Alright, it’s time to get our Buffy on with a whole new story and I want to get down to this right away. We have no time to lose. This one is a two-parter by two Buffyverse experts, “Buffy” TV series writers Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg. And, as you may know, the big deal this time around is that we have a new gay male character, Billy, who adds a new dimension to our adventures. There was recently a feature about it in Out magazine and that got picked up by Comic Book Resources.
With that in mind, this is the story of Billy, the first ever male Slayer. We begin with Billy and a gal pal parked outside the fence of the local airport so that 747’s fly right above them. It makes for some great visuals as the two lament over the fact they’re still only teens and not rock stars or whatever. The phrase, “It will get better,” comes up but, after that obvious insert, we reach a good pace.
Coincidentally, the jumbo jet that just flew above them has a coffin in it and it won’t remain shut. There’s a zompire in there and there’s more on the way. Some more memorable artwork shows how one zompire leads to another and then another until, before too long, you’re flooded with them.
The style to the art is a little more cartoony than we’ve seen for awhile but it’s fun and it fits well with the energy of the characters. We have Karl Moline leading the way with pencils and Andy Owens on inks and just the right dramatic coloring by Michelle Madsen. Billy, hands down, is a very engaging character, vulnerable but ready for a fight. Well, getting ready. That’s part of the deal here. He’s getting ready for the rest of his life but he just doesn’t know it yet. Maybe with a little help from a particular friend will get him where he needs to go.
The big question is does the writing give us an authentic picture of our lead character. The answer is, yes, we have a living and breathing Billy. He’s gay and it’s not one of those, oh, he’s a great character who happens to be gay. No, being gay is a very big deal, especially in a small isolated area where being a young gentle and feminine man can get your skull crushed in. We deal with that subject in this story and most effectively.
Does Billy need those Slayer powers? Well, a lot of people would like to have them. And, of all those people who could or should have them, Billy is looking mighty worthy. You root of Billy in this story. He’s a good guy. You want to see him win. This first part leaves us in a very good place and is so well done that it could stand alone. It will be a pleasure to see how we close on this arc.
“Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #14” is out October 10. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.