Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 9, Issue 2
"Freefall, Part II"
Script: Andrew Chambliss, Pencils: Georges Jeanty, Inks: Dexter Vines, Colors: Michelle Madsen,
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt, Cover: Steve Morris
Blurb: With the destruction of the seed, the fight against Twilight was brought to an end, and magic's connection to our earth was severed. No more Slayers will be chosen. No more Slayer army. No more gang: Buffy's a waitress in San Francisco; Dawn and Xander are attempting normal domesticity; Willow is struggling with the loss of her powers. It's a new(ish) world, but there are still demons and vampires to slay -- even as their popularity with the masses continues to grow -- and Buffy is on point to do what she has always done...
She is the Slayer.
Page 01: We open on a dead body lying on an alley floor. There is a voice off-panel stating that this boy is just like a dead girl from the prior week. Dead from no obvious cause and no ID.
Page 02: The voice belonged to Detective Miranda Cheung. She's with her partner, Detective Robert Dowling. He wants to know if the boy is "John Doe", what do they call everyone else, as the viewpoint has zoomed outward, and we can see seven other bodies strewn about the alley with him, presumably all in the same state.
In the meantime, Buffy is being confronted by the student loan collection demon and he wants some payment toward her debt.
Page 03: Buffy chooses to treat this with violence, as is her want when demons come calling. Spike and Willow call her off, as her loan problem isn't going to be solved with some slaying.
The demon pitifully tells her that loan collections is just a day job, since he got unexpectedly trapped on Earth when The Seed was shattered. He's just trying to make ends meet and needs to keep his job.
Buffy cuts Willow off before she can make any more comments about The Seed's destruction. She demands to know where the nearest ATM is located.
Page 04: A bit later, Buffy has emptied out her savings, but it isn't even enough for the first installment amount. Spike pulls her aside to find out about that bank stash she stole with the other Slayers, but she tells him everything that was left after Slayer Operations (and the occasional outfit) was returned as part of the deal that Riley Finn brokered to get the Slayers off of Interpol's most wanted list.
Next, Spike turns to working with the demon on her behalf, noting that she didn't even finish school... and it was 'only' UC Sunnydale at that.
Page 05: The demon lets it slide, but warns her that he'll be back for another payment.
Willow takes this opportunity to remind Buffy of all of the unintended consequences about her destroying The Seed. She basically accuses her of hiding her head in the sand about the real repercussions of what she's done to the world.
Buffy's response is the same: She had no choice at the time.
Willow tells her that doesn't excuse her dealing with the aftermath, before she walks away.
Commentary: I'm just as irritated with Willow as I've ever been. You lost your magic... boo-hoo... You're still pulling down a comfortable living using your computer skills, so GET OVER IT, OR LEAVE. I'm so over Wills constant attempts to make Buffy feel guilty for stopping Twilight by destroying The Seed. She has said her piece (multiple times) and Buffy can't undo what happened, so the constant guilt-tripping is doing no good for anyone. It's selfish wallowing. (Sorry, Willow-fans, I know you're going to want to kick my ass for that.)
Page 06: Spike has Willow's back... up to a point. He tells Buffy that she has to stop sitting back about everyone gunning for her.
Meanwhile, we can see somebody hopping rooftops until it reaches her apartment and slips into her room. My first thought was that it was Simone, but she isn't really the subtle sneaking type. Plus, the figure has really red skin.
Page 07: And, it's a guy. He searches her room, finding the Vampyre book and a stake and concludes Slayer. Meanwhile, Buffy's roommate Tumble is up late and hears sounds from her room. Demon-Guy summons a cutting ring of energy and waits for Tumble to come into the room....
Commentary: Naturally, this is our mysterious warrior guy who broke free from a mystical prison last issue and promptly slaughtered his captors. You couldn't tell his skin color then, because of the green pall from the mystical energies there.
Page 08: Thankfully, when he opens the door to find out if Buffy wants to hit some Ramen Noodles, the hunter has slipped away.
Across town, at the morgue, Cheung is checking in with Dowling over any progress on their mysterious dead people case. Dowling tells her he has an ID on one of their girls, who was reported missing from Oakland. Miranda insists that she checked missing persons and she doesn't miss things, but he informs her that he had to go back to 1941 to find her.
Miranda states the obvious -- no way this young girl went missing that far back.
Page 09: Dowling reports that her prints were a match with what is in the file. In addition, two other bodies were identified the same way from 1954 & 1963. He wonders to Miranda's continued skepticism if they're actually looking at the bodies of former vampires (that weren't dusted).
Page 10: Speaking of... one of such creatures is currently chasing down a young man in another alley. Buffy is there, though her mind is on Spike's ambiguous warnings and Willow's passive-aggressive guilting of her.
The would-be victim wants to help, but she tells him to get out of there and let her handle it.
Page 11: She flips the vamp on his back and stakes it... just in time to be caught dusty-handed by a patrolman, who tells her nearly disbelievingly to drop the stake.
Page 12: A short time later, Buffy finds herself in a police interrogation room -- which happens to be the precinct that Robert and Miranda work in.
They question her about their unusually young looking old-dead people in the morgue.
Page 13: Miranda tries a little bad cop, accusing Buffy of killing them, but Buffy points out the obvious: Vampire 101 - Dead Vampires Dust Away.
Buffy also corrects Miranda that she doesn't kill, she slays and wants to know if it isn't time for a lawyer.
Minutes later, Cheung and Dowling argue in the corridor over how to handle Buffy the killer/slayer.
Page 14: Dowling repeats Buffy's vampire lesson, but Miranda doesn't want to believe her just because she's a 'slayer'. She, sensibly, reminds him that Buffy has every reason to lie about everything at the moment (but Miranda sure does seem grouchy about it all). She tells her partner to keep questioning Buffy until something shakes loose.
As she reminds him, right now Buffy is the only lead they have on who may be killing their now-mostly-accepted old-people-in-young-bodies.
But when Dowling returns to the room, Buffy has somehow slipped out.
From the rooftop of the police station, she sees the patrolmen mobilizing, and wonders if waiting for a lawyer might not have been more wise.
Commentary: I wish that I had more to speak of here. I like the mystery of the possible-vampires who don't dust but are dead, or rather, the mystery of if Dowling's supposition is even correct or there is something else going on. It's possible -- and my first thought wasn't vampires -- that some youth spell was keeping them alive and with The Seed busted, that enchantment had failed. But, I suppose that would either a) only cause them to start aging again (either normally or at an accelerated rate) or b) would have instantly made them old. Unless they died from the shock, but then you'd think that it would have been instant, rather than finding them scattered in alleyways.
So, the next thing I'm thinking is that Red Guy with the Hand Blade will be involved. That doesn't explain why the "vampires" didn't dust though. Hmmm.
Page 15: Buffy retreats to Dawn and Xander's again, rather than return to her apartment. She's already all over the news as wanted for questioning and Xan sarcastically congratulates her for her fugitive status. Dawn wants to know what is up with the bodies that they're talking about, but Buffy doesn't know enough yet. She needs to stay free long enough to give the police the correct suspect.
Page 16: Unfortunately for Buffy, Dawn and Xan deny her the ability to turn them into accessories after the fact. Though, it isn't that they don't want to and more of a "Xander is in trouble and sleeping on her couch" deal.
Commentary: Though, they could have offered her the floor or she could have shared Dawnie's bed. I sense some reluctance here of Xan and Dawn to do any more Slayer-adjacent activities at all. It feels like Season 6 all over again, actually -- except only toward Buffy, and not as depressingly harsh (yet), which would be bad. I don't like it when our gang isn't together (though I'm ready for Willow to take a long break, if it'll spare us anymore of her guilt-tripping Buffy about The Seed).
Page 17: Buffy turns to a random building roof to lament her lack of normal in her life the way that Dawnie is finding it (you could start by not patrolling).
Spike finds her there and wants to help out. She is wishing that breaking The Seed had taken away vampires and Slayer instincts along with extradimensional magic, but then does admit she'd probably miss Spike since that would mean he'd have been dead for reals.
Page 18: Spike offers to find out who is gunning for Buffy in the background, so that she can focus on clearing her name. But her subsequent attempt to investigate who is leaving behind bodies for her to get blamed for only manages to find more vampires, which she then must dust so that isn't helping much.
Page 19: The weird thing though, is that she ends up saving the same guy as the night previously, who again is menaced in an alley. And, as far as can be told, is putting himself in danger on purpose. This boy tells Buffy, again, that he can help.
But this time he adds that he's a Slayer -- which... no, probably not unless The Seed has screwed up the Slayer line even more than anybody imagined.
But, there isn't time for Buffy to argue a point right now, she has a vampire to chase down.
Page 20: Buffy's chase of another non-verbose vampire leads to another dead end alley as it has so many times before. But this time, as - okay, not really uncommon - the vamp has a group of friends.
The number of which is relatively unusual.
Buffy's noticing just how much she's outnumbered gives the chased a chance to tackle her to the ground and drip saliva on her face (GROSS).
Page 21: As chased vampire is all up in her face, it begins to smoke from behind. The vamps features shift to human-looking to Buffy's amazement. Standing over her and now-dead-human-body, is the boy she's "saved" twice, telling her that he had told her that he could help.
Buffy checks out the body, and yes, it is the same as those that Dowling and Cheung are investigating. And, the vampire isn't a vampire anymore.
We've found who has been leaving mysteriously young-looking-old-people corpses around.
Page 22: The guy has not only de-vamped the one he touched, but all of the vampires in the alley.
Buffy's all, "Cool! Maybe I can retire!" which we all know isn't the case.
Commentary: And ergo, we should all be able to see that mysterious guy is probably going to be bad guy, too....
The Good: I liked the mystery of the dead vampires who aren't vampires and aren't dusted (I'm reserving judgement on the cause that we find out here).
I really like Spike sticking around to staunchly ally with Buffy, especially since her family seems to be less reliable these days.
The Bad: Nothing, really.
Other Thoughts: I'm tired of Willow's whining obsession in bringing up The Seed at every conversation.
I'm also annoyed by Xan and Dawnie not helping Buffy out more, but at the same time, I can understand that the whole goal of their normal domestic life is to not get involved in Buffy's fugitive Slayer business. I'm conflicted.
My judgement is out still on all of these side characters, who aren't capturing my attention thus far.
The Score: 3.0 out of 5 stars -- Not much to comment on, but hopefully next issue will give us more substance to explore.
Next Review: Supernatural's "Skin" -- where Dean's devil-may-care-horndog starts his progression of getting a really complex character makeover. YAY!