After an unfocused and meandering first half of the season, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 is finally starting to recapture the feeling of the original show that its rabid fanbase knows and loves. With Buffy teamed up with Illyria and Eldre Koh against potential big bad The Siphon, writer Andrew Chambliss uses Issue #18 to continue revealing Season 9’s endgame to both the Slayer and his readers.
Here’s a quick summary of Issue #18:
This issue opens with Buffy, Eldre Koh, and Illyria face-to-face with The Siphon. Before the group can attack Severin, he delivers a powerful blast that knocks them all off their feet. Severin attempts to drain Illyria of her power, but she manages to teleport before he has a grasp. Buffy realizes that Severin wants Illyria’s power so that he can go back in time and save his currently deceased girlfriend and, with the help of Koh, manages to fight off Severin until Illyria can teleport them to her location.
Meanwhile, Dawn and Xander are still in the hospital. The doctors are at a loss, and no one can figure out why Dawn’s body is shutting down. Xander is distraught and calls Andrew in for help. Andrew examines Dawn and comes to the conclusion that they must put her in a new body – a robot one! Xander and Andrew sneak Dawn out of the hospital, and Andrew promises to his friend that he won’t mess this one up.
During all of this, Billy continues to investigate Buffy’s disappearance. When Buffy’s roommate Anaheed tags along, Billy tries to explain the danger in helping, but just ends up depressed and admitting that he’s no more a slayer than Anaheed. Later, Billy is shocked when he is saved from a group of zompires by a slayer-level-strong Anaheed!
Having regrouped with The Council, Buffy explains Severin’s plan and Illyria decides that she must serve as bait so that Koh and Buffy can eliminate The Siphon. Unfortunately, when Illyria is confronting Severin and attempts to teleport Buffy and Koh to her location, her companions end up at Mann’s Chinese Theater instead! Severin latches on to Illyria as the demon cries out ominously.
Anaheed calls out Billy. Although some may be calling for harsh treatment towards the male slayer wanna-be, this isn’t where I’m coming from on this. The main reason I like Anaheed asking what makes Billy able to be a slayer is that it reopens the door to an issue that was somewhat glossed over previously in the season. The question of why Billy makes the cut for Buffy when many other non-powered humans haven’t in the past may benefit from giving Chambliss a chance to give his take on the issue.
Good plan, Andrew!!! While I still mourn the excitement and respect I had for Buffy: Season 9 when I thought it was taking on the issue of motherhood and/or abortion, Issue #18 did at least give this season’s robot arc a reason for existing – at least structurally. It’s also nice to see Andrew being given a chance to demonstrate his loyalty and friendship for Dawn and Xander, because it very clearly highlights how far the character has come since his first appearance. The only question now is will Dawn be trapped in a robot body permanently?
Illyria’s fate. In no way is this a bad choice, plot-wise, by Chambliss, but I still find Severin’s power incredibly terrifying in its ability to drain the supernatural essence of his victims, and I’m even more terrified to think of the fate being forced upon Illyria. Most fans have grown quite fond of the big, blue demon living in Fred’s body, but, as Whedon fans know all too well, that is no guarantee of her safety.
The Ugly (Fan Buzz, that is . . .)
Fan reaction for this issue has been mainly positive, and the book got a solid review over at IGN.
Is Anaheed a slayer spy? So, Anaheed is a slayer, and, of course, that has the fan forums buzzing about which side she’s playing. Is she working with Simone? Is she part of the slayer groups who see Buffy as the cause of all their troubles? We have no choice but to wait and see.
That’s all for now, Scoobies. And, don’t forget to start saving up for your robot body! You never know when you’re going to need one of those things!
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer