Review: Buffy Season 11 #1

buffyseason11coverWith only twelve issues to work with, writer Christos Gage, artist Rebekah Isaacs, and colorist Dan Jackson start out Buffy Season 11 #1 in blockbuster fashion with a battle against a blue Chinese storm dragon. But Gage doesn’t neglect the character arcs that have been the backbone of both Buffy the TV show and comic checking in with all the major players, including Buffy, Xander, Spike, Willow, and Dawn to see how they’re holding up during this supposed time of peace and quiet. The main inner conflict for Buffy in Season 11 looks to be her feeling of being “left behind” as her friends and family move on to bigger and better things like becoming a Wicca guru or a high scoring college student while she is still just a monster fighter. But, hey, at least, she’s getting paid for it as a supernatural consultant for the San Francisco PD.

In Buffy Season 11, Rebekah Isaacs continues to remain “on model” with her characters while still remaining highly emotive in her art style. She also uses a bunch of different panel compositions to keep both the action and talking heads scenes fresh like framing Buffy and Spike together in shadow as they know that San Francisco is in ruins, but their relationship is in a good place unlike most of Season 10. Also, when the dragon pops up, the panel size increases adjusting to the scale of the monster with Buffy and her friends as tiny, ineffectual dots, who can merely piss it off. Dan Jackson makes the Chinese storm dragon a gorgeous shade of blue, and its lightning attack is Godzilla’s nuclear breath epic, but uses a bleak, grey palette for the backgrounds and scenes before and after the attack. The design for the dragon is super cool too and reminded me of the majesty of the classic Pokemon, Gyarados with the abilities of Yu Gi Oh’s Blue Eyes White Dragon.This battle is going to have a big effect on not just the Scoobies and San Francisco, but the world too.

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Along with Isaacs’ stellar art, Christos Gage’s skill at writing Whedonesque dialogue continues in Buffy Season 11 #1. The banter is especially snappy during the Scoobies’ rooftop cookout where Xander jokes around about Spike and Buffy being cops while Spike good-naturedly quips about technically being an undocumented immigrant. However, this joke could connect to Buffy Season 11’s upcoming conflict as the president is pretty furious about the dragon attack on San Francisco and isn’t big into working with members of the supernatural community to help fix it. On a lighter note, the remarkable chemistry that Sarah Michelle Gellar  and James Marsters shared as Buffy and Spike in the Buffy TV show has transferred to the comic with their rapid fire pecking and poking at each other while they fight monsters that turns slightly sexy until their “backup” shows up. It will be interesting to see how their relationship holds up in the face of disaster movie level threats with a side of government interference.

As far as Willow is concerned, Gage and Isaacs seem interested in exploring her Wiccan faith as she opens a better version of the “wanna blessed be” Wiccan group that she joined in college back in Buffy Season 4. The meeting scene explores the spiritual, not just physical connection that she has to magic and also introduces a nonbinary character to the Buffyverse as Willow says that Wicca transcends the gender binary. Jackson gives the meeting a peaceful glow with his colors, and hopefully there will be more of these quiet, soul searching moments in the midst of frantic action.

In Buffy Season 11 #1, Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs, and Dan Jackson establish a more blockbuster action movie look and plotting while not giving the arcs of these beloved characters short shrift. The external and internal conflicts are deftly set up for the upcoming season with quips, brooding, and dragons a-plenty.

Story: Christos Gage Art: Rebekah Isaacs Colors: Dan Jackson
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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