Review: Buffy Season 9, #13 - Guarded, Part 3

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Acting as bodyguard for her first-ever client, Buffy has found herself entangled in some nasty demon business with ties to Angel and his time in LA. Through the social network Tincan, some demons have been able to connect to our world, and any attempts to sever that connection will lead Buffy and her client into increasingly dangerous territory.

SYNOPSIS

Picking right up where last issue left off, Koh has NotZuckerberg and tells the Senior Partners (or at least their conduit in the White Room) that he'll kill NotZuck if they tell him who imprisoned him. They agree. Buffy tries to stop Koh, but he says he'll kill NotZuck immediately if she tries anything. NotZuck tells Buffy to go, so someone can shut off NotFaceBook if he fails.

Buffy goes to get Kennedy, who's pissed that Buffy left NotZuck with suddenly-less-honorable Koh. She brings up Giles, Buffy punches Kennedy, it's a big anger thing. They go off to save NotZuck by sneaking underground. The conduit pops back up with the info Koh wants, but they won't give it to him until he kills NotZuck. He wants the info first, or he'll shut down the servers himself. They send it, but Kennedy steps in and points a gun at Koh. While he's distracted with that, Buffy comes in from the other side and kicks him in the head, freeing NotZuck.

He runs off to destroy the servers, while Buffy and Koh fight. Koh gets the upper hand, then goes after Kennedy and NotZuck, who are overheating the servers. Before he can get to them, Kennedy rips out a cord, and they run back to Buffy, who tells them to get out so she can go after Koh. Koh is trying to retrieve the message Wolfram & Hart sent him, but the connection to the underworld is already dying. Buffy tells Koh to let it go, but he says he can't and it's something she'll never understand. He escapes underground, and Buffy, Kennedy and NotZuck watch the TinCan server farm burn.

Kennedy calls Buffy to the office, and gives her a big check. NotZuck was impressed with her work and told a whole bunch of people. But Buffy turns it down. She's not about the money. She's The Slayer.

REVIEW

I found it interesting that Buffy gave Koh the big "get over it" speech, when that's exactly what I want to do to Buffy at the end of the issue. "No, Buffy, you're not THE Slayer anymore. You're not destined. You're not chosen. You're just you. And you need to find your way in this new world, one that doesn't need a 'The Slayer'. Get over it."

We're now one-and-a-half full seasons into the comic, and it seems like Buffy hasn't really learned much of anything. Well, that's not fair. Buffy has LEARNED plenty, but she's not taking the lessons to heart, which would be fine if this were still Season 6, but it's not. It's Season 9.

More distressingly, this continues Season 9's trend of misdirects. We started the season with Buffy having "normal problems" (Student loans! New roommates!), but that quickly turned into OMG ZOMPIRES! Then Buffy was pregnant. OMG NO SHE'S NOT! Then Buffy was a robot! OMG NOW SHE'S NOT ANYMORE! Then Buffy had a new job. OMG NOW SHE DOESN'T! OMG just pick a direction and stick with it.

It isn't really fair for me to dump all this criticism on Issue #13, since it's not just an Issue #13 problem. On its own, the issue is fine, if not a little stretched. This three-issue arc probably could've been trimmed to a two-parter. I loved seeing the White Room again, along with the new conduit, and it's a bit of a fun twist to get that in the "Buffy" book and not in "Angel". However, the crossover serves as a reminder that right now, "Buffy" isn't nearly as interesting of a book as "Angel & Faith". "Buffy" also suffers for not having her A-list supporting cast, with Willow in Angel's book, Spike in his own book, and Dawn and Xander doing... well, that's something for another day.

Focusing on the art of the issue itself, I did love the Phil Noto cover, which was awesome, if not a little misleading (there are no vampires fought or slain in this issue) and the Georges Jeanty cover does some fun things with perspective. I thought the interior art was good, with my favorite panels being the White Room stuff (with the white of the room bleeding into the characters, like a blinding light). The page with the burning building also looks really cool.

Look, Issue #13 isn't a BAD issue. Its problems stem from larger problems with the series itself. I still think Buffy has bigger and better stories to tell, and I trust that we'll get those in the closing arcs of Season 9. At least I hope so.

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