This month brings the return of fan favorite Jane Espenson to the Buffy comic world. Fresh off her heroic success with the web series Husbands, Espenson has teamed with former Buffy writer Drew Z. Greenberg and Fray artist Karl Moline to once again push the boundaries of what it means to be a slayer.
Billy the Vampire Slayer This idea rocks. Buffy has always had strong themes of learning to accept those deemed unacceptable and the breaking of boundaries, and Espenson has managed to tap into an unexplored outcast here: a boy who wants to be a slayer. Espenson has said in interviews that she got the idea when she noticed how many young, gay men told her that Buffy changed their lives. The idea that those who identified with Buffy might not feel they could really stand in her shoes was something that irked Espenson, and she’s found an excellent way to express and explore it here. While some might think the concept is contrived, I applaud Espenson for having the courage to take on the subject and the integrity to not force the slayer rules to bend to her desire. Billy might not have super powers and might not be a girl, but he’s still a slayer.
Karl Moline’s art is gorgeous. Shout out to Andy Owens (inks) and Michelle Madsen (colors), as well. This issue was beautiful.
Cute Devon as Watcher I don’t know why, but I just dug Devon. He’s got a major charm factor going. He’s got cool hair. He’s got a leather jacket. Actually, when I start putting these attributes together, I really feel like Devon is a vampire. Still, the idea of Cute Devon as a watcher was cool. The idea of Cute Devon as a vampire who wants to be a watcher has the potential to be uber cool.
Can Zompires defy the standard vampire rules? ‘Cause that zompire busted right through Billy’s window, no probelm-o! Either someone made a mistake, or zompires don’t need invites because the destruction of The Seed affected the magical restrictions regarding vampires. Only time will tell . . .
The Ugly (Fan Buzz, that is . . .)
Do we have time for a pit-stop with Billy? Only 25 or so issues left, there was a vocal group who missed getting their ‘Buffy’ fix this month (and it’s making them a little cranky). In all honesty, these fans do have a valid point. While the Billy character is nice, if it doesn’t tie into the major plot and themes of Season 9, many fans will be left with the feeling that this should have been a Tales of the Slayers one-shot instead of part of the main title.
Don’t miss the next issue of Buffy: Season 9 with writer Drew Z. Greenberg returning to the Buffyverse!
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer