It’s been a while since the last Buffy comic issue, during which a few changes occurred…
This issue marked the transition from Dan Mora as series illustrator to David Lopez. The difference is startling, disappointing, and disorienting. Whereas in Mora’s issues each of the characters’ likenesses were apparent, the characters in Lopez’s art all look the same-like their faces are melting into wide eyed memes. I know many fans who were buying these comics just for the impressive art, so this is a devastating blow to the series’ attraction.
I love that they actually seem to be going through with Xander becoming a vampire, but I’m conflicted about him getting a soul. Not only because it feels strange for any vampire other than Angel and Spike to have souls, but also because it detracts from the complexity and stakes of his being turned. In so short a time frame, what possible real changes could there be to Xander’s personality if he has a soul? It has the potential to be interesting, but I think it’ll be a tightrope walk getting there.
We find out in this issue that it wasn’t Angel who stepped in to save Xander, but Spike. Like I predicted in my review for last month’s issue, Spike saw echoes of his William days in Xander. I guarantee that this instance of remembered humanity is what’s ultimately going to bring Spike over to the Scoobies. He will act as a mentor for Xander, who soul or not will need to learn how to control his demon. Drusilla, after all, seems to be filling the role that Angelus did in late season 2. She’s evil, vicious, and sadistic without the childlike innocence and insanity that precluded her from taking full responsibility for her actions in the original series.
What (Sadly) Hasn’t Changed…
In writing this review, it struck me how reactionary Buffy has been portrayed. There have been few instances where I can write a section on her because there have been few issues in which she has done something proactive. I hope that changes in the face of this new situation with Xander.
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