Another comic book season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has officially ended—although the blow is somewhat lessened by the fact that we only have to wait until November for the new season to start. Even still, this feels as much like a finale as the closers to any given season of the television show. It wraps up all of the major themes that have been present throughout Season 10. Most character arcs are resolved, while at the same time a new direction for each character is made quite clear.
Again, this is important, with Season 11 being right around the corner. The issue also opens in the middle of a major dramatic sequence, as the previous issue ended on a huge cliffhanger with Buffy and crew facing off against D’Hoffryn and his magic clone of Anya, who had apparently just killed Xander.
I’ve heard from several people who stopped reading the comic right then. They simply would not take a single step forward if Xander was dead. And I tried to explain that they should really wait until the finale to see if he was really dead or not. But so many fans were so sure. They had already made up their minds. Well, buckle up, folks. It’s spoiler alert time.
Of course, Xander’s not dead. I knew this even when I was trying to tell readers that they should give the comic the benefit of the doubt, because if you’re going to kill a character as beloved as Xander, you’re not going to do it on a cliffhanger like that. It’s going to be emotional and it’s going to be earned. In fact, not only is Xander not dead, this is the happiest Buffy finale we’ve ever had.
I was cheering at the moment when Buffy subtly states that she wishes she never allowed D’Hoffryn to gain so much power, because that was all the slayer needed to turn the tables on the lord of wish-granting vengeance demons. It’s one of the only action beats in the issue, but is probably one of my favorite moments from the entire run of the comics so far.
They didn’t kill a single member of the main cast, which is something all fans have come to expect from the title. In fact, not only did none of the Scoobies die, but they didn’t even break up Buffy and Spike—something that all fans of that relationship were dreading.
I think it was the right move to keep those two together. Their relationship is still evolving. They have fears and doubts and they’re expressing those to each other in a healthy way. They’ve been maturing for a long time and while they’re not quite there yet, they’ve made a ton of progress and I’m glad none of that was undone. At this point, it’s kind of a win-win because even if they break up, they’d just go back to that season four-era chemistry. That was gold.
More importantly, the season ends with the gang taking on a lot of new responsibilities. At the beginning, they couldn’t trust themselves to write the rules of magic, but now they’ve learned that they can’t trust anyone else, either. This has led them—Buffy, Willow and Giles in particular—to take positions at the head of the Magic Council. It’s going to be a totally new dynamic for them. This is essentially Buffy becoming a stateswoman—no wonder they gave her Hillary Clinton’s hair—and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
WICKED RATING: 8.5/10