What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer #21! A bit shocked, because I didn’t think I would still be here reading another new issue of Buffy. As I’ve said before, this book hasn’t quite captivated me the same way that the Dark Horse series was able to. There’s just this lack of impact that the story and art has had on me, which surprisingly still I’m here hoping will change. It’s not as if I was expecting one of the more standalone issues like this one would change that entirely, but sometimes it’s the little things which can keep you coming back.
One thing I found refreshing was how this creative team once again explored the problematic existence and interference of the Watcher’s Council. Not enough time is ever spent emphasizing how much of an issue it is for them to have as much control in the affairs of a Slayer and their Guardian as they do. Following Anya through her secret connection to the Watcher’s Council was the perfect opportunity to shake things up where they easily could have been seen as playing it safe before with Wesley. Through the perspective of Anya and her Slayer, we got a good grasp of a key event which in turn made sense of where she finds herself in the present. One doesn’t simply live as long as she has and not seen enough to justify not entirely being on the side of angels.
At the same time, you have to give credit where it is due because this series has broken new ground by by introducing us to the Slayer who came before Buffy. It’s funny that they did this, since sometimes it is easy to forget that we don’t know the identity of said Slayer. Neither were we really aware of how exactly this Slayer met their end. This was a great time to fill in those blanks for the fact that this Slayer challenges a lot which Buffy would also inevitably deal with in her future.
The best takeaway from this issue was how it began to make sense of what’s unfolding in the present. You get so wrapped up in the discoveries that you might overlook the fact that we are seeing exactly the kind of person who we are dealing with who is going after the Watchers and such. This type of revelation makes this story a big step-up from Wesley’s story considering the direct impact of what we are learning. It’s one thing to see the inner workings of the Watcher’s Council through the eyes of one of their most loyal. Though it is another thing entirely to see things from the view of someone who has been on the wrong end of their dealings. Now we know why what’s happening now is possible.
Now what I loved most from this issue of Buffy was the quality of the interior art. As I have mentioned before, what has been lacking from this series in contrast to what Dark Horse offered was the quality art which captivated you with each passing issue. I hate to be that guy, but the art for this book has been okay at best, and at it’s worst? Inconsistent. This was definitely one of those issues where that was not a problem at all. You saw clarity in the art, you saw familiarity in the characters, the personality put into the characters was stronger than it was before, there was even more atmosphere created from the colors. When it comes to books like Buffy? Quality matters. And I certainly enjoyed the use of perspective used throughout the issue to emphasize key moments. Especially when it came to the feelings which Anya has towards the Watcher’s Council, and towards matters which involving the protection of Slayers.
Overall, I was happy to say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer #21 was one of those rare issues from this series which genuinely left me wanting to see more. Though that is only if the plot continues to play to the strengths of untold stories, and we maintain the visual appeal we have received from this particular art team.