Publish date: July 10, 2013 Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
I’m not super familiar with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as a franchise in general, nor as a comic book title specifically. I know that the series has a strong cult following, but I’ve never quite understood why that was. When given the opportunity to review this, the 23rd issue of the ongoing comic series published by Dark Horse, I thought “Here’s my chance to see what all the fuss is about.”
Let’s start with the art. Georges Jeanty is an artist I know of from some of his previous work. I’ve always considered his art to be decent—it gets the job done, but it’s nothing special. Aesthetically speaking, this issue didn’t do anything to change my opinion. Some nice facial expressions, but overall nothing about it excited me. It didn’t distract from the story either though, which brings me to my next point. There’s a lot more to drawing comics than just making pretty pictures. What impressed me here is Jeanty’s ability to tell a story to someone who isn’t well versed in the universe in question. Panel layouts flowed in a way which kept the story from getting confusing. Characters looked individual enough that it was easy to keep straight in my head who was who. The storytelling aspect of penciling is where we can often separate the men from the boys, so to speak, and Jeanty definitely acquitted himself as a professional here. I also found the coloring to be particularly nice in this book, so kudos to Michelle Madsen as well.
Now, the writing. Thanks to a brief synopsis on the opening page of the book, I was able to get up to speed with the story pretty quickly. It seemed to me that the main theme throughout was the bond—whether of friendship, duty, or family—between these characters. There was not a lot of action here, although there was absolutely a sense of building tension, which I enjoyed—that “stuff is about to hit the fan!” feeling. Mostly, though, the issue was about meeting the obligations that those personal bonds carry with them. While this certainly isn’t a new or original idea, it’s a reliable, and effective, means of creating relatable characters. I felt that it was handled here quite nicely, and I discovered by the last page that I was invested enough in these characters to care what happens next to them. Speaking of the last page, this one ended on a nice cliffhanger! Prior to reading this, I wasn’t very well acquainted with writer Andrew Chambliss, but a quick check online shows that he’s mostly written for titles under Joss Whedon’s purview (Buffy, Dollhouse), so it seems that Mr. Whedon has some faith in him, which is not entirely misplaced, it turns out.
After reading this, my interest is definitely piqued, not only to find out what happens next, but to maybe check out what’s come before. I wouldn’t yet consider myself a fan, but I’m at least willing to give it a shot. I’ve got several seasons to catch up on but, in the meantime, the future of the franchise seems to be in good hands.
I’m a lifelong media junkie, with a special love for comic books and geek culture. There’s a fine, blurry line between a good time, and art that actually means something. I’m interested in exploring the ways that both sides of that line impact our lives, and the things we can learn about ourselves and each other.