not be able to be killed, I kind of hope Harth is using his time travel abilities to recruit “big bads” from the previous season to his cause.
– The breakup of Buffy and Spike and the “restoration” of Giles from his previously teenaged state both feel like steps backward. The last couple of seasons have worked really hard to explore Giles’ struggle with his new form and the idea of a lasting and mature relationship between the blond vampire and the blond slayer, so abandoning them in such quick fashion feels a bit like an abandonment of some fairly important previous storylines.
FINAL VERDICT: Buffy: Season 12 is off to a shaky start, but both Whedon and Gage are proven storytellers who have set up a number of exciting elements to explore. This first issue alone features the return of Fray, almost every surviving member of the Scooby Gang uniting to face an all-powerful threat, and a number of great character moments. Only time will tell what the rest of the season will bring.
Creative Team: Joss Whedon (story), Christos Gage (story, script), Georges Jeanty (pencils), Karl Story (inks), Dan Jackson (colors), Richard Starkings (letters), Jimmy Betancourt (letters), Stephanie Hans (cover art)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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Buffy: Season 12 #1 hit shelves on Wednesday, June 20th, so get out to your local comic book retailer and pick up a copy!
Original article at Fanbase Press