Like the last batch of issues, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #24 is very character focused, but it also does a lot to further the season plot. Buffy and the gang find themselves going up against the monstrous Soul Glutton once again, with some unexpected consequences. Much of the issue centers around Buffy dealing with the idea that the gang is growing apart, which actually worries me as it was already the overriding theme of season nine. At this point, if Christos Gage and co. really want that idea to work and for those stakes to seem real at all, they have to actually let the gang grow apart. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that that’s the direction this story wants to take and I’m not sure if we should be fighting that as hard as we’re doing right now. And, believe me, I love these characters and never thought I would say that.
The character work here is great, though, don’t get me wrong. We have Ghost Anya spying on Buffy and Spike as they have a very ordinary fight, which is followed immediately by Xander telling her that they really need to have a talk. He addresses a bomb that was dropped several issues back, when he was told that the Anya he’s been seeing is not actually Anya. He also tells her that he told his therapist, Dr. Mike, about her. I tend to side with Ghost Anya on the point that if he actually told his therapist he was talking to the ghost of his dead ex all the time, it would be as big of a red flag as she made it out to be. Xander passing it off as “everyone knows about the supernatural now” makes sense, but people are still going to cling to things as the way they’ve always known them. It’s probably a safer bet to always assume mental health over ghost, at least until proven otherwise.
Their search for the Soul Glutton leads, of course, to a huge fight. It’s a good fight sequence that gets even better when the creature attempts to open up a portal to a hell dimension. Not only does the gang realize how hard this door is going to be to close, but they realize that they are the ones who made it that way. If the world ends, it’s their fault because they were the ones who took it upon themselves to rewrite the rules of magic from the ground up. There’s no way that there weren’t going to be serious repercussions from that. Now that we’re starting to see those consequences, things are getting really interesting.
We also hit a spectacular cliffhanger, something that’s been teased for a long time. At the end of season nine, it was revealed that Dawn is still the key. She has all of that same power that she had in season five. She can open and close doors between worlds. If she actually takes the time to harness and develop that power, it could be incredibly useful—as it may already prove to be in the very next issue.
Overall, issue 24 is a refreshing move forward in a season that is continually losing a singular focus. As we move toward the finale, I’d like to see some of these threads wrap up or, at the very least, begin to come together.
WICKED RATING: [usr 7.5]