Review: Buffy Season 9, #12 - Guarded, Part 2

FROM THE PUBLISHER

By working for Deepscan—the company that recruits Slayers as bodyguards—Buffy thought she would disengage herself from the world of demons and garner a more significant income, to boot. While the income may get her closer to paying off pesky student loans, the demony population is closer to her than ever, thanks to her first client. Buffy, under the tutelage of a disgruntled and heartbroken Kennedy, has her work cut out for her and is forced to call on the honorable Eldre Koh for help, culminating in a little demon-on-demon violence.

SYNOPSIS

Picking up where we left off last time, Buffy and Kennedy are protecting NotMarkZuckerberg, the creator of NotFacebook. Apparently he worked with Wolfram and Hart to install a digital portal to their home dimension in NotFacebook, and now the only way to sever that connection is to destroy NotFacebook. Only W&H has a Teuth Demon (a giant, tentacle-y thing) guarding the servers. Buffy and Kennedy can't take it alone, so Buffy enlists Eldre Koh to help, calling in the debt he owes her based on the Nitobe Code.

As they prep for the mission, Kennedy has second thoughts, wondering if maybe Willow could use the demon tech to get magic back, which would get people off Buffy's ass. But they push on with the mission, splitting into two teams: Buffy with NotZuck and Kennedy with Koh. There's a lot of tentacle slicing and squeezing and then some grenade throwing, which finally fends off the demon. NotZuck is at the controls and also having second thoughts, since his life's work would be destroyed and it would wreck things for a lot of people. Fortunately, he's with the one person who can totally relate. Buffy encourages him to flip the switch, but before he can, Koh joins the party, and takes him hostage. Using the demon video chat, he tells Wolfram & Hart that if they tell him who was responsible for his imprisonment, he'll kill NotZuck.

Ruh-roh.

REVIEW

This issue was all kinds of fun. We got Buffy getting to be back in Slayer mode and kicking some ass, while also displaying some of that newfound maturity she's learned since the start of Season 8. We got a huge multi-page action sequence that showed there's a good way you can use the comics format to go beyond what you could do on TV and still have it feel like the TV series. We even got Kennedy not being completely hate-able.

More importantly, we're realizing -- with this series and with "Angel & Faith" -- that magic isn't quite as "gone" as it may have previously seemed. The Scythe had enough left in it to cast a spell to open a path to Quor'Toth (spoilers if you haven't been reading Angel & Faith, sorry), and now this "demon tech" seems to be allowing Wolfram & Hart to maintain a presence in this world. This is obviously going to have huge implications down the line.

Georges Jeanty got to go to town on drawing the action scenes, and did a wonderful job. The tentacles seemed gross, and more importantly seemed threatening, which was cool. I will say that Koh looked less intimidating than he had in past issues, though that certainly wasn't the case on the last page.

Amazingly, this issue succeeds despite only having four speaking characters (plus one disembodied voice) in it. Andrew Chambliss scaled things back, with really no B story to speak of at all, and the story was better for it.

Through two issues, this arc is shaping up to be the best of Season 9.

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