Writers: Jordie Bellaire, Artwork: David López & Raúl Angulo, Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: Marc Aspinall
Page 01: We open with Robin Wood outside, cleaning gutters and complaining to himself about it. In fact, he's complaining in general to himself about how all of the mundane things he's doing are irrelevent right now.
Page 02: Robin is on a ladder, and he's stretching a little to far and the ladder tips, taking down onto the ground.
He's helped up by his mystery visitor from last issue. She tells him he should be more careful, while he complains that it was the ladder's fault. Our visitor calls him 'Mr. Wood', which rankles him since he's probably younger than she is.
She tells him she'd just trying to be respectful, since he's her Watcher. He's not crazy about that situation, either.
Commentary: Yeah, her presence is really opening some cans, here. There is an implication going on that this girl is probably Kendra. Which makes her arrival and implied Slayer-powers having complicated since we've gotten no impression that Buffy has died at some point in the past.
The only thing I can come up with is that Buffy's vanishing from this dimension (into the Hellmouth) was enough to register the next Chosen to be called up. It still makes zero sense for her to be assigned under Robin's watch. It makes less sense in this verse's context for Rupert to be left in the dark that a replacement Slayer has arrived. It makes no sense that on taking one look at the high school student, that Kendra wouldn't go to Giles herself for help in understanding how she can help, now that she's there. I am okay with her being, apparently, accent-less.
Page 03: After she helps him with his gutter problem with a well-placed stone throw, she demands that he get to the part where he trains and guides her in being The Slayer. This, despite that it must be clear he's not ready for this type of reponsibility (Council of Idiots: How did this seem reasonable?), and his insistence that Buffy is still the resident Slayer and she has a Watcher already.
Page 04: In another part of Sunnydale, Cordelia Chase (who I didn't recognize, but we get her name in a bit) is on her way to school. She posts that the town is looking like a post-apocalypse movie set. But there is a bird in a next on the splintered end of a broken pole, and that makes her happy.
As she walks by with a smile, on the other side of the pole, a snake winds its way up toward the nestling.
Page 05: While Cordy is walking by a house, she hears someone shout for help. Someone claims to have tripped over one of the large cracks created lately, and now can't get up.
She goes to their aid, but it's a fake distress call. The shouter of needing help is actually the creepy kid on the computer, that was stalking his fellow students. He snatches up Cordelia and tosses her down a flight of stairs into a cellar, before closing the cellar doors on her.
Page 06: In the school library, Robin is waiting when Rupert Giles only barely makes it in on time to work, complaining about traffic.
He's brought up short by Robin waiting, and isn't in the mood to deal with wayward students who should be in class.
Page 07: Giles' already bad mood is exacerbated by Robin's not doing as he's told and getting to class.
Both of them are also oddly sweating, like they're in a furnace room.
Robin is there to get assistance with this new Slayer, but he never gets the chance to bring it up, because Giles is raging like an angry bull at the young man for being a hindrance to he and Buffy's responsibilities.
Commentary: I can't stand this page. It's a lot of fury for no reason, except to stop logical information sharing from occurring. See my previous complaint about Kendra(?) not going to Giles and the Council not informing the Hellmouth's Watcher that a new Slayer was activated and would be taking control of the Sunnydale situation.
Page 08: Willow and Xander enter the library into the midst of this downright fight between Robin and Giles. They're there because student Sandy is still missing, and Robin was the last to see her. But also, because Willow is finding it strange that Cordy's last post had her on her way to school, but nobody's seen her and her plus, her postings have just as suddenly stopped. And she's a posting addict, so....
Giles agrees with them that this is strange, and asks them to keep him updated but for now to return to classes as normal.
Page 09: With Willow and Xander back to pretending Sunnydale isn't falling apart, Giles once again dismisses Buffy, and grows angry again when Robin accusses Giles of not sharing what he knows about Buffy's disappearance and his general lack of help in their current situation. He finally leaves.
Page 10: Robin catches up with Willow and Xander to ask how concerned they are about Cordy's silence.
He also asks after Buffy, who he hasn't seen since the dance, along with the missing Sandy. Xander implies that he's miffed at Robin for even being at the dance with Sandy, over Buffy, and that he's still wondering what happened to her since Robin was the last one to see Sandy alive.
Robin is still on anger-overload from the confrontation with Rupert, and turns on Willow and Xander for always trying to make everything Buffy's problem, instead of being out there and trying to help.
He shouts at them that Buffy isn't there to take care of them, and they should get comfortable with the fact that they don't know if she'll be returning. But, though they can't know it, since he doesn't share any information about the new arrival in town, it sounds a lot like Robin is actually shouting at himself over his own hesitancy in taking on the responsibility of Watcher.
Commentary: Ugh. This scripting is pretty awkward, and these angry confrontations feel like page-filler. Nobody seems to be doing anything about nuthin'. Except sweatily shouting a lot.
Page 11: After Robin again storms off without accomplishing anything, Willow and Xander discuss how moody everyone has been, including telling each other that each has also been off lately. Xander puts anything Willow noticed about him down to being a vampire, now.
Willow breaks the news to Xander that she and Rose broke up.
He tries to be supportive. She's just annoyed, especially when he offers to make sure that Rose is doing okay.
Page 12: With Rose, she's in dumpy-town over the recent breakup. When she spots Willow and Xander together, she ducks behind a tree to avoid them.
Page 13: Rose had hoped that her father could meet Willow, since she hasn't come out to him yet, and he's coming into town. But despite the current upset, she's feeling pretty good about at least having some solid roots, where before they moved to Sunnydale, they travelled a lot with her dad.
Page 14: Rose stops by Luke's place on the way home, who will turn out to be stalker-kid.
Page 15: She notices the state of the house, and calls out to him worried if he's been alright since he's missed school, too.
She starts up the stairs to see if he's in his room, but hears a thump coming from the basement, and goes to investigate.
Page 16: She finds Cordelia, bound and gagged on a mattress.
Page 17: As she struggles to get her freed, Cordelia tries to warn her about Luke's coming up behind her.
Luke hits Rose over the head, and though stunned, she remains conscious. He rails at her for now seeing too much, so even though he always liked her, he'll have to keep her in the basement, as well.
Page 18: Cordelia is able to get to her feet, those having been unbound by Rose before Luke's attack on her. She rushes the kid, knocking him into a shelf.
This gets Luke raging over sluts thinking they're too good for the likes of him, yadda-yadda.
He grabs a hammer from a toolbox.
But in the meantime, Rose has recovered enough to grab a pair of garden shears.
Page 19: Luke screams at Rose that she's ruining everything, and he'll make her pay. She warns him back to stay away, or she'll use the garden shears on him. He's not cowed, calling both her and Cordy stick-thin girls.
Cordelia doesn't help anything by calling him a whiner and loser.
This takes Luke's focus off Rose, though. And he turns his back to her so he can bash Cordelia in the head with the hammer. Fortunately, Rose doesn't stand frozen, and saves Cordy by putting those shears to use. She stabs Luke in the back, while Cordelia uses a two-hand punch to knock him back to the floor.
Commentary: Okay. I like Rose and Cordelia fighting back against this creepy boy, and it's just more signs of the Hellmouth turning people crazy, but none of this feels like it mattered. Why aren't we spending time with a Scooby Gang trying to hold things together (instead of going to class and complaining about going to class), and worrying a LOT more over Buffy's not showing up?
Page 20: Luke is left lying on the ground, gardening shears through his back. Cordelia isn't that much worse for wear, as she complains about Rose's lacklustre rescue. Rose tells her that anyone bothered to be there at all, since she had only stopped by to drop off homework for Luke since he'd missed school.
Page 21: Luke comes to, now completely crazed, if he wasn't before. He trips up Rose by the ankle and tells both girls that they're going to have so much fun together, implying rapey times are in the offing.
Thankfully, intervention comes from off-panel by way of a flying brick to Luke's forehead.
Both girls immediately assume that it's Buffy to their rescue (though they were doing fine, and Luke has a pair of shears through the back -- I really think they'd have handled their own escape).
Page 22: Of course, it isn't Buffy. It's Kendra and Robin, and Kendra introduces herself as the New Slayer. She tells them that it's past time to get to work on the Hellmouth problem.
Commentary: And, I'm thinking that this could be an interesting dynamic if Buffy returns, and Kendra doesn't go anywhere and we have competing Scoobies with Buffy, Giles, Xander and Willow clashing/cooperating depending on shifting priorities with the secondary group of Kendra, Robin, Rose and Cordelia.
Toss in Spike as a wild card when Dru finds out he helped against her "release The First" plans, and Jenny as she wants to continue to assist where she can, despite the breakup with Rupert.
I'd like to see that developed.
The Good: I liked Rose actually having something to do that doesn't involve Willow. And I found pairing her up to take on a psychotic bully with Cordelia Chase to be fun.
The Bad: The entire Giles/Robin confrontation was meaningless, since they weren't fighting over what they should've been fighting about: A new Slayer trying to take Buffy's place, Giles' experience and natural inclination to take over supervising Kendra, when the Council had assigned that task to Robin (ridiculous though that may be), and an argument over sending Kendra off to the Hellmouth after Buffy when Robin's priority is protecting people while Buffy's gone. None of their argument actually makes sense with the things that are happening right now.
Other Thoughts: The entire situation with Kenda and Robin is really awkwardly approached, and doesn't follow any type of logic on Council's end of things.
I really hope that Cordy's abduction, Rose's stabbing a boy through the back, and both of them being threatened with some sex slavery psycho fantasy isn't just forgotten now. Especially, I'd hope to see some emotional impact on Rose.
I am interested in what they'll do with Robin & Kendra after Buffy makes her return, but I'm also worried. I think in general, I'm just not a huge fan of Jordie's approach to writing these characters and plot developements.
The Score: 3.0 out of 5 stars