Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs launched the tenth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in great fashion some five months ago, and they’ve made this book into one of my top favourites of the year, something that I can depend on being super-good month after month. As I’ve said before, I got introduced to this due through their work on Angel & Faith Season 9 and they’ve brought the same awesomeness to this title. Reliving the adventures of this entire group through this new lens of comics is an incredible experience and the best things about it all remain the best still.
In last month’s Buffy #4, we saw that Dracula, out of his own hubris and inconsiderate manipulation of Xander, had begun to turn into the demon Maloker, the demonic father of all Vampires. In the midst of all the great character interactions, Christos Gage told a really involved story about friendships, love, betrayal, infatuation and manipulation, and he continues all of that in last week’s Buffy #5 as the first arc of the new season draws to a close. Not to be outdone, Rebekah also turns in some fantastic artwork coupled with brilliant colours from Dan Jackson.
The main action in this issue is all focused on the team’s efforts to stop the demon Maloker, before he becomes all too powerful and destroys the world itself. With the new rules for magic still in a flux, this is a most dangerous time indeed for the good guys and I loved all the action and character development throughout this issue. The best thing is that Christos ends this first arc of the new season in a conclusive manner. There aren’t any lingering threads per se that are going to have any immediate effect, and everything is basically just a setup for later, for whenever things go out of hand, as they always do in such cases, and then Buffy’s team is going to be fighting against the clock.
Still, we get to see some fun things here, all of it garnished well with Christos’ excellent dialogue. He really gets all these characters and he has a good handle on all their little quirks and what not. That makes it all really worthwhile. He draws on each member of the team to contribute in some way, and the race to “fix” Dracula and banish Maloker is a most fun race indeed. Most of all, it is nice to see some character development happen for everyone, especially towards the end when things wind down after the big battle and the team takes stock of everything that has happened and figures out where to go next.
In the ending, we get some decent closure on the relationships that Xander has with both Dawn and with Anya. I loved that Anya was finally back in the series after her disappearance in the last couple issues or so. She was certainly missed, and with the way that things end here, I think we are going to be seeing a lot more of Anya in the future in this season, as well as seeing Xander and Dawn’s relationship develop further.
Considering all the different things that the team goes through in this issue, and the previous four, I suppose that something profound at the end was called for, because the way that Christos ends this issue, it all feels very natural. Spike saying something profound? Xander being so thoughtful? Dracula himself being a font of insufferable profundity? It all works out for me.
I’m really glad that Christos ends this first arc on such a high, especially after such a strong start and middle.
Rebekah Isaacs and Dan Jackson and Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt are back for another turn this issue, along with cover artists Steve Morris who delivers another awesome piece of cover art, with the focus being on Spike fighting Maloker this time. As with the previous issues, I loved the artwork here. Maloker looks threatening and a badass in every panel he is in, and the action scenes are fluid and dynamic as always too. Couple that with the fact that Rebekah has a really good handle on the expressions-work and that Dan’s colours are just way too good, and you’ve got a perfectness here.
Superb issue in every single way.