Issue 3 of Season 11 is all about fallout, from both the aftermath of the attack and the aftermath of the decisions made in its wake. Things that were decided on by the US government in the previous issue are now being enforced. It seems like there’s almost no time between the making of the decision and the enforcing of it, but it also feels like that’s the point.
Each of the Scoobies have to take a test to see if they’re human or if they pass for human enough to stay at home. Those with demonic, magical or vampiric tendencies have to go to the Safe Zone. While the Safe Zone sounds super nicely phrased it feels pretty much the same as the Japanese Internment Camps of the late ‘40s—a period of America’s history that’s obviously ugly, but worth revisiting as a concept when the time is right. And I’d say the timing’s right.
This is not the most comfortable issue of Buffy and I have no doubt that it won’t be the most comfortable season. In some ways, that’s a good thing because the series should always be reflective of the time and because Season 10 kind of was the most comfortable season. It had stakes, sure, but they were relatively tame compared to most of what the gang has been through in the past.
I love that basically the entire issue is devoted to the gang looking out for one another. Everyone’s worried about their status, but really, they’re worried about each other. In fact, it’s kind of refreshing that everyone does a lot of worrying about Spike. I’m not sure anything shows how much he’s grown and made up for the way he used to be than that.
Don’t worry, though. It’s not all talk. When people come to enforce the government’s decisions, there’s plenty of action. But it’s all action that still ends rather peacefully for reasons that are entirely just. Nobody wants another disaster. Buffy and Co. have to be careful of every fight they get themselves into, because the whole world is watching them now and waiting for them to screw up.
There’s a huge reveal at the end of the issue about the Safe Zone that I probably really should have seen coming, but I didn’t. I was glad for the surprise. But I’m absolutely not going to spoil it for anyone. You’ll just have to wait and see for yourself when you pick up the comic.
Rebekah Isaac’s art kind of needs no introduction at this point. She knows these characters. It’s not always about likeness for her, it’s about character, and she always portrays these characters well and with the respect—or occasionally lack thereof—that the scene merits.
This season of Buffy will be much shorter, but it’s proving to be worth it. So far, I still think the idea is great, the stakes hit home and there are opportunities to shake up the characterization that we haven’t seen in years. Fans won’t want to miss this.
WICKED RATING: 8/10