Heroics, Sans The Hero. In Buffy #9, Hellmouth Tie-In.
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #9 Written by Jordie Bellaire, Art by David Lopez Coloured by Raul Angulo and Lettered by Ed Dukeshire.
The last we saw of Buffy, she was neck deep in Hellmouth, and sinking fast.
So it's only natural that in this latest issue of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, during their major Hellmouth crossover event that we totally ignore what happened to her next.
So, in a move right out of the Whedon Playbook, Buffy #9 does not in fact feature the titular character.
But here's the thing... The resulting issue is probably the strongest one yet. As my Co-Host Kelly recently pointed out, Joss has some remarkably strong supporting characters. And I think having an issue focusing on them, and using the Buffy issues of this crossover to fill out her world, in a similar way to what they did in the last issue of Angel is a very smart move, from both authors.
The actual body of the issue is split between three major arcs:
First off, we have Willow, who has been growing more distant, since splitting her soul to save Xander. She's also been diving more and more deeply into the world of the Arcane. Hmm, Willow overdosing on magic. How can this possibly end badly?
Next up is Giles. Solid, dependable, so very British and restrained Giles. Who spends the whole issue sweating and shouting like a mad-man. Mostly at his sort of not really girlfriend. At least, not anymore.
The third and final arc belongs to the Goober, the Forgotten One, the Zeppo. Also known as Xander. Funnily enough, Xander continues to have one of the best arcs in the series, parlaying his newfound Quasi-Vampiric abilities to actually go on patrol, and make sure that the vampires don't overrun everything, while Buffy is away. Even if it's something of a pyrhic victory...
The recurring theme, throughout all of these arcs (and the surprisingly heartfelt pre-intro scene with Joyce) is the vague air that something is deeply wrong in Sunnydale. And not just the normal level of deeply wrong, that comes with living on a Hellmouth. But really, actually wrong, to the extent that it's starting to effect the normal residents.
So, when the issue makes a point of cutting to a "seemingly nice" young guy, sitting alone in his room, staring at pictures of his classmates on social media and muttering "They're all going to pay" the warning signs light up, and alarm bells start to ring.
So, I think it's safe to say, that three issues into the crossover, things are starting to really look up for the readers, while also looking very, very bad for the poor residents of Sunnydale.
Overall, this was a fantastic issue, probably my favourite yet, from the rebooted Buffy series. Great character development, solid story progression and a deeper insight into how these character think. Plus, that final page stinger is a big one!