It seems like a dash of Illyria and a little plot direction was all that Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 needed! Last week saw the release of part two of Season 9’s “Welcome to the Team” arc which is written by Andrew Chambliss and features the art team of Georges Jeanty (pencils), Dexter Vines (inks), and Michelle Madsen (colors). While not all readers will agree with me, I felt that this issue was a return to form for Buffy: Season 9, and I’m excited that things are finally heating up!
Here’s a quick summary of Issue #17:
This issue opens with Detective Dowling getting chomped on by a zompire. Billy attempts to help his fallen friend, but there are just too many of the creatures! Luckily, the VTF (Vampire Task Force) comes to the rescue and later, as Dowling is having first aid administered, he tells Billy to find Buffy.
The Slayer, still chatting with Illyria, eventually realizes who the demon is (apparently Spike and Angel filled her in). Illyria informs Buffy that she reclaimed her teleporting powers before the destruction of The Seed and then teleports both of them in front of “The Council” (made up of various supernatural creatures including D’Hoffryn and a sentient balloon).
The Council explains that those with supernatural powers are few and far between, so they’ve banded together to protect the precious remnants of mystical energy left in the world. At first Buffy expects they will be angered over The Seed, but it turns out that the group is recruiting The Slayer in order to eliminate Severin, who has returned stronger than ever.
After Billy calls them, Xander and Dawn, who is even sicker now, show up at the hospital just as Dowling is rushed into the emergency room. Billy goes off to find Buffy while Dawn and Xander sit in the waiting room, hoping for news on Dowling.
Meanwhile, Buffy decides to align herself with the council. She’s informed that Illyria will provide reinforcement as well as another warrior . . . the demon, Koh. Illyria has promised Koh justice against those who imprisoned him in return for his help. The demon and the slayer form a shakey truce, determined to take out The Siphon together.
Back at the hospital, a doctor delivers the good news about a recovering Dowling only to have Dawn collapse in front of him and Xander. The doctor yells out that Dawn is not breathing.
Thing aren’t going so well for Illyria, Buffy, and Koh either. When they follow The Council’s lead on where Severin is hiding out, they find themselves trapped and at the mercy of their powerfully charged adversary.
Buffy is back! If I’m honest with myself, Season 9 has dragged a bit ever since the last time Severin disappeared, but this issue brings back The Siphon and the fun to the Buffy comic! The series really has a lot going for it in the “Welcome to the Team” arc, including the addition of fan favorite Illyria to the book, the bizarre and demonic ensemble that makes up The Council, the return of the untrustworthy demon, Koh, as well as Severin and his terrifying powers, and the questionable (and potentially heartbreaking) fate of Dawn Summers.
A sentient balloon. Cause that is just plain rad.
Where’s “Cute” Devon??? (Part 2) It’s not as bad as last issue. Devon at least gets some face time in this issue when Billy calls his “watcher” while doing research (Hey, Devon, isn’t that your job?), but I still really don’t get what’s going on with his living situation. Is he in San Fran? Did he go back home? Are he and Devon trying out the “long distance” option? We have no option, but to wait and see.
Are we losing Dawn??? Cause, boy, is that going to be a rough one for the Scoobies. Fans have been speculating about Seed fallout affecting Dawn, and it looks like our worst fears are coming true. Nothing really bad here in regards to the writing, art, etc., but this point ended up in the section here for how much potential pain is down the road for all of us.
The Ugly (Fan Buzz, that is . . . )
While fan reaction for this episode has been very mixed, with some being quite engaged by the issue and others finding it ho-hum. That being said, Buffy: Season 9 #17 still got good reviews from Comic Book Therapy and Comic Buzz.
Why ya gotta do Jeanty dirty? Wow, are there a lot of fans out there hating artist Georges Jeanty’s recent work. While I can understand having a different opinion and I agree that Jeanty’s Illyria isn’t the spitting-image of Amy Acker, I feel as if readers are really missing the amount of talent Jeanty’s work shows in the “acting” and emotions of his characters. I couldn’t be happier to have this skilled and proficient master of the bristol board working as the lead artist on as many Buffy seasons as he can handle.
That’s all for now, Scoobies. I’ll be back next week with a review of the final issue of Spike: A Dark Place! Spoilers: The issue will contain giant bugs flying a spaceship.
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer