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If you’re a big Buffy fan but have lost track of the current Dark Horse series of what is essentially season eight (like this scribe has), issue #34 is going to be something quite surprising. In a universe filled to the brim with every kind of creature there is, and even with the scope of the mythology considerably widened by the final televised season and the beginning of this comics run, I still found myself dumbfounded at the direction the current arc BUFFY is headed in as it’s simply put, “out of this world."
The latest installment picks up with Giles, Xander, Dawn, Willow, etc. searching for a reunited Buffy and Angel who are elsewhere celebrating their first meeting in a long time, with a distinct lack of clothing. This issue seems to serve as an informational one, explaining a good deal of what’s going on rather than progressing the story through action (well actually there is a good deal of action, only it’s the “Buffy and Angel are having sex throughout the whole story” kind). To be fair, the rekindling of their loving and sexual relationship does serve the larger tale at hand. Due to a recent cataclysmic event, Buffy has gained a host of new powers and as Giles explains, it is due to the universe essentially rewarding her. The powers that be and the universe have been waiting for one slayer to surpass all the others and move on to take on what’s coming next, and what’s coming next looks to be the most earth-shattering and world threatening of all the world threatening plots Buffy and crew have faced.
This particular issue at hand isn’t totally great, but it works and helps to explain a lot, which is nice for someone looking to get back on the Buffy train. The question you’ll have to ask yourself is if you can get on board with the new heights author Brad Meltzer is climbing toward. While its always been steeped well into the fantastical, there’s a sense that the series is really going all out here and truth be told, it’s very intriguing.
Series artist, George Jeanty is still excellent, although he may not be the best fit for what’s about to come. Jeanty is vivid and talented, and the slight cartoon-ish aspects of his work help add to the ever-present comical tone that runs through even the darkest of VAMPIRE SLAYER stories. For what they’re teasing, however, Jeanty may not mesh well and one doesn’t have to look much further than the last page of this particular issue. Where Buffy and Angel end up at the finale doesn’t come across in the splendorous, gorgeous way it should, but instead ranks as a little silly.
It’s exciting to see BUFFY, with the help of Brad Meltzer heading in new and exciting directions and with some of the grand scheme laid out in TWILIGHT: PART THREE, these directions seem to be incredibly cool. It’s now just a matter of if they can be pulled off successfully and if so, where it goes from there.
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