Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #28

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10" #28 is another example of the seamless collaboration between Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs. Secondary to pursuing this season's "Big Bad," the issue's actual focus is on deciphering the intense interpersonal relationships among its core cast members. Because issue #30 will wrap up Season 10, Gage and Isaacs use issue #28 to begin knitting together solutions to the epic problems facing the Scoobies.

As with the TV show, the character development moments in this comics are often points of epiphany that propel action, and Gage uses an interesting series of one-on-one conversations to reignite the gang's sense of purpose and commitment. The lengthy exchanges between Buffy and Spike are simultaneously gut-wrenching and satisfying; Dawn and Xander continue to charm their way through dimensions and offer some much-needed lightheartedness; and Andrew is reminded that comments taken out of context are often devoid of their true meaning. However, this is a tried-and-true plot device in the Buffyverse, which makes it feel familiar; so -- while it's comforting that the characters are finally coming to terms with their individual dramas -- it's also territory we've trod before.

Rebekah Isaacs delivers the subtle facial expression and body language details that make the issue a success. Buffy and Spike's relationship is on thin ice, and Isaacs registers every emotion coursing through them in the subtle details on their faces. Andrew moves from anger and hurt to puzzlement and finally understanding all in the space of two pages. The best single panel, though, might be Willow and Giles drowning their sorrows in multiple quarts of ice cream. Because the issue's only action sequences come from Dawn and Xander, there is a welcome comic relief in their travels that contrasts the serious tone of the book in much the same (yet delightfully opposite) way that was employed in the Season 3 episode "The Zeppo," in which Xander was sharply contrasted by a very serious scene between Buffy and Angel. Isaacs and colorist Dan Jackson make the most of traveling between alternate dimensions, and it's a fun effect.

Light on action and heavy on refocusing the team, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10" #28 is the calm before the storm that is sure to come in the arc's final two issues. Teamwork is the key to every victory in the Buffyverse, and -- now that their individual houses are (mostly) in order -- Buffy has a plan for the whole gang. That's more like it.

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