Writer: Jordie Bellaire
Artist: David Lopez
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Spoilers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4!
Kicking off a brand new story-arc, the latest issue picks up after the events of last month’s game-changer. The story jumps around a bit, examining the fallout of Xander’s “turn” by Drusilla, while establishing that his vampiric state may not be permanent.
While the last couple of issues took some big steps in the right direction, this installment takes a few steps back in terms of quality. Writer Jordie Bellaire’s writing has improved a lot since the first issue, but there are still weak points here. Some very bland and vague dialogue between Spike and Drusilla calls into question the cliffhanger at the end of the last arc, and it’s never quite clear what happened after Dru bit Xander. Likewise, the presence of a fan-favorite character is handled awkwardly and without any real explanation to who she is. Of course, long-time fans will know Jenny Calendar, but readers with little-to-no knowledge of the mythos will be understandably confused.
Another misstep is the omission of an entire scene! While Buffy’s trip to Anya’s magic shop was chronicled in last month’s FCBD Special, it’s only referred to here in an editor’s note. It’s a strange decision to exclude it entirely, especially since it takes place in the middle of this story and may be particularly frustrating to those who were unable to get out on Free Comic Book Day (yes, I’m bitter about it).
One thing the previous arc had going for it consistently was the excellent art. Sadly, that’s another area that has taken a hit in quality. Art duties are handled by David Lopez, and while his layouts are great (particularly in an early two-page spread), his character work leaves a lot to be desired. Certain players, especially Willow, just come off looking odd, with expressions ranging from bored to manic. Fortunately, previous colorist Raul Angulo has returned to work his magic and, along with letterer Ed Dukeshire, provides some much needed artistic continuity.