Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #9 Review – Return to Sunnydale Part 2

Buffy Season 10 Issue 9 Cover Art by Steve Morris from Dark Horse Comics

If you ask most Buffy fans which regulars from the series they’d like to see return, or resurrected, what do you think they’d say?  Think about it… think hard. It’s not an easy choice, is it? Nor is it an impossible one. I do think there’s one “fan favorite” that would win hands down, however.

In the Buffyverse we’ve seen Angel return from a hell dimension and Spike go from soulless vampire, to ensouled vampire, to ghost, to corporeal being again. So anything is possible… but is it right?

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Buffy Season 10 Issue 9 Cover Variant by Rebekah Isaacs from Dark Horse Comics

TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES

It’s a quandary isn’t it? If you bring someone back to from the dead there should be consequences, and even then, doesn’t that lower the stakes if you know there’s always some magical “get out of jail free” card?

Still, we didn’t mind when Buffy was returned to us – albeit somewhat psychologically scarred – after her death in Season 5, when Willow and her friends chose to resurrect her with dark magic. But there was a price… There is always a price.  A life for a life… and lasting ramifications for Buffy and the Scoobies.

You would think they’d all learned their lesson on that one. Well, some folks never learn, as we found out in last month’s issue.

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Buffy Season 10 Issue 9 Preview Panel

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE ANDREW?

This issue picks up where we left off – with Buffy, Spike, Willow and Andrew – back in Sunnydale, during Samhain, with a hell of a lotta spooky-doos and magic don’ts right at the Hellmouth.

When we last saw Andrew, he was attempting some magic don’ts of his own, using the Vampyr tome. Resurrection spells require a great deal of dark energy, and we all know there is no such thing as a free ride. Needless to say, there are some unwanted side effects, namely a soul-eating beastie of epic proportions.

Of course, this trip home to Sunnydale also leads to some soul-searching for our heroes and perhaps some promising confessions. Redemption, forgiveness and acceptance are recurring themes in the Buffyverse, and ones which come up again in “Return to Sunnydale”.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Without giving too much more away, I will say Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs (along with Dan Jackson and with stunning cover art by Steve Morris) deliver another strong installment for Season 10. And while Buffy fans may not get the ending they were hoping for, they do get an emotional and satisfying resolution to the Halloween story. Certainly worth the emotional ride.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 Issue #9 from Dark Horse Comics is out today at a comic book store near you!

Hunky Highlanders, Time Travellers & Fair Ladies, Oh My!

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Ron Moore (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica) is back again, this time as the Executive Producer for the Starz Original Series Outlander, starring Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan.

WHAT IT IS 

Outlander (not be confused with the 2008 movie of the same name) is based on the series of (currently 8) novels by Diana Gabaldon. Outlander follows the adventures of Claire Randall (Balfe), a World War II combat nurse. While on a trip to Scotland (near Inverness) with her husband Frank (an academic, played by Tobias Menzies), with whom she has only just been reunited after a 5 year absence, Claire manages to fall through time, 200 hundred years into the past. Right place, wrong timezone. That’ll teach her to roam about an ancient mystical site (stone circle and everything), where only hours before a Samhain ritual had been performed.

Sadly for Claire, she ends up smack dab in the middle of the conflict between the British Redcoats and the Scots in 1743 (one of many leading up to the famous and bloody Battle of Culloden in 1746).

Lost and confused, Claire dodges musket fire and an attempted rape at the hands of Captain Black Jack Randall, a British soldier and nasty piece of work, who happens to look a good deal like someone from Claire’s past (or is it future?) life… hmmm… (having a Dark Shadows flashback, but I digress).

KILTS and BODICE RIPPERS

Twice injured and twice saved by Claire, Jamie Fraser (Heughan), a Scottish rebel, is more than just a little grateful. Luckily in helping Jamie, Claire proves herself useful to his clan, saving her own skin in the process. She can use all the allies she can get in this wilderness. Claire is a rational person, but she knows she’s not in 1945 anymore.

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Sparks fly from the word go between Claire and Jamie (for some reason the words bodice-ripping come to mind whenever he’s on screen) and one can only hope for some steamy scenes involving the pair (hopefully sooner rather than later, please…).

IMPRESSIONS

I found the pace of the first half of the opening episode a bit sluggish. Thankfully, things pick right up once we’re in 1743. Though I found Claire’s voiceover as a plot device, a bit overused, and even jarring at times, I can forgive it. Hopefully, as the series progresses, there’ll be less of a need to telegraph her thoughts in this manner. I did enjoy the references to Celtic magic and pagan rituals, and hope we’ll be seeing more of that as time goes on.

Outlander has all the makings of a successful drama – romance, conflict, beautiful locations, and a strong heroine in Claire. She’s a woman ahead of her time – in both worlds. Even by today’s standards, Claire is intelligent, skilled, passionate, tough, and outspoken. A formidable woman indeed.

From what I’ve heard, fans of the books can rest easy, as the television adaptation (thus far) seems rather faithful.

For more on the Outlander series of books, visit Diana Gabaldon’s site.

For a look at the TV series, check out the official Starz trailer below.

Outlander airs Saturdays at 9pm on Starz.