Eric's Dark Horse Comics Review: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 9 #2
Published: October 11, 2011 - 6:24am
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #2 does great things with its plot to move things forward with an interesting concept revolving around the dentally gifted undead and the law, but takes some steps backward in its characterization of its titular character. It's a bit unbalanced, but it can be enjoyed.
With Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #2, fans should be prepared for something supremely uneven. Speaking on the good first, Andrew Chambliss throws in a plot device that actually rejuvenates the whole vampire/demon/monster/etc. epic battle formula in a way that is truly creative and interesting. There's an element of police procedural fiction mixed in to the horror/adventure themes fans know and love. It's easily the best part of this read and hopefully a piece that continues as the writer fine tunes other parts. It's the stuff inane arguments about a legal system that acknowledges magic and the undead are made of. The joy of it all is that it is played straight the entire time instead of trying to milk it for laughs. The integrity and sincerity of it all makes it a stronger narrative. Plus, there's a “fugitive” element that, while explored in other stories, is always a fun addition to create tension.
Now, on to the bad. This books relies entirely too much on self-pity from the eponymous character to gain empathy from the reader. It's implied that the Slayer's life isn't a cake walk. There's no need for soliloquies asking “why me” or “why can't I be a normal girl” to hammer the point home especially when the same ground has been trod in previous iterations for the property. It's as if they have devolved rather than develop this character who has this rich fictional history in which she has gotten past a large bit of her angst. Added with some moments of naivete, it feels as if Chamblis is writing Buffy from a perspective that dates back over a decade ago dismissing a lot of the progress that has been made since season 3 of the television series (from which much of the characterization seems borrowed). A large part of the universe's appeal is in its growth. It also messes with the pacing of the better parts as the hero's wallowing grinds the excitement to almost a halt. It does a disservice to the book because there's actually a lot of great content here. Fix Buffy and the issue might gain unyielding praise. It feels as if the title character is the least fleshed out. The supporting cast is very well portrayed and seem to act very much like adults, which makes the juxtaposition that much more striking.
Georges Jeanty's art has an inherent energy to it that balances out most of its inconsistencies. This is especially apparent in faces that vary in detail in almost every panel. Also, Buffy Summers looks as if she's 12 years old during many of the action sequences. There's some good work on display here, but it's hard to narrow everything down to a easily definable style because it might change from panel to panel. What is constant is the visceral, fun sense movement attached to each page. It's all dynamic and really pops with a solid flow. Helping in this regard are some bright colors from Michelle Madsen, which matches page for page the bright aura of Jeanty's pencils.
Story: Andrew Chambliss
Art: Georges Jeanty & Michelle Madsen
Cover: Steve Morris
On Sale October 12, 2011!