Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #23

Die-hard fans of Dark Horse's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" comic might remember that a little over a year ago (way back in issue #11), Buffy first fought her latest "Big Bad," a villain named Twilight. But also in that issue was word that a Slayer named Simone had gone rogue, and was stealing weaponry and forming her own posse. Well, Drew Greenberg is finally revisiting Simone's storyline, but somehow I can't see this being a "because you demanded it" kind of moment for just about anyone.

Honestly, if I hadn't known better, I'd have thought this was originally the script for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" #12 that got held back for a year before finally seeing print; Greenberg's script seems to assume that people remember who Simone is or why she's so important to track down, and it ends up being more than a little confusing for many readers. But even once that particular dust settles, there's a bigger issue going on here, and that's Greenberg making this issue a Buffy-and-Andrew team-up.

Andrew is a tricky character to write, because he's supposed to be always on the edge of really annoying. The problem is, it doesn't take much to push him into full-on annoying, and the script for this issue does just that. There are several points where I actually had to put the comic down and just shake my head; why are we supposed to care about Andrew after the events of this issue? If this story had been a flashback to when Andrew was still an out-and-out villain on the show, it might be understandable, but at this point it's hard to imagine that Buffy or the rest of the Slayer organization would want to keep him around. His behavior here sets my teeth on edge, and there's almost none of the good humor (save for one page of Andrew and Buffy bonding over Daniel Craig) that used to be attached to the character to make him worthwhile.

On the bright side, Georges Jeanty's pencils continue to nail the various likenesses here perfectly, as well as being able to handle everything else the script demands. The demon's web, for instance, comes across as looking both recognizable and eerie at the same time, and the drawings of the town in the second half of the issue made me want to take a third trip to Italy, and soon. Jeanty's pencils and Jo Chen's beautiful cover are easily the high points of the comic, here.

I'm hoping the comic is just going through its "mid-season blahs" because this was a really uninspiring installment. Everyone involved is capable of so much better than what we're seeing, here.

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