It never occurred to me that Buffy and Illyria hadn’t met before this issue. One of the few major characters on Angel who didn’t crossover on to Buffy.
This arc has suddenly become tied very heavily into classic Buffy episodes. Chambliss brings numerous past characters back rapidly, but gives enough information to keep a reader from being lost. But, the information doesn’t bog down the story at hand. It’s a very fine line that Chambliss walks, and it’s one that could have ruined this issue. Bringing Severin back into the story near the end of the season was a good idea, as he was the only thing that slightly resembled a big bad this season. Much like season 6, this season lacks a big bad, and has been focusing more on Buffy as a person. Chambliss writes Illyria spot on. The quasi-Scooby gang that has formed around Buffy as of late is becoming more and more fun to read. Billy continues to become more interesting as a character.
There is one sub-plot that just hasn’t been making sense this entire season, and that is Xander’s anger. He showed occasional outbursts on the show, but they were always justified. Here, he just snaps at a lot of people. The justification for the season long outbursts isn’t the best in the world, as Xander has shown to enjoy being a normal human being. All of a sudden he doesn’t like being out of the action? It just doesn’t make sense. Xander is one of my favorite characters, so seeing him be stuck with the short straw on character development is displeasing. But when a character has become stable, it becomes hard to justify problems. This was a problem with Jim and Pam on The Office after they got married. It’s good to see Chambliss trying to keep Xander in the loop instead of having him and Dawn go off into the sunset, never to be seen again. But something needs to be done with them.
Georges Jeanty continues to pencil a strong issue. If he’s given plenty of time to pencil a few issues, the book looks amazing. Illyria looks exactly like Amy Acker, which struck me as a surprise, considering how most of the other characters don’t. The majority of this issue is talking heads, which benefits Jeanty’s penciling style. While Xander’s rage isn’t justified in the writing, Jeanty gives Xander a real anger in his eye.Characters are expressive and life like. Dexter Vines, inking master, inks a fabulous issue. He injects a lot of mood and emotion into the dramatic scenes, but knows when to dial back the inks to let the comedy do it’s work.
Buffy is starting to wrap up season 9, and it’s looking to have more dramatic changes than big battles. And this is good for the Buffy universe every now and then.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #17 gets 4/5.