What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer #15! Knowing what happened to Buffy, now everything begins to fall into perspective as to what we were missing since the conclusion of Hellmouth. We saw how the team has changed, how their dynamics have changed, how even their relationships have now changed. Things are going to be different now, and that also creates room for this creative team to play around with the new possibilities this offers.
Now with everything we came to now understand about their post-Hellmouth world, it may seem strange that the next issue would center around Buffy and Robin taking a chance on having a relationship. Though I must say that this was the next best step forward to take with these two, Buffy in particular. If there is one thing that we enjoy more than most about this series, it is the exploration of a normal life, versus that of a slayer’s. There’s one thing we know to be consistent, and that is the struggles Buffy faces with finding some semblance of normalcy in her life. How could she not? Now she knows how dangerous it truly is for her and anyone else who accompanies her into that darkness. Xander is dead, and Willow has left to sort herself out after losing someone that close to her. These are not things we even experienced with these characters so early in their histories either. So you have to appreciate the leap this creative team has taken into a world where no one’s safety is assured. It makes it that much harder to take comfort in the finer things in life, like love.
We could see that from the very start of the issue too. It wasn’t enough for Buffy to simply give in to a date with Robin. We needed to see her sweat taking a chance on something that she is not used to right now. To accept the idea of opening your heart to another person is the same as allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Is this really something that either of them are ready for after what they have been through? Which brings us to their first date. I would say that things went how you would imagine, and I’m just speaking of the date itself. If there is one thing we know about Buffy, it is that she doesn’t always know the best expression of her emotions. She’s a teenager, which leaves her prone to self-destruction. All it takes is that one trigger, and it wouldn’t have to be something intentional. For better or for worse, we were seeing her at that point in life where getting back on her two feet was easier said than done.
With that said, of course there had to be something more to this than Buffy and Robin simply trying to have a successful date. There had to be real obstacles that they would face. This did not disappoint despite being able to also say that the way things fell apart was quite convenient. And while you could call it convenient, it wasn’t without a reason too. What was set on the Scooby Gang was clever. Not only for the fight they had to put up on a moment’s notice, but for how the result of said battle left them. Even after this issue, the changes did not stop rolling through.
For this issue, the work from this art team was solid. I wouldn’t say that they matched the emotion poured into the visuals we got last week, but the effort was there to capture everything that was supposed to be tense about Buffy taking a chance on love. The expressions, reactions, and responses from these characters were organic and that is what you look for above all else. I could believe the anxiety Buffy was feeling, the self-doubt, the guilt. All the things that would drive her to visibly be so distant from someone who she was trying to open herself up to. The same way that we could see the stress written on Robin’s face as someone who was trying to walk on eggshells to be there for someone who was looking for any reason to run away from her feelings. Where things stepped up was where the action hit. The action was smooth, the colors popped, and the transitions from panel to panel were on point. Everything happened so fast, and they didn’t cut corners to get us through it.
Another solid issue after the events of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #15. You would think that the Hellmouth was the worst of the worst that these guys would have to deal with right now, and then you would be wrong. That was just the prelude to much more that Buffy and company would have to deal with. The big question is how they will overcome this with the odds stacked against them so high.