Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 9, Issue 16
"Welcome to the Team" part I
Script: Andrew Chambliss, Pencils: Georges Jeanty, Inks: Dexter Vines, Colors: Michelle Madsen,
Letters: Richard Starkings & (Comicraft's) Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Phil Noto
Blurb: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is back to doing what she does best: slaying. Though it's not a normal career path for most, for Buffy, this is normal. Working with the SFPD and Billy, a young man determined to make a difference in the world, Buffy takes on the rampant zompire population. She's getting used to Willow's absence, Spike's absence, and Xander and Dawn's very normal life. But, really, how long can any of this pass for normal?
Page 01: We join our issue with a zompire attack in progress. An unfortunate man is being pinned to the ground. Our zompire, who will be more-than-a-background-player, bites her own wrist. She forcefeeds our pinned man.
Page 02: The new-zompire in progress is interrupted by a flying kick to the face by Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. (I really don't use her full title enough... probably because it's a pain in the ass to type out.)
Buffy's kick sends our zompire-girl flying to the ground a foot away. Buffy tells her that she's getting sick of cleaning up after her siring spree.
Page 03: As we know, zompires don't taunt or banter, so this isn't responded to. Meanwhile, pinned guy hasn't been able to retreat, because another pair of zompires is still interested in him. Buffy races toward them.
But zompire-girl grabs her ankle and tosses her face first into the cobblestone street.
Commentary: I'm not digging Georges' work here on the zompires. He's, for some reason, given our monsters horse-face and it looks really weird in a not-monster-but-just-weirdly-drawn way.
I also thought for a minute that we were in another Buffy-dream and she was fighting Dawnie-zompire, but apparently no -- the zomp just looks a lot like Dawn, right down to her choice of outfit.
Page 04: As Buffy is lying on the ground, the two hench-zomps are suddenly staked from behind. It turns out that Billy and Robert Dowling have arrived to provide backup. Buffy has them help the victim, while she turns her attention to staking zompire-girl.
Commentary: Dowling claims that he doesn't think the victim ingested any blood... I find this highly doubtful, considering the *gkkk* we saw the vic give. Even if he tried to spit it out, the chances of him not swallowing any is....
On the other hand, I guess I could buy that he'd not get enough to do more than make him a little ill.
Page 05: Buffy gets grabbed by the ankle again, as the zomp-girl drags her over the stones. Buffy's not amused and goes to stake her for not running away when she had the chance.
But she gets an unpleasant surprise, as zomp-girl easily twists her wrist, causing her to both lose her stake and to exclaim in pain.
Page 06: The zompire follows through by driving Buffy's face back into the cobblestones, hinting that she has even better strength than the usual zomps, and she has had some sort of fighting skill going in.
Possibly lucky for Buffy, dawn is nigh, which makes the zomp-girl take off for more shadowy places.
Billy wants to chase down the zomp-girl, but Buffy nixes - still holding her wrist - and points out that he's late already for his morning post-patrol call to his grandmother.
Robert informs Buffy that it appears they reached the victim in time.
Page 07: Robert expresses concern about Buffy's obvious injury, but she blows this off. She mentions the zomp-girl's unusual strength level and Dowling promises to reach out to the task force and see if anyone else has noticed any mega-strength zomps running around.
Page 08: Meanwhile, at Xan and Dawn's apartment, she's in the bathroom having just emptied her stomach into la toilet.
Xan checks on her and they exchange some banter. She hugs him and tells him that she actually isn't minding the flu too much, because it means he can look after her. He's more interested in flushing before he also vomits.
Page 09: Over at Buffy's, she and Billy find Anaheed snooping through Buffy's boxes as she's decided to stay after all.
Ana claims that she's looking for Buffy's party-top, but the reader is left with some doubt.
Page 10: Buffy also surprises Ana with a rent check for six months in advance from her paycheck received for her brief career as a bodyguard.
They decide to celebrate Buffy's not-destitute state with 'The Bachelor' and tea. Ana invites Billy, but he says he needs to spend some quality time with the Vampyr book that Giles left Buffy.
(Something about the frown on Billy's face makes me wonder if there is some problem between he and Anaheed -- but I'm simply not interested enough to go back and look to see if this was brought up in the previous issue.)
Page 11: Sometime much later, presumably, Buffy stops in to see her sis. She offers ginger ale and crackers to the still very vomity Dawn. She also brings peanut butter, but Dawn mentions that she knows that she's allergic to peanuts.
Buffy claims that she didn't remember that actually, but the thought of peanut butter already has Dawn rushing back to the la toilet.
Buffy asks Xan about her condition, but he says the docs assured him that it is just a particularly nasty flu bug that has been making the rounds.
Commentary: Uh-huh. Obvs, I immediately decide that this isn't just a flu bug. We wouldn't be spending this kinda time on it, if it were going to be something not supernatural related.
Page 12: Xan brings up the nasty cut on Buffy's head. She tells him that it's not a biggie, but that she was cut by a mystic blade and her healing factor seems a bit off.
Xander seems pleased that she's back on the Slayer-train full time and teases her about her seeing Robert every night these days. Buffy insists that her and Dowling are doing police work/patrol and nothing more.
Page 13: Dawn comes out of the bathroom in time to tell Xan that Buffy would never be interested in Dowling as he's A) not undead, B) Under a century old, and C) gainfully employed.
Xan and Dawn do state though that they both like him, so if there were to be some "interorganizational romance", they'd be support-o-family about it.
Page 14: A bit later, Buffy meets Dowling about a reported vamp nest... very possibly one containing the powerful zomp-girl from that morning. Buffy brings up the rumors among her family that they're dating. Dowling gets a bit flirty, and apparently they may start dating now.
[Blah-blah. Yes, I support Buffy dating a "normal guy". No, I'm not against it being Detective Dowling. But, I'm not exactly standing up and hip-hip-hurraying about it, either. He's okay, but like all of the new cast of characters, I'm just not warmed up to him that much .]
Page 15: Billy joins them, then. He's brought a length of rope with him which he's soaked in holy water to help Buffy capture, rather than dust, zomp-girl. Dowling objects to the risk, but Buffy agrees with Billy that they need to know just why zomp-girl is showing a higher level of strength than she should be.
Buffy tells Billy that he won't be taking on zomp-girl, though. He's to join Robert with dusting the nest-members only.
Page 16: Our trio enters an abandoned trolley garage, which turns out to be on the money regarding the zomp-nest.
Page 17: While Billy and Robert engage the zomp-mass, Buffy vaults over them to concentrate on zomp-girl.
Page 18: Buffy's able to wrestle the rope around vamp-girl's wrists, which seems to have the side-effect of muting her strength, since she doesn't immediately snap them. It doesn't help her conversational skills, though.
Buffy stares at zomp-girl's eyes and something about her feels familiar to Buffy, but before we learn what she's thinking, zomp-girl proves that the holy-water-soaked rope binding her wrists doesn't affect her foot. Buffy gets high kicked across the room.
Commentary: Anyone else thinking "zomp!Slayer"? I start immediately hoping that this will turn out to be the psycho-Slayer, Dana. It bugs me that after Andy went to L.A. to all but muscle her away from Team Angel, that she never got a mention in BTVS, S8. What exactly did they do with her? Where is she? Surely Giles took responsibility for securing her somewhere she could receive help.
It'd be neat if they were re-introducing her. After all, if she breaks free she could hunt down Spike and they could have another throwdown, which would be cool. Especially, if it led to Spike fighting with some of our former potentials over what to do about her. I'd like to see more of Rona and Vi, at least.
Page 19: Dowling makes his way over to Buffy to question her about her "letting" zomp-girl go, and Buffy tells him that she thinks she knew her from somewhere, pre-vamping.
Before she can either explicate further, or continue battling against the now-rope-free-but-not-fleeing zomp-girl though, Buffy finds herself teleported away in mid-sentence.
This leaves Billy and Robert in a fine position!
Page 20: As Buffy is wondering what happened to Dowling, and he's wondering what happened to Buffy, Billy shouts a warning which comes too late.
Dowling is tackled by zomp-girl... and bitten across the throat!
Page 21: Meanwhile, Buffy is realizing that she's been translocated to L.A.
There, she's met by someone in shadow. We get a clue as to who this is by "in my day, we called it Vahla Ha'Nesh".
Page 22: It turns out that Buffy's abductor is Illyria. Buffy goes on the offensive, but Illyria holds her levitated in mid-jump.
Illyria reports that she's brought Buffy there because she's going to help her or perish. Buffy asks for a third option.
The Good: I liked the dialog throughout this issue.
The Bad: Nothing bugged me too much.
Other Thoughts: I like the hints that something is going on around Dawnie, which I'm guardedly optimistic is going to have something to do with The Seed's destruction vs. Dawn's mystic origins. It's bugged me that the issue hasn't ever been addressed.
I'm also guardedly hopeful that maybe our zomp-girl will be Dana, because that's another dangler that has thus far been unaddressed.
And, hmmm, what is Anaheed up to? And what's up with that weird frown at her by Billy?
Illyria vs. Buffy? This could be interesting.
The Score: I like this issue more than some other 'set-up' issues we've had. I'd say it does a good with setting up several plot points going in to this 4 issue arc.
3.50 out of 5 stars
Next Up: BTVS. I think I'll complete the review of the whole "Welcome to the Team" arc, before hopping over to Angel & Faith for their next arc.