Friday, January 08, 2010

Review: Buffy Season 8 “Willow” One Shot

After a few weeks of shipping delays, my local comic shop finally got the “Willow” one-shot in stock, so I finally get to share my thoughts on it.

COVER TWO
The Jo Chen cover is fabulous. She always does an amazing job with Willow and I love the mysterious feel of the cover. I feel like the Moline cover wastes a lot of space with the design at the bottom, but his rendition of Willow is solid. Also, I didn’t like the tiny “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” logo -- it almost caused me to miss this issue on the shelves, since I usually scan for the logo.

THE WRITE STUFF

This book is set before Season 8, and starts to tell the story of what happened to Willow between the end of “Chosen” and her appearance in Season 8. That said, it doesn’t tell the whole story, and for something that’s a one-shot, I’m not sure that’s sufficient.

Joss Whedon wrote the story himself, and therefore it really feels like the dialogue came right from the show. Willow alternates between being funny, serious and mystical -- just like she did in her later seasons. The scene between Willow and Kennedy was pretty much exactly how I would have expected the two characters to act. Also, Willow had a beautiful moment with Tara -- I’m glad she got to make an appearance in this series, and I’m glad it was Joss who wrote it.

Still, given everything that happened in this issue, I didn’t really understand why Willow made the decision she made at the end (I won’t spoil it for those that still haven’t read it) and I feel like we need at least one follow-up issue to continue this story and fill in more of the gap before Season 8.

THE ART STUFF

Obviously once you get used to one artist on a series (in the case of Buffy, Georges Jeanty), it can be jarring to switch to a different artist. But Karl Moline did an arc of Season 8, and he’s done Whedon-related work before, so he’s familiar with the characters and does a good job with them. I also thought Moline did a nice job bringing some of the unique characters of this book to life, particularly the guides at the end, who shared a similar body shape but each had their own individual looks. And, again, the moment with Tara, particularly Willow’s tear, was amazing.

GRADING “WILLOW”

I almost want to give this an “incomplete” in hopes there’s another issue to continue this story. But as a standalone issue it gets a 3.5 (out of 5). It’d be at least .5 higher if there were a satisfying conclusion, but that near “to be continued” style finish leaves me wanting.


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