Story: Joss Whedon, Erika Alexander
Artist: Jon Lam
Colourist: Dan Jackson
Letterer: Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
A review by Stephanie Pouliotte
I haven’t been keeping up with the Buffy comics recently, but I was drawn back in by the premise of the latest miniseries Giles. When I heard he would be returning to high school, I didn’t expect it to be as a student! If you’re a bit lost like I was, there’s a handy Giles-focused recap leading up to this point at the start, but be warned it contains spoilers for his character from the previous seasons. The Giles miniseries caps off Season 11, and I was hoping for a throwback to the franchise’s high school years, with a few twists thrown in (and some better writing). Giles #1 doesn’t quite hit that mark, but with our favorite watcher back in school there are sure to be some mystical shenanigans afoot!
The first issue had some great Giles moments, and some… not so great ones. Having been removed from the comics for the last two seasons, maybe I’m just missing the character beats that have already been established, but I wasn’t totally on board with the portrayal of teen Giles. His internal narration is often used to remind us that, as a teenage boy, he’s got one thing on his mind (other than the supernatural forces terrorizing the school of course). It’s kind of a tired trope I could do without, and for me the forced jokes just didn’t land. There are also a few signature Whedon pop-culture references, but coming from Giles (even teen Giles) they just didn’t mesh with his character.
Even though I came to see Giles awkwardly navigate high school life while fighting some supernatural baddies, what really hooked me was his unlikely partner Roux. She was by far the most intriguing aspect of the story, so much so that scenes without her seemed to drag. The hints dropped throughout the issue tie in beautifully to the reveal at the end, promising that Roux will be a badass, spunky foil to Giles’ bookish, charming demeanour.
The pacing on this issue felt rushed, which can be expected in a miniseries, but it made for some disjointed reading. A lot of short scenes packed tight to establish all the weird goings-on at this school (and how seemingly no one is noticing any of it), as well as the new cast of characters. The transitions were sometimes choppy; the linework just wasn’t dynamic enough in places to convey the off-panel action from one scene to the next. Still, I quite enjoyed Jon Lam’s art style and the colouring by Dan Jackson brings the supernatural elements to life on the page.
Wait and see. This run has an interesting premise, but it got off to a rocky start in Giles #1. The saving grace was Roux, an extremely interesting character who is sure to keep Giles on his toes. I’m not yet sold on their lame double entendres, but it’s got the potential for a really interesting dynamic.