Review: Buffy #32 - “Twilight, Pt. 1”

After some snow-related delays (it’s hard to ship comics out of Baltimore when Baltimore is under four feet of snow), I finally picked up the latest issue of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. This issue, penned by Brad Meltzer, kicks off the “Twilight” arc in which the primary villain’s identity will be revealed to our heroes (and the few remaining readers who’ve avoided spoilers).

COVER TWO
Both covers are Superman homages. Jo Chen’s primary cover features the now-super-powered Buffy flying through a bright blue sky, while Georges Jeanty’s alternate cover is an homage to Action Comics #1.  I love the cameos on Jeanty’s cover (the screaming man is Joss Whedon, the woman running away is Jo Chen and the man on the ground is Jeanty himself), which has to put it on top for this month.

THE WRITE STUFF

Meltzer has the difficult task of taking over right after a huge spoiler hit the internet. There’s nothing he could do about it, since his scripts have long since been written, so it’s impressive how well this issue stands up on its own (we’ll see if that’s the case next month).

For someone like me, the sheer volume of nerd references in this story is delightful. For the first five pages, Xander has Buffy going through a series of physical challenges to test her skills against the traditional Superman tagline (“faster than a speeding bullet...” etc, etc).

In the past, the “Buffy” books have had a tendency to beat a joke into the ground (remember Dracula’s racism back in the Japan arc?), but the Xander geek jokes never get old. I can imagine Meltzer had a ton of fun writing Page 8, when Xander runs through all the other comic book powers Buffy could possibly have. And the Kitty Pryde conversation -- a definite Joss Whedon shoutout -- might be the best thing I’ve ever read in a Buffy book.

But geek jokes aren’t the main purpose of this story (even if they’re fun). I don’t want to spoil the story for those who haven’t read it, but let me just say that I didn’t see the twist of how Buffy actually got her powers coming. And it’s done in a way that’s very much in tone with a “Buffy” episode -- the earlier comedy masks the true horror behind the scenes, like in “Once More, With Feeling” or “Tabula Rasa”.



THE ART STUFF
I’m always impressed when an artist can depict superpower-y things happening and make them seem natural within the setting of the comic, which is what Jeanty does in this book (the scene of Buffy racing the bullet is done perfectly).

Also, I rarely pay attention to the background, but in this book they were pretty sweet. Tibet makes for a nice setting.

And, in the interest of not spoiling the story, I won’t go into too much detail on this, but the bottom panel of the page set in Louisiana is amazing in its detail. It evokes an incredible emotional response, even with no connection to the characters.

WHO IS TWILIGHT
Knowing who Twilight is, I can definitely believe that he would have abandoned Amy, Warren and the general once he got what he needed (whoops, did I spoil that part of this issue for you?). If I didn’t already know Twilight’s identity, I might have assumed that this was a trap, but given this character’s past, abandonment of allies seems pretty standard.

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