Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #14 Review

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Much fanfare has been made of this issue, with the introduction of Billy the vampire slayer.  His first outing is ok, but it could have been better.

First, let’s talk about the story.  It’s a generic story, giving readers the basic information about Billy.  His life is very similar to Buffy, to a point that some fans will be turned off.  He has a Willow and an Angel.  It’s funny to see others like Buffy and how they get into the vampire slaying business.  Speaking of Buffy, she is absent this month, leaving the issue completely separated from the rest of the season.  The biggest problem with this issue is the balance of story lines.  If the issue had just been about Billy, it would have been more enjoyable.  But to justify having the vampire attack Billy near the end of the issue, Jane Espenson weaves a vampire storyline throughout.  It’s unnecessary and takes away from the interesting tale of Billy.  Billy’s introduction is handled well, even though it’s nothing new.  We get a great feel of his life, his problems, and how he is destined for greatness.  He’s very likable, and I’m excited to see him interact with Buffy in future issues.  I’m not sure how he’s going to end up in San Francisco with Buffy, as Billy seems to be set on being his own with Devon.

The big uproar that this issue has caused is having a man be a slayer.  Fans should rest easy though, as he isn’t a “real” slayer.  He’s a slayer in the way Xander is a slayer.  They have some fighting abilities and go out to fight evil.  It brings the series into new territory, and isn’t that what these seasons are for?  It harkens back to “with great power comes great responsibility.”  Billie has the ability to fight vampires, so he should.  It’s that simple and works well.  With many of the characters in other books, the main Buffy book needs a new and interesting character.  I’m excited for where the Buffy team is going to take this book in the coming months.

Karl Moline comes back on art duties, and the pencils have improved.  When Moline was last on the series, the pencils seemed rushed, with the characters looking nothing like their actor counterparts.  But Moline gets lucky, considering this issue has none of the regular cast members.  With Espenson writing Cute Devo……erm….Devon like Angel, it’s only right that Devon look exactly like Angel in season 1.  He’s got the hair and leather jacket down pat.  Moline nails the talking head scenes well, but the action still needs some work.  But it’s not as bad as the last arc, so it’s clear he’s improving.  His pencils are a nice contrast to George Jeanty’s pencils.  Nice reference to the movie Bully in the background.  It’s in Billy’s room if you are looking for it.

Billy’s first appearance could have been better, but it’s a good start.  Welcome to the Buffyverse Billy.  Let’s hope you stay around for a while.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #14 gets 3.5/5.

 

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