Story by: Joss Whedon and Christos Gage
Pencils by: Georges Jeanty
Inks by: Karl Story, Andy Owens and Dexter Vines
Colors by: Dan Jackson
Lettering by: Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt
Well, this is it: the final issue of the final ‘season’ of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As is emphasised by the editor Freddye Miller on the letters page of this issue, this does not mean the end of Buffy and the cast from Sunnydale, but Dark Horse has confirmed this is the last comic in its typical ‘seasonal’ format. Given the potential Buffy reboot that was announced earlier this year, it is unclear as to what is going to happen in the comics universe with the current characters. Like the TV series finale, the season 12 finale ends with questions for the future: what’s going to happen next?
The parallels between this issue and the series finale of the TV show are easy to spot. Once again Buffy and her vastly expanded team of Scoobies fight every Big Bad hell can muster. And once more slayer powers are shared between individuals, and the power of girls and women everywhere is emphasised. The comic’s finale uses these notes not just as a pleasing symmetry, but also to emphasise quite how much has changed since the TV show ended within this universe. Sure we’re once again at a point where Buffy needs to make sense of her life now that she’s managed to defeat the undefeatable, but this time her family has expanded and the established relationships on which the TV series heavily relied have fundamentally changed within these comics. This final issue highlights the value these comics have added to the narrative.
It is true that the Buffy comics are probably not be seen as ‘canon’ to the original TV show by the majority of Buffy fans, and that’s a real shame. When things get bad in life, Buffy is my comfort blanket. By the end of season 7 I usually feel much better about life, but every once in a while I get to the point where Dawn poses the final question and the Big Bad in my life has not yet been defeated. These comics have managed to extend that comfort blanket with the same comforting, joyful yarn of its source material. Were there missteps along the way? Of course, but the TV show is equally not without its hit and miss moments (the less I say about ‘the initiative’ the better). I am grateful that these comics provided more of a universe that fundamentally I would always choose to be a part of. And these final 4 issues together round off the seasons before it in a satisfying way.
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