Prepping For The Final Stage: Reviewing ‘Buffy The Last Vampire Slayer’ #3
by Scott Redmond
With only one issue to go, Buffy’s dark future adventure begins to set up a lot of the pieces of past and present in order to prepare the slayer and friends for their final big confrontation. There is so much left to explore in this world, which speaks to just how well it’s been built and cared for by the amazing creative team.
Much like with television or even movie franchises, stories in comic books vary in how long a particular series or story might go on. Some are forever ongoing and will run till the end of days, while others are shorter and to the point and others somewhere in the middle. Mini-series/limited series are a great way to get in and tell a quick story that has a beginning, middle and end that wraps up within a few months generally.
One of the downsides of such a short format is it can sometimes feel like too much is being shoved into this box whose size was previously pre-determined.
Buffy The Last Vampire Slayer is a truly fun and character-rich book that plays off the things that are known and loved about the franchise while doing a ton of stuff that takes it far beyond its status quo. That is all continued here, and it doesn’t lose any of its charm while moving the plot forward. At the same time, there does feel like there might be a bit much that is happening almost rapid-fire within this issue.
That being said, Casey Gilly handles it well and nails the moments between the characters solidly. It might feel like there is a ton going on that might not get all the spotlight it might have in a longer-form series, but none of it feels neglected or out of place. Being that they are facing a situation that threatens the whole world (pretty usual for Buffy and company) things being frantic and bouncing around also doesn’t feel out of place in context.
This is a world that I would love to see developed more and given even more space to grow beyond this story, as it feels like Gilly hasn’t even scratched the surface with what happened over all these years and there is only one issue left. Once the reshuffling of this franchise kicks off later this spring, there surely could be room for this creative team to do even more with this future-set world.
That same loving energy brought to the writing side is clear within the artwork as usual, as Joe Jaro and Joana Lafuente give the book visual life. There is a weight to this world and the inherent sadness mixed with hope and aging characters is not just seen but felt through the pages. The same dynamic energy can be felt whether the pages are more character talking pages or the really smooth fight scenes that we get through the issue.
Out of a ton of great pages, one that was really awesome had like pieces of shattered glass showcasing Buffy at different times as the witch Charlie tried to find out what was wrong with the slayer’s powers.
Pages feel warm or cold depending on the location but also the coloring that Lafuente employs that brings together the lights and darks seamlessly in a somewhat muted but still bright style. Even though it’s the same style and palettes, there is a notable difference between say the sewer portions and when Buffy goes back to see Anya, the lighting and feel of the world visible changes.
There is a lot of dialogue presented here as the characters have to talk through many things, and Ed Dukenshire makes sure it never feels overwhelming. It flows through the pages and has the right sort of personality for the characters and world. Still love the little touches like changing the color and style of bubbles for vampires and demons when they change forms, like when Spike vamps out briefly and curses what happened to Willow and Tara.
Buffy The Last Vampire Slayer #3 is now on sale in print and digitally from Boom Studios.