This week, Boom! Studio’s rebooted Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics continued, introducing characters both familiar and new. The problem is that this week’s issue spends so much time introducing characters that there is little time for plot advancement. Unlike the premiere issue, there was no great twist that left the reader gasping, hungry for more. There were only a series of bummers, leaving the reader worrying what the new writers have planned for their portrayals of our favorites. Let’s discuss…
As I said, this issue briefly introduced two new characters into the Buffyverse: Eric and Rose. Eric is Joyce’s boyfriend of a year who has been living in the Summers house for the past month. He’s clearly desperate for Buffy’s approval of his new place in her familial life, jumping to interpret her dream of fiery death as a much more normal symbol of “having intense feelings for someone.” Both the reader and Buffy know that’s not what the dream meant, but I do wonder if the inclusion of this line on a writing level is foreshadowing that Buffy will have intense feelings for someone soon. I hope it’s not Robin, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Rose, meanwhile, is Willow’s girlfriend who, up to this point, seemingly only exists as a supportive prop to further establish two key points: (1) Willow has already discovered her lesbian identity and (2) Despite the crop tops and sexuality, Willow is just as insecure about her value as the original Willow. It would have been better for Rose to be a character we already know and love, like Tara. If it had been, even if the dialogue was the same, the character wouldn’t have felt as two-dimensional because we would have three seasons of character knowledge to draw upon. I can’t imagine what twist they could possibly have in store that would justify why Rose has filled Tara’s place.
Told ya I’d get to it. OK, I have nothing against Robin as portrayed so far in the comics. Obviously, we’ve gotten very little so far to hold against him other than a suspiciously broken arm. My concern about Robin is that in establishing him as this Buffy’s serious love interest, the writers are simply looking for an out from the Angel/Buffy/Spike love triangle that’s impossible for them to win. We’ll see how it goes, but they’re not going to get fans interested in their series by satisfying neither side.
When we first met Cordelia in the pilot episode of Buffy, she was the archetypal Mean Girl. It was only after seasons of development both on Buffy and on Angel that the viewer learned just how layered Cordelia really was. Under the popularity and bitchiness, Cordelia was covertly intelligent, tough, and compassionate. Like any character, it was witnessing her journey that made her special.
The comics have whitewashed that journey, making Cordelia the perfect, perky sweetheart of Sunnydale High. Perhaps the image of popularity has changed since the ‘90s-making Cordelia run for class president rather than for cheerleader or homecoming queen drives that impression home-but that shouldn’t come in sacrifice to her complexity.
Contrasting the handling of one of my favorite characters of all time with another, I am happy to say that they introduced Spike remarkably well in this issue. Creepily hanging out in the woods waiting for an unsuspecting girl, Cordelia, to happen by is totally something Spike would do for the aesthetic. Spike would also appreciate the poetry of the juxtaposition of Xander’s “A friendly smile, and [girls] have anyone wrapped around their finger” with Spike’s evil grin as he fades into the darkness behind him.
Despite those two iconic images, It’s this panel I will be laughing about for the next month:
He always did say he didn’t want the world to end.
If that Xander quote I mentioned sounded off-putting and borderline misogynistic to you, you’re not alone! This issue is filled with lines that make the reader bounce from feeling sorry for Xander in his isolation and pain to mildly disgusted at his mindset in regards to women. In continuation of the layout last issue, these lines are revealed to us from Xander’s blog in parallel to what the other characters are going through at a given time. Xander’s blog, by the way, has a total of three followers. Get a Tumblr, Xander. You can’t watch porn there anymore, but you can learn the basics of feminism. I think you need that more right now.