It probably says more about my psychology than the strength of the character, but I love that moment when Buffy seems completely broken, left to face down insurmountable odds alone and just a little bit afraid. Think about the library scene in Prophecy Girl. About half of The Prom. The entirety of Innocence. There’s just something about the moment of a very broken Buffy rising against the current Big Bad that embodies this franchise for me.
I had high hopes for Buffy Season 9 issue 10, then. Issue 9 saw Buffy broken: twisted around by Andrew’s brilliantly idiotic plan, caught between the normal life that she wants and the responsibility that she can’t avoid, stuck in a vicious UST loop with an overly emotive Spike and more than a little off-balance as secret goings-on happen on Angel Island – basically, prime Buffy territory.
So why then did Issue 10 feel like treading water? Buffy was in the perfect place to work through some anger issues via a very aerobic butt-kicking, but it just didn’t quite happen here. I’ve enjoyed Season 9 so far because it’s taken a step back, returned to the smaller storyline – no grand, universe-saving adventures here (yet) – but this might be a step too far. Things happen, yes – big things. Important things – but they feel secondary. The problem is, nothing really feels in-your-face primary.
Issue 10 resolves, at least temporarily, some of the big cliffhangers of Issue 9 – but it does so too quickly, too neatly. It feels like the action of the storyline gets skipped over for characterization, like the balance between the two oscillates between rather than within issues. Issue 10 for me worked the same as Issue 5, Slayer, Interrupted – important things are being set up. Plans have been put into motion. The payoff, however, is in another issue.
Despite feeling a bit like treading water, Issue 10 still had the reliably Buffy characteristics that make me squeal a little bit over every issue – tight writing, clean artwork, a flailing Andrew and brooding vampires perched on rooftops with long coats billowing artfully behind. And, with the optimistic end and the certainty that things are in motions, maybe I’ll get my Broken Buffy Rises moment in another issue or two.