Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #13
“With the Guarded arc coming to a close, we find Buffy returning to her roots. She also gets a chance to do what most of us have wanted to since Season 7 of the TV series–punch Kennedy in the face.”
As Andrew Chamberbliss draws Guarded to a close, we are treated to many easter eggs for long time Whedonverse fans. Followers of Angel will remember Wolfram & Hart as the big bad of the series and the white room as their conduit and place of power. With magic disrupted and absent from Earth after the season 8 fall out, the website connection is W&H’s only remaining window to the Earthly plane. In the hostage crisis we were left with at the end of issue #12, Buffy realizes a demon’s code of honor is much more flexible than she’d hoped for. Koh is a demon bent on revenge and will tear through anyone or anything to get it. With the lack of magic, there’s no way a vengeance demon could pop in and wrap things up. Since Frey was the first comic about the future of slayers, we knew that at some point magic would be gone from the world. I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. It has really grounded a lot of the stories some what; you have super powered slayers and demons still on the loose, but the magic whammy and deus ex machina or having a witch fix it is gone. Everyone, it seems, is left to do their own dirty work.
Buffy and Kennedy has never had what you’d call a good relationship. They both fight for Willow’s attention and affection (albeit very different types.) They are both stubborn and strong willed. They are too similar to ever really mesh. Kennedy sees Buffy as this “Holier than thou” type. What she fails to realize is that, for most of Buffy’s life, Buffy has been the one person standing in the way of the supernatural over running the world. Buffy’s problem is even after the advent of thousands of slayers worldwide, she refuses to let go of this mantle. She may no longer be the slayer general but she still carries the weight of the world. Kennedy’s pointed remark about how Buffy’s negligence allowed Giles to be killed was well deserving of a full on right cross. Kennedy takes it in stride and the two put their differences to rest for the moment to accomplish what must be done. Leaving evil any foothold in our dimension is something Buffy cannot tolerate. Kennedy, for her part, wants to save her client and get back to a situation where she in in charge.
“In terms of the power and responsibility dynamic, Buffy rivals some of the greatest superheroes in comics.”
Koh is a new character to the Buffyverse, first introduced at the beginning of Season 9 of the comics. Though he quickly turns to take any action to reach his goal, Chamberbliss shows us in Koh’s interaction with Theo that nothing is black and white. His imprisonment and the reason for it is a deep mark of shame. He has lost so much that he feels he has nothing left to lose, which is why he was so willing to turn on Buffy. Revenge is a powerful carrot. Since season 8, Georges Jeanty’s art has impressed me and continues to do so. He handles intense character emotions on their faces so well. In one panel you can see exactly the emotion a character is feeling. The action is captured in a compelling manner as well. Buffy’s jump kick seems to leap off the page and you can see the painful impact of the hit. There is a real challenge in drawing characters who are based on real actors. Jeanty gives each character a second life on the page, and we can instantly recognize Buffy as “Buffy” rather than a penciled drawing of Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Though the ending wraps up quickly once the server’s explode, what comes after that is really moving. Kennedy doesn’t fire Buffy from being a Deepscan bodyguard, but rather offers her a promotion. Buffy, true to herself, refuses to accept a job that would really only help her. To us, it appears Buffy is just afraid of being happy. She keeps her mantle as the world’s guardian. In terms of the power and responsibility dynamic, Buffy rivals some of the greatest superheroes in comics. To whom much is given, much is expected and Buffy will continue to epitomize this adage. As the last panel reminds us, she knows who she really is, even with thousands of others out there: She’s the slayer.
Here’s a look inside Season 9 #13
To purchase this issue, head over to Dark Horse Comics’ website.