In “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10” #27, two plot threads move the issue, and one of them seems awfully familiar; that’s the one set on Earth, as Buffy, Willow, Giles, Spike and Andrew learn the hard way that D’Hoffryn was this series’ main villain all along, which causes them to crumble and split apart under the stress. While Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs do a good job with this part of the comic, it’s in many ways a by-the-numbers sequence we’ve seen before in both the television show and in the comics. That said, the storyline that follows Xander and Dawn as they’re trapped in the remote dimension of Anharra is storytelling gold.
There’s something ridiculously fun about seeing this issue pick up where the previous one left off, with Xander teaching the demons how a peaked roof can keep the acidic rain from destroying a home and promising the wonders of indoor plumbing. As Xander and Dawn introduce the demons to all sorts of comforts from Earth while dealing with a familiar representative of Wolfram and Hart, the charm just oozes off of the page. It works in part because we see the two succeed in a very strange environment, but also because the relationship between Xander and Dawn feels much more natural and real this time around. Regardless of whether the two become romantically involved or not, the bond between this pair is hard to deny.
Conversely, the bonds between the rest of the cast all wear down as accusations are thrown left and right, even as D’Hoffryn weaves his master plan. It’s well played on the demon’s part, and we get to see just how well Gage has seeded this moment. It’s a tiny bit frustrating to see some of that impact muted by the old standard of mistrust coming between the gang, and everyone pulls apart even as they confront hard truths about themselves. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination and Gage may still take it somewhere different, but it’s extremely old hat at the moment.
Isaacs continues deliver good-looking pages with a consistency most would envy. There are lots of little emotional moments that come to life thanks to the way Isaacs draws them: Andrew’s look of numbness when he sees what others have said behind his back, Giles’ look of surprise when he’s called out on why he’s spending so much time in the Faerie Realm, the way Buffy comes across as both sad and exhausted at the end of the issue. As well as Isaacs handles action in comics — and I’ve got no complaints about that — she’s at her best when she’s conveying the feelings of the characters in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10” #27.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10” #27 moves the title through its final story arc, and it’s on track for a strong finish so far. It’s a little unfortunate that part of this feels a little too familiar, but — then again — Gage has certainly psyched out the readers before. Regardless, this comic is still fun and well above average. Gage and Isaacs’ work in the Buffy universe has been quite excellent, and I’m sad to see this season coming to an end, even as I’m intrigued to see what happens next.