We’re now about halfway through the tenth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For two and a half seasons, it’s been a comic book, but it’s finally found the momentum and pacing of the show itself. They still fight big monsters that couldn’t have been accomplished on a TV budget, but it has the smaller feel that Buffy was meant to have. In particular, this season has been great for re-establishing the character relationships after being so detached from one another in season nine. Terrible things are probably on their way because, all in all, this season is much happier.
We pick up this issue immediately where the last left off, with Spike at Buffy’s throat. The gang has come into contact with the demon that spread itself throughout the vampire race. It has control over vampires, or at least it tries to, which puts a wrench in the burgeoning relationship between Buffy and Spike. This is a major focus in the comic right now and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Buffy and Spike had a very destructive relationship on the show, but they both are better people now than they were then. They’ve grown a lot. If there was ever a time to put them together and see what develops from it, it would be now.Speaking of growth, Xander comes out swinging in this issue. His relationship with Dawn was put on hold at the end of the previous season when it was revealed that her emotions were sort of returned to factory defaults after magic returned to the Earth. She doesn’t love him anymore, at least not like she did. She’s reverted back to the crush she had on him when she was fourteen. So they’ve sat around not knowing how to interact with each other for weeks.
Finally, in this issue, Xander tells her that they can’t keep going with the way things are right now. He’s going to give her all the space she needs. He knows they can be friends. If something else comes out of it, great. If not, then that’s just the way things go. Xander can be extremely adult when he needs to, and this is probably one of his shining moments.
Giles and Willow take a bit of a backseat. Giles has the same problems he’s been having, mostly that he is incredibly uncomfortable in his younger body. It’s nothing new, but that’s alright for now. I imagine, like Xander who was underplayed in the previous season, that Giles’s arc is definitely building to something.
It’s great to have Rebekah Isaacs back on the artwork. While fans were divided on Georges Jeanty, I loved his style and have missed him this season, but Isaacs definitely understands the characters and hits the emotional beats very well. This issue has a decent balance of action as well. There are some big combat moments right off the bat, but then it transitions into a very character-centric issue. All in all, this season is developing very well and this arc is a good enough jumping-on point, especially for impatient fans who can’t wait to see Buffy and Spike finally try to develop a mature romantic relationship.