Review: Buffy #29, “Retreat, Part 4”

Well, I’m a week late with my review, but I still wanted to share my thoughts on last week’s issue of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, especially after getting to talk to artist Georges Jeanty at Baltimore Comic-Con.

Massimo Carnevale steps in for Jo Chen on the main cover, and I can’t say I’m a fan of the cover. First of all, Twilight isn’t in the issue at all (and we’ll get to that soon enough). Secondly, Chen’s style is incredibly realistic to the actors and actresses. Carnevale’s style is more art-like. As for the Jeanty cover, he went with an homage to the old Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos covers from the ‘60s. Not only does it fit the plot of the story, but it looks really cool (and, side note, Jeanty had to draw the title itself, because he wasn’t sure he could find the font).

After three issues of build-up, Jane Espenson really advances the story here. There is a battle on the scale of the final battle between the Slayers and the ubervamps in “Chosen”. I loved the shoutout to Season 2 when Buffy used the rocket launcher, with the use of the torpedo in this battle. I’m not sure if Espenson was going for that (I have a tendency to find connections where there are none), but if she was, then kudos to her.

Also, I thought Willow’s dialogue was so much better in this issue than in the previous one. It seemed much more authentic to the character. But she wasn’t the best character in this issue, not even close. In the few pages where he appeared, Giles was perfectly written. I could actually hear Anthony Stewart Head delivering his lines in my head. It was fantastic. Plus, any issue where Xander gets to shine is fine by me.

Unlike in past issues, I had no problem distinguishing the characters, though that may be more due to increased exposure to them as opposed to anything Jeanty is doing different. I loved his ability to capture the range of emotions that Willow and Buffy experience in this issue. His interpretation of the Tibetan Goddesses on the final page is very cool.

My favorite part of the issue, artistically? In the background of the final panel of Page 9, you can see Xander and Dawn kissing again (oh, and Dawn looks more like Michelle Trachtenberg in the third panel of this page than I’ve ever seen her drawn before). It’s a subtle inclusion on a panel that focuses on something else entirely, and also provides the framework for the cover of Issue #31.

OK, when I first read the issue, I was PISSED that we didn’t find out who Twilight was, because I was under the impression that this was the issue in which the reveal came. However, that’s not the case. Not only that, but he doesn’t even appear, so we have no more clues as to who he is. I’m still on the Graham bandwagon, but there’s a lot of internet chatter about Pike (the Luke Perry character from the original movie).

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