What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer #22! If there was ever the issue that someone needed to feel their interested piqued again, then that was what we got out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #21. That was a very satisfying issue for the story they decided to tell by pulling back the curtains on just who this slayer was who came before Buffy. Not to mention delivering to us a secret origin to Anya which allowed us to see her in a much different light. For once I was really looking forward to what came next after that treat.
Now off the bat, I enjoyed how we kicked things off with Buffy the Vampire Slayer #22. When you experience issues like the one we had before, it only makes sense to jump back into the main story making sure that everyone is on the same page about what is ongoing. As in the current situation with Willow struggling to get her friend back. Xander continuing on this dark path of his manipulating things from the shadows. Where Buffy finds herself emotionally and mentally. All important things which we all needed to have fresh in our minds before the plot once more thickened. This was also a good way to jump back into the story for anyone who has felt like there hasn’t been enough focus for where we are in the book right now. Because up to this point it did feel as though we were getting pulled in too many directions, and getting too little progress.
One thing which has been refreshing lately about the storytelling is the difference in how these slayers now interact. I mean who would have thought that we would be following a story where there are not two, but three active slayers and kicking ass together? And let’s not stop just there. We’re talking about three slayers working together and somehow on the same side of the fight. For the most part that is. Obviously things aren’t perfect, but we can all take a second to remember what it was like when Faith first came to town in the tv series. There wasn’t anything good about how that started, or how it ended. Compared to that? This is a big step up if you ask me. They’re not entirely getting each other’s way or getting too crazy about fighting over the right way to do things. For some of us longtime fans this is surprising. It’s good that the newer generation gets to jump into a version of this world where a lot of that drama for the sake of it is left at the door. All which still remains is what hasn’t been resolved from recent events. You’re not going to simply forget the mistakes which Buffy has made, or anyone else.
At the same time, you might find it refreshing and new that with three slayers in one place means there are three active watchers as well. It was an interesting scene shared between Giles, Robin, and Wesley for the differences you could see in how watchers are viewed. With Giles and Robin, you have an approach that is more engaging and considerate. Though with the inclusion of Wesley you now have someone who is closer to the Watchers Council and thinks the same problematic things they do about how to handle a slayer. This part right here was very important since it continued to add clarity to why Anya and Morgan would be so ready and willing to kill the watchers as a whole. By the end of the issue I found myself loving Giles as a character all over again. The issues before have honestly lacked in giving us a reason to care for Giles the way we would have wanted, and now he was given a redeeming moment. It matters to have that one panel or two where he actually proves that he has Buffy’s best interest in mind.
That said, like the issue previous, I’m still enjoying the artwork that this book now gives us. Not as stunning as the artist for that specific issue, but there was improvement which is the best takeaway. When it comes to a book like Buffy, a lot of the time the quality of the artwork really does matter. Not to say it has been bad in the past, though certainly not up to part the way you would have liked. Especially when it came to how the style changed up after the very first story arc. Where we are now with this art team is much more favorable since they are more capable of also bringing familiarity to these characters. I’m always going to make likeness a key factor in the success of the art because you should consistently feel like you are seeing that same Buffy, or that same Giles. It makes all the difference when you experience some of the more engaging scenes that we did between the two of them in this issue. The personality and character put into them did not disappoint one bit. Neither did the color work too. The astral walking aside, the colors were fairly tame, yet just right for most of what was down to earth about this story.
In the end, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #22 turned out to be one of the better issues, and gives me more hope for what comes next.