Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #3

"Buffy The Vampire Slayer" is one of the best transitions from other media to comics that I've had the pleasure of reading, and it's largely thanks to a stable of brilliant writers, artists, and creators that clearly love the characters and world as much as fans do. This most recent iteration of Buffy in the form of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9" is no exception and has been delivering an amazing new series these last few months.

In this issue, Buffy continues to be persona non grata with most of the world, thanks to her part in ridding the world of magic. With a crappy day job, a handful of begrudgingly loyal friends, cops that consider her a suspect for some local killings, and an otherworldly debt collector, Buffy has more than enough on her plate before teaming up with a stranger who is not all that he seems. Meanwhile, Spike hunts down a mysterious lead only to discover something much more complex and potentially dangerous at work.

The plot twist at the end of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" #3 is cleverly masked in the best of ways, in that it completely makes sense and the only reason you didn't notice it before it arrived was because you were so invested in what was going on with the characters.  Like any truly rewarding twist this one feels realistic and well-earned but still utterly surprising.

It's always difficult to follow up the creator on his own work, but Andrew Chambliss is doing an exceptional job here, showing an absolute mastery of every character he touches. Chambliss does a particularly nice job in this issue of capturing the nuance of the damaged relationships between Buffy and her friends, saying a lot with very little. He handles the emotional elements and the pacing expertly and, as mentioned, perfectly executes the twist, leaving you breathless (and more than a little anxious) for the next issue.

George Jeanty continues to do wonderful work here, and really seems to be bringing his A-game this season. Perhaps he just needed the break, but some of his work toward the end of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8" felt rushed, which unfortunately blunted some of the more emotional moments. However, his work this season feels wholly reinvigorated.  Full of energy and life, emotion and love, he captures every critical expression and subtle nuance with ease.  His execution of these characters at this point is so natural that I sometimes fear he's pigeonholed himself a bit because his work has become so synonymous with the series. Even if that's true, it's an excellent pigeonhole to be in, as he brings such dimension and love to these characters and their vast and complex world. The love for the characters from everyone involved is almost palpable on the page, and it makes a huge difference in the product we end up getting.

"Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9" is shaping up to be an excellent series committed to Joss Whedon's long standing tradition of exploring and pushing on these beloved characters in a myriad of complex ways. Already, just three issues in, the results are compelling, and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9" has quickly become one of the best books I'm reading, and the first book I reach for, which speaks volumes.

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