In my reviews of the firs two volumes of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs’ Angel & Faith series, I mentioned how much I used to love Buffy back in the mid-00s. It took me a while to get warmed up to the show when I started watching it in college (after having caught an episode here and there in high school), but when I did, I was totally into it. I could watch 3-4 episodes of the show back-to-back without taking a break. Those weekend nights were long in those days. I haven’t kept up with the comics series that have followed the show since it went off-air, partly because I find the sheer number of them to be intimidating.
But, with the first issue of the new season out, I think that it is time for a change, and what a change it is. There have been some pretty big events in the Buffy-verse since I was last in touch with it, especially after I read those two Angel & Faith volumes in 2012, but I have to say that the way Christos Gage wrote this issue, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. He put me right at home with the characters, and Rebekah Isaacs’ art was just superb all the way.
First and foremost, I love the cover. Steve Morris has done a pretty good job here, turning out a grand cover that fits in with the theme and styles of many of the previous covers for the entire line of Buffy-verse comics. The covers for those two volumes of Angel & Faith were pretty good as well and I love ’em. There’s just something for these covers that really attracts me.
The story itself is a fairly standard story. Magic is back in the world, Zompires are almost wiped out. Willow is in a good place, the old team is kind of back together, and things are generally looking up for everybody. We start off with Buffy and Spike fighting off a bunch of Zompires, with assistance from some regular plain-joe vampires, and then the rest of the cast is slowly pulled in as the story develops to include all of them. We even get some really awesome cameos, which totally rocked. Its nice to see these characters back again like this.
There are some interesting twists and turns in the story, which kept things moving along and gave the entire cast something to do and get really stuck in as a unit. Which is pretty important, because while characters like Buffy and Spike have often been the posterchilds for everything that happens in the world, the rest of the cast too has always had an important part in events, and they’re all just as important. So Christos giving them all their day in the sun, metaphorically, was a great move and one that I applaud.
It also helps that he gets the tone of the story down perfectly and that he characterises the entire cast just as I remember from the show itself. And that’s a second important thing. These are all characters part of an existing franchise that has been around for almost two decades now! And as such, given the wealth of material developed for them over the years, maintaining a consistent tone as much as possible is very key.
In the end, all I know is that reading this comic really, really makes me want to go back to watch the show AND read the comics as well. And there are a ton of these comics, whether we talk about Buffy comics or Angel comics or anything in between. That’s a good thing right? I think that’s a grand thing. So we can consider that Christos did a hell of a magnificent job here.
On the art side, Rebekah has certainly pulled out all the stops here. Her take on these characters is slightly different than what I am used to, but that didn’t bother me one bit, because each character is instantly recognisable as who they are and who they are supposed to. Something is always lost in the comics medium when television/movie characters are translated, so allowances should be made for sure. And Rebekah does a hell of a job overall, so I’m bothered even less. Plus, Dan Jackson’s colours were top-notch. Honestly, his warm colours with their full-range of palettes definitely made this comic for me.
Overall, I loved this issue. It is a simple story with some interesting twists. It introduces all the characters very well, even for readers who might be new, and the art rocks.