Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #2
Writer Christos Gage has done it again with this new run. He does an amazing job of making these well-known characters and their challenges relevant to today’s concerns. Instead of having them refight old battles, he’s putting them in involving situations that the reader can find scary in deep, substantial, mature ways.
In the previous issue, a dragon attacked San Francisco, causing terrible destruction and loss of life. This issue explores the government response — which includes forced registration for supernatural beings, over-broad laws against powers, and the fear of internment camps. Even more terrifying are the hateful responses of scared humans, beating up those different than them when they can outnumber them, and trying to burn witches.
Artist Rebekah Isaacs does a terrific job, as always, keeping the characters familiar-looking but vibrant and expressive. This issue has a lot of dialogue, as characters make speeches about what side they’re on and what they’re concerned might happen, and she works around it without it becoming overwhelming visually.
One character makes a compelling case about leaving the country while they can. Another struggles with whether to accept government recruitment as a pet to keep the peace. Events spiral rapidly into situations that would have previously been unthinkable.
Buffy is escapist entertainment, a franchise extension. But in this case, it was comforting to see favorite characters struggle with some of the same concerns I have about some of the scarier policies our government-to-be has promoted, about tracking and incarcerating those in a group some are fearful of. The approach here isn’t subtle, but I enjoyed seeing others speak out, even if they’re fictional monsters and superheroes, and it’s reassuring seeing them fight to protect others from stupid, vengeful mobs. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)