What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer #18! Some might say that it was strange that we would break off to do an issue focused on the origins of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, but a breather from the madness which is currently unfolding is nothing to overlook. Especially when you’re getting a story which adds to the history of a character we didn’t get to know enough about pre-Sunnydale. Now we’re back into the thick of a situation which seems like it will only get worse, before it gets better.
Though before we get into that, there has been one thing which bugged me, which was even harder to shake with this issue. It felt a bit off how soon and suddenly it was that Willow made her way back to Sunnydale. We know that she left to sort through her feelings, and we know that there’s an actual book out right now exploring what the experience was like for Willow trying to sort through those feelings. However, that book hasn’t given us the answer yet, and here we are with Willow back and ready for action. It just leaves you feeling like you missed something. Which doesn’t change either when you go from her visiting Rose in the hospital to waking up the next day to do team exercises with the rest of the team. It’s okay to put your foot on the brakes to ease into something which is important to a major character like Willow.
Now this isn’t to say that they didn’t try to build some resolution to the situation that sparked when Willow suddenly without a farewell. There’s just no way to move forward if there is no conversation to be had between Willow and Buffy. However, you would think that a conversation would be the priority scene, instead of jumping right into team exercises.
Aside from this, it looked like a lot of things happened since the events of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #16. One would think that in this issue we would quickly follow-up with what happened after the end of the previous issue, yet here we are with what seems like a fair amount of time which passed from that point. Either that or again we are dealing with a situation where the pacing is just off. There wasn’t actually a conflict brewing between Buffy and Kendra, nor one to see where there was a conflict coming to a head.
The best takeaway from this issue was seeing just how far gone this version of Xander was. It’s one thing to say that Xander has turned into the big bad, but at the end of the day? This is still the same guy who really couldn’t hurt a fly if it wasn’t a demon. They needed to give us a little to see that he is someone who needs to be stopped, or someone that is convincing enough as a threat. Fortunately, that much we were able to see from his interactions with Ms. Calender. We understand that danger she is in with him, and we understand the danger which everyone else faces when Xander knows their personal lives. In other wards, having he right knowledge to make a situation personal.
At the very least, the art was solid work. Both cover and interior art was just enough to keep your attention from start to finish. For this issue in particular there was a lot of catching up to do with these characters. Which in turn meant that this was an issue where most of the elements of emotion and drama would take priority. So it mattered flipping through these pages and getting that engagement from these characters and with each other. This didn’t make it any less awkward considering the pacing of the story, but you could be convinced of what these characters are experiencing in this moment. Mainly when it came to them just being normal around each other. Aside from this, it was interesting seeing more of the villainous side of Xander captured. And I’m not going to lie, visually it was like looking at a new character. Not in a bad way, but it was good to see him in a different light, even if it was angrier and violent.
What came of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #18 was a hard sell this month. There were things we needed to see from this story, and sadly that was not delivered. Not in the way that it should or could have been.