Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 11, Issue 11
Writer: Christos Gage, Art: Rebekah Isaacs & Dan Jackson, Lettering: Richard Starkings & [Comicraft's] Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
Blurb: Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been saving the world from the forces of darkness since she was a teenager. Alongside her vampire boyfriend Spike; her best friends, Wiccan Willow Rosenberg and normal guy Xander Harris; her sister Dawn; and her formerly old but now magically reborn as a thirteen-year-old mentor Giles, Buffy has found nothing they can't face together... until now.
When a supernatural attack decimated San Francisco, rogue elements in the government used it as an excuse to crack down on supernatural beings, including draining their magic. Our heroes discovered the next step is making it global -- which would de-power or kill every magical being on Earth!
Page 01: In the tawdry motel room of Xander and Dawn's, our gang are preparing for how to get the proof they need of a grand conspiracy in the White House.
The gang target Ophelia Reyes as the mastermind behind the plot their facing, and decide they need to go after her, despite her security.
Spike offers that security will be too tight where Reyes has her local office, but Faith offers that people wanting security either get numbers or secrecy, but not both. She believes they can handle whatever security Ophelia has, because she went all-in on the secrecy part.
Commentary: I have to say that Ophelia Reyes makes so much sense as the big bad, which is why I kept doubting that it would be her. It just feels a bit too on the nose. I was still wondering if this would turn out to be Lake Steven over-worringing about Will's magic level being from under the government's control.
Page 02: That evening, our gang -- including Spike & Dawn, after they won the last argument about being shipped away from the danger zone, hit the Pandora Project.
Xan worries about their having a tank, and second-guesses about Faith's opinion that security won't be too tight for them to handle.
Wills takes point, and offers that their answer is to "shock and awe".
Page 03: She sets off a magical explosion to blow open the fencing and knock a checkpoint out.
Everyone rushes in, and quickly take out the soldiers. They're only just kept from being blown into pieces by the tank by Xan's panicked shouting.
Page 04: Willow deals with the heavy tank fire by turning the vehicle into a liquified mess.
As they invade the building, Buffy reminds Xan and Dawn that they don't have a lot of time, and that they'll have the most important job tonight. They both pull out their smart phones, with smirks.
Page 05: In the office, Ophelia is currently shouting for reinforcements.
Buffy tells her that she's going to tell the truth, about how she was pulling the strings on this false flag operation the whole time.
All this gets her is a scowl and a laugh of sarcasm. Reyes informs out intepids that they're still one step behind.
From stage-right, a blast of green energy knocks everyone off of their feet!
Page 06: Floating in (and looking a bit too much like Pearl for my taste), our gang are confronted by the actual mastermind: Press Secretary, Joanna Wise?!
Faith launches at her with a sword strike!
Commentary: Okay, I have to admit, I do find it a bit funny that the Press Secretary is the big, evil mastermind. And, I'm also relieved that this isn't Lake Stevens turning on Wills in the worst way. She still has a lot to answer for though, with supporting this whole security camp crap.
Page 07: The strike from Faith hits true, slicing open Joanna's middle. But instead of her intestines unraveling on the floor, she's got cyborg reconstruction going on where her digestive tract should be ending.
Buffy guesses immediately that Wise has been using the stolen magic energies to 'upgrade' herself.
Joanna informs our group, shrugging off a fire blast from Willow, that she's been working for years to condition her body to hold magic energy.
Page 08: Wise goes on a rant against feeling so insignificant, with her measly touch of magic. She shouts that having a taste of power is worse than not having any in the first place. But now, she'll not only be powerful, she'll be the most powerful person in the world once she's stripped everybody else of their energies.
Spike tries to interrupt her rant by fanging her, but she's had metal implants under her skin, so that doesn't work. And it gets him a magical fist slam into a wall for it.
Commentary: And, I gotta say that I'm not sorry to see it. Spike, this season, has been doing nothing but trying to bite the bad guys. I'm starting to wonder if he just forgot that he has fists and enhanced strength. He could've just as easily two-fist clubbed her to the back of the head.
And after that idiot move of trying to bite a metallic tentacle, he kinda has this one coming.
Page 09: Joanna suddenly finds herself in a whirlwind of magical energy, before being slammed into the ceiling, and then the floor.
Wills schools Ms. Wise in the difference between power and experience, and calls her out on being an amateur.
Page 10: Wise responds with a lightning blast, that catches Willow solidly. But Joanna goes on to tell them that she uncovered a spell that makes up for her lack of experience.
She summons... The Shenlong Dragon!
Page 11: Willow confirms that she was the one who'd set it on San Francisco, and she's trying to do it again, while at the same time returning Joanna's electrical attack at her.
Page 12: Buffy insists that Willow break off the fight and go to turn back the dragon. Wills is worried about them not being able to fight Wise without her magic, which is born out by the fact that Spike and Faith are completely failing to penetrate the defensive bubble Joanna has up.
Willow tells Buffy that she needs more power, and Wills knows just where to get it: The Slayers that she had empowered... she wants to reverse the spell, and yank all of the Slayer power back to its source... back to Buffy.
Buffy is bothered by this plan, mostly on Faith's behalf, who could get caught up in the spell's affects and get de-powered also.
Faith shouts at Buffy to do what she's gotta...
Commentary: Hmmm. Okay. I don't really like this solution to their dilemma. My biggest gripe is Willow being able to reverse the Slayer spell with a chant, in the middle of a battle. This seems like it'd be a huge deal and would require some meditation time before she'd be able to pull this off. Even assuming that I'd go with this, when Wills is allegedly not as powerful now, I'd still have to call 'bullshit' on her being able to do something this big -- a worldwide spell - and still be up and flying & fighting immediately afterward.
I also don't like them pulling Faith into this. Her power didn't come from the activation spell, so she shouldn't be impacted at all. In fact, if anyone should have the Slayer powers focused in her, it should've been Faith who'd have to do it since she held the Slayer line last. I would've given Faith the shining moment on this one, and had Buffy lose her powers again because they'd been drained before.
Then I would've had Willow worried that she didn't have enough strength to fight off a dragon on her own, and have her ask Dawn if she'd be her power-back-up with her Key energy. In the meantime, though Xan's role wasn't to fight on this one, it would've also been nice if he'd picked up a blaster/gun somewhere to help out. Y'know, spread the wealth for this showdown a bit more.
Page 13: Buffy has Wills do it, pulling the Slayer energy into the Scythe and dumping it into Buffy.
Page 14: Joanna Wise tells Buffy that she's been powering up herself for months, so she's not impressed.
But this changes when her blast at Buffy is sliced through by the Scythe!
Page 15: Buffy almost gets Joanna, but isn't quite fast enough. Wise lets loose with a 'rain of death' spell, sending multiple laser darts flying at Buffy, only some of which she can block.
Page 16: Buffy's cry of pain as the lasers go through her lasts only a moment, leaving Joanna shocked at how fast she can heal. She puts on a magical field of armor, and tells Buffy that as impressive as her turbocharged powers are, she can do even better. Buffy tells her to 'bring it'.
Page 17: Outside San Francisco, over the bay, Willow tries a net of magic around the dragon, but realizes with horror that she can't contain the beast. She pleads with the onlookers to run, knowing that nobody will be able to retreat fast enough.
Page 18: Back in Land's End, Joanna is beating Buffy to the ground. She yanks the Scythe out of her hands, and reminds Buffy that she's got the power of hundreds of witches... and not only their supernatural energy.
She starts to crack the Slayer Scythe...!
Commentary: Wouldn't it have been funny if the Scythe starting eating through her mystic field like acid, what with the blade able to slice through spells energy. But, no. This is Joanna's brief power moment.
Page 19: Buffy barely avoids taking an eye-beam blast, but her athletics allow her to flip over Wise's head, and snatch the Scythe back from her grip. She tells Joanna that her problem is that she's still trying to figure out everything she can do with her purloined powers, but Buffy already knows.
Again, making Wills point that Wise is underestimating experience over power.
Page 20: Buffy goes back on the offensive, cutting and shattering through Joanna's magical armor.
Wise gets in a power blast though, that sends Buffy across the room.
Page 21: In the meantime, Wise yells that she needs more power, melting through a wall into the power drainer, presumably the prototype of the ones that will be launched into space.
The gang rush her, but she uses a wave blast to knock them all away from her, as Buffy is still recovering.
Page 22: Across the bay, an energy beam from Land's End strikes the Shaolong Dragon. Joanna smugly grins that the dragon shouldn't have all the fun, when she can do it herself....
The Good: I liked the team up of Ophelia and Joanna, and there is something mildly amusing to me that our evil big bad has been hiding her activities in the guise of being a press secretary. I also really liked that image of Reyes' panic-face.
I also did like the extensive fight scenes with Wise revealing just what happened to the majority of the drained magic. And I liked the experience vs. power dynamics of the battle.
I always like it when the Scythe is shown to be more than a Slayer Weapon, but is a powerful artifact of its own.
The Bad: Nuthin' gets put here for this issue.
Other Thoughts: I was a little annoyed - just a little - that once again Faith being the actual Slayer is completely short-shrifted for Buffy. It wouldn't be irritating, if it wasn't a constant thing. And, I just can't buy how easy it is for Wills to reverse the Slayer-propogation spell.
The Score: Yeah, this was a fun one with so much of it being a panel-to-panel fight.
3.75 out of 5 stars