What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer #17! With everything going on in this series right now, I can’t see much argument with a side story which focuses on the introduction of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce in this book. To be honest, I’m actually shocked they decided to introduce him at all considering when he first popped up, so did Faith. Though instead right now we have Kendra instead, and she had a different Watcher of her own before journeying to Sunnydale.
That said, you had to appreciate this story as a whole, because this is the first time we were actually seeing what life was like for Wesley when he was still with the Watcher’s Council. When it came to Wesley himself, there should be a big difference between what you hear and see for yourself. In the Angel series, we got a decent grasp of his situation through an encounter with his father, but that was it. That was family drama in contrast to what we also needed to see from the other Watcher’s Council members too. Though before we get into that, let’s talk about the kind of person Wesley was when he was actually with the Watcher’s Council. The kind of person he was then was a tough pill to swallow for everything which instantly began to click about his experiences. This was Wesley without the confidence in his own actions, the strictness he tried to enforce on others, or the drive to make the hard calls. This was a pushover who did and said whatever he needed to do in order to maintain a position. Sounds depressing, right?
Well, it was. Though with this story, there was obviously going to be some changes for us to get used to. One of the big things you would take notice of is the lack of a tormenting father in Wesley’s past. You know, the guy who made Wesley feel so useless as a Watcher? Now while this didn’t make Wesley’s past as depressing as it could have been, it did steer him down a different road than what we were familiar with. Especially when it came to the job he was given to become an actual Watcher for a Slayer. By the end of this you were still able to ask the same questions about why Wesley, and why someone like him was not better prepared for the challenges he would have to face from the person he was supposed to look after.
Aside from this, it was good that we could follow some of the inner-workings of the Watcher’s Council. For everything that we know about the council, very little time was ever spent showing how they operate. Especially for a council which had never done enough for the Slayers to be as prepared as they needed to be to take on the forces of evil, or protect themselves from it. I would have easily said it was just a case of toxic masculinity in the room, but they did shake things up by showing us just who was running the show. Not what I expected one bit. Though I will say a bold choice which makes sense in the grand scheme of things.
It did kill me to say this, but the interior work for this issue of Buffy was probably the best that the interiors have looked in some time. This is not to say that the regular art team is bad, but I don’t think they are up there in the quality of work that you tend to expect from the Buffy series. Things started off great, but then it was easy to see where things became lacking. Though when I flipped to the first page of this issue? I could see a noticeable step-up in just the pencil work. There was a stronger attention to details, and a lot more going on within these scenes between the characters and settings. The expressiveness of the character was something which stood out to me personally, and I always find this important with such an emotional story. It was also crucial when the main character is one like Wesley who is far from the most calm or collected individual you will run into in the series.
Now I don’t know if this stand-alone entirely changes everything we knew about the Watchers, but it certainly changed a lot that we once knew about Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. Buffy the Vampire Slayer #17 was a solid break from the madness and drama to explore an area of the Buffyverse which was usually neglected in stories past.