Last month writer Christos Gage and artist Rebekah Isaacs closed out their first arc on the new season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was a pretty damn awesome issue by all counts. Pretty much perfect in fact, an issue that I really, really liked. The two of them were a really solid team and with this new season of Buffy they’ve made me really nostalgic for the good old days of watching Buffy and Angel on the small screen. That’s as it should be, by my count, since these are tie-in comics that continue on the story of the shows once they finale’d themselves and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 especially is one of the best new comics of this year.
The new arc on this series sees Rebekah Isaacs replaced by the duo of Karl Moline and Cliff Richards, and what’s great is that the two of them stay really close to Rebekah’s own style. Christos still tells a damn good story, one which involves all the members of the team as they try to get back to some semblance of a normal life after the recent events involving Dracula and the demon Maloker. The personal story here really speaks out to some real problems the team faces and I loved how that transitioned to a really great mission.
The core problem that the team faces in this issue is that none of them have a steady paying job and thus it is difficult for them to make ends meet. Complicating matters is that the rents in their current part of the town are really high and matters are further exacerbated when Buffy is forced to give notice to her landlord because of her roommates who are little better than college frat boys (actually she gives notices without having alternate housing already in the bag!). So the team sets out to find some cheap lodgings for all of them and in the process they run up a mission to exorcize a haunted mansion with the caveat that they could live there if they get the job done.
Sounds easy right? Well, when the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is concerned, things are neither easy nor simple.
With the resurgence of magic at the end of Season 9, the team is in a tough place because of financial woes and because magical forgery is still something that is largely… untested. Giles, as being recently back from the dead but as a child instead of a middle-aged man has the toughest time as he cannot access any of his family accounts since the bank won’t verify his identity. This is just a part of their larger troubles because Buffy is now without a residence, Xander and Dawn are having a tough time staying together and Spike can’t tolerate rooming with Andrew.
These are ordinary problems faced by everyone, but they have a magical twist to them, and so I loved the angle that Christos played up here. This cast, getting itself together and learning to work well each other was something that I really enjoyed about the television series and in this issue Christos has captured that really well. After the high-octane action of the previous arc, it is nice to see the team focus on some more immediate and more relevant problems.
Kind of makes it easier to connect with all of them. And the particular twist to the haunted mansion, that was even better. It allowed the team to come face-to-face with some of its worst fears and find strength in each other as a team, not as individuals. Excellent message there.
Newcomers Karl Moline and Cliff Richards have an artistic style that is very similar to that of Rebekah Isaacs so the change in the artwork isn’t all that noticeable thankfully. They are a bit more stylized, with characters being a bit bulkier as well I think, but that’s fine really. The monster that they draw in the second half matches anything that Rebekah has done on Buffy or Angel and Faith, so they definitely get points for that. The inking by Andy Owens is also fairly good and helps build the overall mood and tone of the comic, with regular Dan Jackson turning in another great example of his colours-work. Love his work to bits.
And of course, Steve Morris’ covers for Buffy Season 10 have all been too good with #6 being no exception at all.
This is an interesting start to a new arc with a new art team and I’m looking forward to seeing where it all goes in the next four months.