Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Season 11, Issue 12
"One Girl in All the World"
Script: Christos Gage, Art: Rebekah Isaacs & Dan Jackson, Letters: 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 formally 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 dragon decimated San Francisco, rogue elements in the government used the attack as an excuse to crack down on supernatural beings, including draining their magic. That magic has now been absorbed by the ringleader, Press Secretary Joanna Wise, who again summoned the dragon... And then drained its power to become unstoppable!
Page 01: Out over San Francisco Bay, Willow Rosenberg is confronting the Chinese Storm Dragon, which had already heavily damaged San Francisco in a previous attack.
She's taken aback by the dragon suddenly rearing up, and roaring in apparent pain. As Willow watches, power is pulled from the Shaolong and shoots across the bay toward the government facility where Willow left Buffy battling Joanna Wise.
Page 02: As Joanna is powering up via the machine that was designed to drain mystic energies and funnel them into Wise, Spike sends Buffy after the machine, while he tackles Joanna to the floor.
In the meantime, Xan has to restrain Faith from rushing in to help. Remember, that Buffy & Willow had drained the Slayers of their energies to restore her Uber powers. Faith, right now, is all too vulnerable to the power mad Press Secretery's mojo.
Commentary: And, I know this is Buffy's book and all... I do get it; But damn it, I really wanted Faith to have to save the day - being The Slayer, officially, even though I appear to be the only one who remembers that.
Page 03: Joanna punches Spike off of herself, and gloats that she has more than enough power stored to wipe Spike and Buffy off of the map. Spike tells her to go for it.
Buffy rushes toward them both, panicked at the thought of Wise turning all that magical energy onto him.
Page 04: Joanna does try to ashify Spike... and damned near succeeds, despite Buffy getting in between them with the Scythe, which cuts a path through the power stream rushing at them.
Faith breaks free of Xander, to rush to Buffy and Spike's side. She tells Buffy that she'll get Spike out, while her sister-Slayer uses their power to kick Wise's ass.
Commentary: There is some especially nice work going on artwise in this issue. It doesn't affect scoring, but Isaacs & Jackson get a huge kudo. I'm liking the bright colors for Joanna's magic, and the impacts on Spike... pretty much burning his skin away.
It's all beautiful, if a bit gruey.
Page 05: Buffy charges Wise, but with the dragon's transferred energy, Wise's mystic armor allows her to absorb the hit of the Scythe, catching the blade between her palms (i.e., exactly what Buffy did to Angelus' sword when he tried to skewer her through the face in Becoming II).
She bad guy brags.
Willow comes from stage-left, to power blast her away from the Slayer.
Page 06: Wise tells them that it won't be enough to stop her. She unleashes lightning, which Buffy barely avoids and Willow can only just block.
(Because they're in a comic, and can ergo converse as a free action..) Will complains to Buffy that she's used up too much of her own energy fighting the dragon, and she doesn't think she can stop Joanna.
Buffy asks what happened to the dragon (.. and because they're in a comic, Wise has no problem with ignoring the fact that they're speaking to each other...), and Will tells her it fell into the sea.
Buffy strongly hints to Wills that the dragon might want a piece of Wise, Itself, considering where Its power is right now.
Page 07: Wills rushes back out toward the Bay in order to find herself a cheezed off dragon.
In the meantime, Wise turns her attention back on Buffy, using the same burning power blast she'd used against Spike. Again, Buffy is able to cut a swath through the blast wave, but she can't block it all, and takes a mean hit!
Page 08: Out at sea, Wills uses a magic scan to find where the Dragon had gotten to.
Meantime, Buffy forces herself against Wise's magic blast wave to reach Joanna. This manages to impress the Bad Witch, but by the time Buffy can reach her, she's half burned.
Joanna slaps the protective Scythe out of Buffy's hands. She grabs her by one hand around Buffy's shredded coat, while with the other hand, she readies to blast Buffy to death up close!
Commentary: I am really liking this whole battle, guys! It's dynamic and exciting, and the good guys are being made to earn their victory [Oh, c'mon... did you think the bad guy was gonna win... although if this was the end of the Buffy title, that would be a very interesting place to leave it all, intimating that this is an alternate lead-in to Fray... hmmm... But nevermind, because it isn't].
I like the bitter pettiness of the villain, and the way that even though Joanna Wise has the power she's always wanted, she's inexperienced, wreckless and clumsy with its use, which gives an advantage to the good guys without cheats. This whole arc has been wrapped up very nicely.
Page 09: While Wise is doing more bad guy grandstanding, Buffy boots Wise in her mystically armored head, to break her hold and distract her from the lethal blast.
But she doesn't get far, alas. Wise powers up her magic for a second attempt on Buffy's life. She tells Buffy arrogantly that she thinks both of them are ready for this battle to end.
Buffy agrees, but with a hard grin. For behind Joanna, there comes a roar....
Page 10: The Dragon has been lured to the government site, and it wants what it owns back!
Joanna tells the Dragon that she's got the power now, and she'll never give it up. Which is fine with Buffy - she shouts at Wise that they can both have the dragon's power, as she jump kicks Joanna right down the dragon's gullet!
Commentary: OH, YEEESSSSS... that was satisfying. Loved this page.
Page 11: The Shao Long snaps it jaws closed on Joanna Wise, would be Sorceress Queen. It snorts at Buffy and Willow, while glaring menacingly at them.
Page 12: Before things can get nasty again, though, the dragon flies back out over the bay, and disappears into a thunderhead portal.
Dawn helps support Buffy, while Faith does the same for Spike, as the gang decide it's time to go before any military arrive.
Page 13: Days later, at the girls' apartment, Xander and Dawn's video footage is on the air showing Wise's villainy, without showing the gang's faces so there can be no repercussions coming back on them.
This is followed by the President having a news conference, and telling the country that all supernatural policies are being immediately reviewed by the conspiracy-busting team of Riley and Samantha Finn and that everyone involved in the treasonous plot with Wise will be punished to the full extent of the law.
Xan complains about how they're not going to get any credit, even though that was the point of not being seen on video fighting Joanna. Xan offers that the Finns could've at least arranged to forgive Dawn's student loans, but she's satisfied with not being in prison for supernatural hijinks with her sis.
Page 14: The gang discuss how things are going now, and basically the supernatural - especially the vampires - have taken to going back into the shadows. Things can't go back to the world not knowing about the supernatural of course, but the old rhythms of predator, prey and Slayer seem to be reasserting themselves.
Spike is glad with it.
Page 15: Upstairs, Willow has reformed her Wiccan group and returned their drained magic to them. We don't see Calliope or Linda, though.
As she makes an ongoing date to for Saturdays and sees her smaller group of acolytes to the door, her mood suddenly sours.
Page 16: We discover when Buffy is summoned upstairs with Spike, it's because waiting at the door was Jordan and her ex-Slayer team.
Buffy is just as unhappy with the visitors as Willow.
Jordan offers that they've guessed their sudden powerlessness came because Buffy took back the Slayer energy. And despite Buffy's being obviously pissed over how she was treated when Jordan had the power and she didn't at the camps, Jordan has come to plead to be given the Slayerhood back.
Commentary: Which, wow. I'm stuck in the middle between respecting her balls in showing up at Buffy's door with her hand out, and being outraged that she'd even think of showing her face at Buffy's door with her hand out!
Is it nice though, that Jordan doesn't come in demanding that she has any rights to the power, even though one could make the argument that they all do ... or that they all don't, actually. It's just nice that she's at least contrite.
Page 17: Jordan tells Buffy that they know that she gave the power back to Faith, already. She offers that to make them go through life this way, after knowing what they were, would be cruel.
Spike and Wills both think they should just suffer with being back to normals for the way they acted with their power; Spike is extra angry on Buffy's behalf.
Buffy points out that she was where they were not so long ago, and she learned from it that she could be strong without the power.
Page 18: Buffy tells Jordan and her team that the reason she wanted to share the power in the first place was that she had felt the burden of being the Chosen ONE, and it was too much. But she doesn't feel that way anymore. But, despite this, she is willing to give all of the new Slayers their powers back.
And to Jordan's shocked excitement that she'll be a Slayer again, warns her that Buffy is the Chosen One and that means that if they misuse the power again, they'll be answering to her.
Commentary: Hm. I'm not exactly happy with Buffy just dumping this power out there again, after we've seen how it can be twisted by girls who just weren't ready for it. It feels irresponsible (and a quick way to go back to the current status quo, which feel lazy), whether she returns these girls' power back or not.
I think I'd have liked to see much more reticence from Buffy about this. And I don't exactly object to Jordan and her girls being re-powered, like Faith, but I think I'd rather it have been on an individual by individual basis and have the impacts of that as a part of Season 12. It'd be interesting to see what Nadira would've done with not having her powers now -- whether it would've made a difference at all, since she's still shepherding the Magic Town Consciousness, anyway.
Yeah, I don't like the handwave to post S-7 status quo with one blanket action, like this.
And, I do still object to Wills being able to strip the Slayer powers and return them with nothing but some meditation and the Scythe.
It's all too easy.
Page 19: Buffy, Willow and the Scythe return the Slayer power to all of the former potentials.
Jordan swears that they'll use it the right way, this time.
Page 20: After Jordan leaves, Spike questions whether Buffy is sure. Both her and Wills were worried anyway about one person having so much power, so Buffy is relieved to not have that powerful temptation on her. But Spike wasn't talking about the Slayer power specifically. He tells Buffy that he was referring to her taking on the responsibilities of the Chosen One again.
He points out that taking responsibility for the world has caused her heartache in the past. It's something Buffy agrees is scary, but she also feels ready, and she points out that she has her family to help her when the burden feels to great.
Page 21: A few nights after returning the power to the world, Buffy and the gang are on their apartment rooftop. Giles has returned, and Faith fills him in on what has happened.
[Giles was in Los Angeles, with his own adventure -- I've got that limited series coming, so it's on the review docket coming up...]
Spike is telling Buffy and Willow that, of course, Harmony hasn't gone back into invisibility. He's flabbergasted that she's gotten an acting gig coming up in a movie.
Buffy asks Wills about Calliope, and Willow confirms that she hasn't returned for her power restore. Willow offers that their life isn't for everyone, and she can't blame the other girl for not wanting the magic and all that goes with it.
Commentary: I'm also not sorry to see Calliope gone. I didn't like her as a romantic interest for Wills. In fact, I've been having a lot of trouble with all of the characters that they've tried to introduce for Willow's love interest. I'm not sure if it's the writers not fleshing out someone adequately, or if I've just got some hurdle when it comes to an original character hooking up with Willow, but nobody has really done it for me.
I think that I could've liked Lake, but now it would just seem way off for her and Willow to rekindle anything at this point.
And I definitely don't want Tara's death undone for the comic!
I would like to see Wills find somebody, but I think she's a special case with me where I'd need it to be a season long build up, with the other character being well established in the gang's orbit before Willow and the character actually fall into a romance.
This instant girlfriend generation the comic has done hasn't worked.
Page 22: We end the season with Buffy and Spike, enjoying each other's company on the rooftop, in each other's arms.
The Good: All of the battle panels against supercharged Joanna Wise. Great work.
I also liked the battle's end, with Joanna having to give the dragon's power back... heh-heh.
I'm glad that Xan and Dawn's filming helped the gang expose the conspiracy without getting themselves into trouble, because I had forgotten their point in being there, actually. It's also a little amusing that the Finns are getting all of the credit.
The Bad: One small nitpick that has bothered me enough now to put here -- The ease of handing out and taking back Slayer powers is annoying after the build up of sharing Buffy's power in S7.
Other Thoughts: I'm a bit so-so on giving Jordan the Slayer power back, but I'm letting it pass. I do have some objection to Buffy returning everyone's powers without a care in the world, though. It felt irresponsible (despite it being filmed as a power moment) doing it the first time around (outside of Sunnydale), and it feels doubly-so here. But I don't dislike it enough to put it in the bad. I'm just... uncomfortable... with returning to this status quo so blithely.
I do continue to really wish that Faith had been given a more prominent role, but that's my hangup.
The Score: I really liked the way this wrapped up with Joanna defeated, the dragon no longer a threat, and the gang happy and together (somehow, including Spuffy!!).
4.25 out of 5