Boom!Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Writer: Jordie Bellaire, Artwork: Ramon Bachs & Raúl Angulo, Lettering: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: David López
Page 01: We open on a voiceover stating that while Sunnydale made it through the Hellmouth, and people think they can just return to their mundane, mortal lives - they know the truth. Many of them saw a violent darkness within themselves.
Our speaker is a robed-one... y'know the type. He's speaking to an audience of other robed-ones.
Page 02: Our speaker goes on to tell the gathered that the darkness in them is their only hope, and their strength. Just like it is for themselves. He hypes up the crowd ... filled with demons and vampires... that they are not blind to the strength that the darkness gives. He reminds them how they've always been the outcasts and the shunned. He promises they won't forget their tormentors.
Page 03: Our sermon-speaker tells the gathered that the mortals are too complacent and comfortable, but they know better than to become like them. The speaker - with fangs, so probably a vampire - focuses on a child in the back of the room. He tells Edera that they'll make them suffer - they'll break them because life is short and brutal.
Commentary: Blah, blah - bad guy pontificating. But, I was left with a bad feeling about this scene, because they've gone out of their way to not reveal the face of the sermon-giver. I suspected who it may be, but I also thought maybe it could be Dru, not lost in the lake as promised - or it was the Hellmother, having made her escape somehow.
Page 04: Meanwhile, Buffy is a nervous wreck as she rushes to meet up with Robin. She calls him too cute for her, and though she tries to pep talk herself that she's great and he should be nervous, it doesn't really work.
Page 05: Buffy has met Robin for their first, official, real date. And he's chosen the Sunnydale Botanical Gardens, where they're having a special 'terrarium date night'. Buffy is less than enthused by this weird choice, but she's game.
Page 06: But she's not the only one who is going to create their very own terrarium at the Gardens. Rose and Kendra has also shown up. Robin offers that he and Buffy don't have to stay, since a) he's feeling a bit dumb now bringing her here for their first date because of her initial reaction, and b) he feels like it may be super-awkward with Kendra there after his less than stellar job as Watcher.
Buffy refuses, stating that they were there first, so Kendra can leave if she wants.
Page 07: She gives him a big kiss. He sly-eyes at her that she doesn't even know what a terrarium is, does she? She tells him to shut up.
Page 08: Robin is into the whole 'create a terrarium' thing going on, but Buffy only has eyes for how jokey and flirty Rose and Kendra are being with each other. He reminds her that Rose and Willow weren't married, and she accuses him of thinking if this date doesn't go well, he'll just move onto the next Slayer that comes along.
Commentary: Uh. Okay, Buffy -- you've got a problem with this dating thing right off with your non-sequitor accusations. And Robin is trying so hard to be charming and funny, too. Give the guy a break.
Also -- BUTT OUT; Willow broke up with Rose and then left the country. I think she's allowed to ... and you don't even know if this is a romantic date, yet -- see people-who-aren't-Willow. You're being ridiculous. And you're not even trying to embrace this, admittedly odd, plant project.
Page 09: Robin tries to keep the date on track, but Buffy is getting belligerant, and isn't even trying to have fun with it. She decides that she has to go, starting to cry to herself. But as she goes to storm out, obviously an emotionally unstable wreck these days, a vine comes along the floor and wraps around her ankle.
Commentary: I kinda like the idea here that Buffy is not quippy-forgetty about the Hellmouth, and Xander's loss and Willow's bailing and all. But I'm not crazy about the way it's being handled dialog-wise - especially since Buffy could easily tell Robin that she's having trouble still, since he has his own trauma over how he acted due to the opening Hellmouth's influence/mind control. She's acting more schizo, than troubled. And I'm kinda missing the real Rupert Giles, too. He'd have checked in with Buffy and sized up her emotional turmoil without her ever having to tell him. It feels like our resident Watcher only half-pays-attention to the two Slayers he's supposed to be shepherding.
Page 10: Buffy is yanked off of her feet, but as Robin jumps up to her aid, he too is manhandled by a vine from nowhere. In fact, all of the Botanical Garden's visitors are suddenly wrapped up in vines.
Kendra rushes Rose down, barely ducking an attacking thorny vine.
Page 11: Buffy warns Robin that this'll hurt the next day, but she jumps kick him from across the room in order to break him free of the vines that had ahold of him. She instructs him to get the civilians out of the building. In the meantime, Buffy and Kendra each grab a small hand-spade to melee fight off the attackers. Rose asks where they're all coming from, which is a good question.
Page 12: Buffy spots Edera, and thinks that the kid is a fellow victim. She rushes to protect him? Kendra tries to stop her, intuiting that the vines aren't attacking the brat, but before she can articulate what she suspects, Edera takes on the form of a giant plant-fiber hulk. He tells her that she's forgetting her recent suffering too quickly and offers to provide a reminder. Buffy gets punched.
Kendra offers to Buffy that she's got this, as she recognizes the Edera demon, who is common in Jamaica. In the meantime, Rose shouts to Kendra and throws a real shovel in her direction - which will be much better than the tiny hand-shovel.
Commentary: I liked this part. I like that Kendra isn't going to be off-screen all of the time for Buffy, and I like that her previous experiences are going to come into play while in Sunnydale.
Page 13: Edera comments on their being two Slayers, as Kendra goes on the attack. But then Buffy interrupts her, blocking Kendra's strike at the demon. She shouts at Kendra that they can't kill the boy, as he's possessed and she's seen that before. Kendra insists that 'the kid' is a demon-trick. Buffy shouts at her that she's in charge in Sunnydale.
Page 14: While Buffy and Kendra are fighting over who is right and between restraining the boy for an exorcism or simply killing him because he's a demon - Edera is busy impaling Rose [who should really learn how to run away more] through the back!
Page 15: Kendra, having snatched her shovel back from Buffy's grasp, throws it like a spear and catches Edera in the chest. The demon mists out.
She rushes to the fallen Rose, who has been speared through the shoulder and tells her she needs to keep her eyes open. In the meantime, Buffy tries to apologize for not listening, but Kendra rages at her for wanting to do everything herself. She, through her tears of rage and fear for Rose, shouts at her to get out.
Page 16: A short time later, Rose is being loaded aboard an ambulance. Robin asks Buffy if she's okay, and she honestly replies she's not. She tells him that she's not sure if Rose is going to make it.
In the meantime, Kendra has been joined at the ambulance by Giles. She's angrily pointing at Buffy, no doubt telling him all about having had the situation under control, until the Sunnydale Slayer interfered.
Commentary: There are a few things I like with this issue. One is how Rose is being integrated further into the Scooby Gang [even though there isn't really one happening right now], first through her friendship with Cordelia and now her possible-relationship with Kendra. And two, I'm liking the conflict between Buffy and Kendra and how Rupert is stuck trying to mediate between two Slayers who are not supposed to be working together.
I would like to see a new, not-teenager-out-of-his-depth Watcher take over for Kendra, though. I think it would be interesting if Sam was ordered to Sunnydale and Giles had to find common ground when he's supposed to be the Watcher on duty, while Buffy is trying to work out her issues with Kendra's presence. And it would allow for times when Kendra and Sam are sent off on missions outside of Sunnydale, and a way to emphasize to Buffy that she's kinda stuck because she is the official Hellmouth guardian.
Adding another Watcher to the mix could really open up the storytelling. Especially as a way of contrasting Giles and Zabuto working together like adults, even when they're disagreeing with Buffy and Kendra acting out like teenagers who can't get along, even when they're otherwise on the same page.
Page 17: Robin tries to tell Buffy not to beat herself up about something that hasn't happened, but Buffy is in full-blown self-blaming mode about her screw up. She points out that the one thing that she is supposed to be good at is protecting the innocent, and killing the bad guys. And she failed at both.
Robin tries again, but Buffy refuses to listen to him because 'as a normal guy', he can't understand.
Page 18: Robin follows Buffy, even though she's trying to march away. He asks why she keeps pushing him away, when he's trying to help her and accuses her of having a martyr complex. He suggests that if not him, then Kendra would know exactly what she's feeling and thinking, but Buffy tells him that she can't talk to her, because she just doesn't like her.
He tells her that she doesn't like herself, and she sees too much of her in Kendra for her liking. She snits at him to stop lecturing her.
He asks if she spent all of her time pushing away Willow and Xander, too. She replies that they're both gone, so what difference does that make now? He asks back whether she had loved Xan, and she [rightly] wonders why he'd even ask something like that.
Commentary: I was fully onboard with Robin's critique, until he asked out of nowhere if Buffy had a thing with Xander. First, that isn't any of his business because whatever feeling she may've had didn't develop into anything - and even if it could've - it can't now. And two, because it sounded like a tacky question to ask that pulled focus off of what he was trying to accomplish, and that was to get Buffy to realize that there are people in her life right now who are trying to be there for her, if she'd get over herself for a minute and recognize that she isn't completely alone, or as misunderstood as she's trying to tell herself that she is.
This weird detour was a misstep by Jordie.
Page 19: Robin gives up and walks home, tossing over his shoulder that he really does like her but he wishes that she'd like herself.
Buffy is left to cry to herself and saying out loud that she wishes that she liked herself, too.
Page 20: Elsewhere, on a large bed are two vampire women fawning over their 'master'... a title that the guy on the bed asks them to not use. He wishes that they'd use his name.
Page 21: A little imp rushes into the room, interrupting to tell 'master' that Edera had returned and reports that he'd driven a wedge between the Slayers [Edera is taking way too much credit].
Imp also reports that Rose was injured, and poisoned. He cries that she may not make it, and asks if his master is pleased with the news.
Page 22: 'Master' says that he is most definitely pleased... and it is, of course, Vampire!Xander Harris standing there with the vampire ladies clinging to him.
Commentary: I knew it was too good to be true, that he was just dead & gone. Of course, he'd be back. But couldn't they have waited a full year or so before he made his mysterious return? Was this necessary? I think not. I'm annoyed.
The Good: I like the continuing problems between Kendra and Buffy because they shouldn't be in the same time/place together, so it makes sense that they can't get along. And I like that Kendra isn't going to be replaced by Faith so quickly. I hope that they keep her around for quite awhile and force Buffy to deal with a not-twisted Slayer.
In general, I liked the Robin/Buffy stuff.
The Bad: I'm generally against 'back from the dead' plots. And I find it super-annoying that Xander's hardly had time to be gone.
Other Thoughts: I'm not against Rose/Kendra, if that is what is being set up, but I could also buy them just being good friends. It does feel like Rose/Kendra would be coming awfully fast without adequate setup, though.
Even though I'm generally supportive of Buffy/Robin, I'm also not really invested in it. I'm having a hard time seeing them as actually building on anything. Buffy especially feels like she's not as into it as she's trying to be. I don't know if that's deliberate in the writing.
The entire Edera/plant attack was bizarre. The entire date making a terrarium was a bizarre choice as a setup for the attack, and I found myself rolling my eyes just a little bit that Kendra & Rose would also be really into plants as much as Robin so they could all be there together.
The strained way that Xander's face was kept so hidden - and thereby pointing to the fact that it would be him - undercut the revelation that was meant to shock. That needed a more deft handling, so the final image could induce a gasp of surprise. It was just too telegraphed by those clumsy panels.
The Score: There were some good things. There were a lot of clumsy things. Edera felt underwhelming, and Xan's return from ash was too telegraphed to work - and is unnecessary and too soon, if we just had to do this.
3.0 out of 5 stars