Joss Whedon returns to writing chores for these issues. This weekend I’ll review issue 20, getting the reviews caught up just in time for issue 21 to hit next week.
Title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #16-19
Author: Joss Whedon
Illustrator(s): Karl Moline (pencils), Andy Owens (inks), and Michelle Madsen (colours)
Cover Date: July – November, 2008
Cover Price: $2.99 US each issue. $15.95 US for the trade paperback collecting these issues together with issue 20.
The Slayers are fighting on two fronts. They have been attacked by mystic warriors, sent by Amy and Warren to thin their numbers. Of even greater concern is the fact that Buffy has been sent to the future, where her encounter with Melaka Fray is not as friendly as she’d hoped.
“It’s not who dies. It’s who kills you.” I think that line is going to turn out to be a lot more important than I initially realized.
The minions of Twilight. There seems to be too much comic relief going on to get the gravity of the situation. Also, the likeness of the newly revealed one was off enough to make it hard to be sure that was who I think it was.
This is original in a couple of ways. First, Buffy and Fray met, and that’s not something you’d have seen this way if they kept things on television, simply due to the budget of creating Fray’s world. We’ve also got a new villain involved that can add a very interesting element to the mix. I give it 5 out of 6.
The art is generally strong. There’s the one “new” villain who could have had a better likeness, just to prove we know who it was, as he wasn’t named in the script. The rest of the art is clear, telling the story well. The only other ambiguity was a jump in time that was indicated by an extra-wide gutter only back in the first issue of the set. I give it 5 out of 6.
The story is here, consistently well told, and moving the big picture forward. I give it 5 out of 6.
The characterization is great. Whedon is writing the scripts here, and we all know how well that works. I give it 6 out of 6.
The emotional response is strong for me. I enjoyed the original Fray miniseries, so it’s nice to see things converge here in a way that wouldn’t have been possible before. Add in the usual Whedon dialogue and some interesting twists for the future of the series, and it’s an easy set to recommend. I give it 5 out of 6.
The flow works for all but the first three or four pages, which have the awkward flashback done via the wide gutter. I give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, it’s a strong story arc, well worth reading if you’ve been following the series to date. I give it 5 out of 6.
In total, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #16-19 receives 35 out of 42.