Comic Book Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 12: The Reckoning #4

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It stings that this week is the finale issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Well, not the finale overall for Buffy comics, but the final “Season”. I’m just proud that I can say that I was someone who stuck through with this series from start to finish. My fondest moment of investing in this franchise was when season 10 first came around and Dark Horse did their Buffy challenge. Me and my friend were quick to absorb everything between the show and the books leading up to S10. I look at those BRICKS collecting the comic series, and that says a lot about what the adventure meant to me.

Harth stealing the power of the Slayers was probably the worst case scenario for Buffy, Fray, the Scoobies, but I love the twist that nothing is as predicted from the history books. This story stayed true to the idea that the minute you work against time with knowledge of what comes next, time is immediately changed. Buffy getting tossed into Hell along with the demon army was probably the best case scenario. However, now? That could turn into anyone else, and who lived before might be who lives this time around. The sense of urgency quickly picked up as well. With a stronger determination to get the job done, these heroes were pretty much working on pure adrenaline. That went more for one character who went above and beyond when the call came for someone to made a hard call. I admired who they chose in said moment because she always had the heart of a hero, yet just needed the right motivation for that to truly manifest.

How Harth was defeated, because of course he was going to be defeated one way or another, definitely catches you off guard. I think any of us might have been prepared for a bigger moment, but I like that they went for something that really challenged what it means to have all that power at your command. The things you think you’re now capable of versus what you know you can do. I don’t think any reader should feel like they wanted more since there was a lot for this one season to pack into four issues. I’m commend the ability that have towards making sure every action was decisive at the end of the day.

As the villain for season 12, I do like what Harth had to offer in contrast to the rest of the big bads who came before him. He accomplished what most demons wish they could under the same circumstances. Fighting the same war, on the same side, and taking out just as many slayers as were demons on their side. The threat was legitimate, and one who challenged the very future of these heroes as a whole.

What was truly heartwarming was the way they approached wrapping up this story for everyone. They made sure that no one would get the idea that the journey was continuing. Everyone found their end, their direction, and the path that they were meant to be set on. I almost shed a tear because there was so much growth and maturity seen that you knew could only come from these characters reaching a point in their lives where they must have themselves figured out.

It was a tough pill to swallow for this final season that we had a different art team than who we started with, but that’s only a problem when those artists aren’t quality choices. Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, Dan Brown, Andy Owens, and Dexter Vines were appreciated for what they were able to bring out in this climax. When they got a handle of these characters, there was nothing they couldn’t do. So much going from panel to panel, always someone getting hacked, slashed, knocked silly, and never giving up quality for quantity in the process. So many sound effects being thrown around as well, which only added to the intensity of the battle visually. The appearance of a certain Old One was probably the one thing I loved most about their work. I can never get over that monstrous composition, and the unique textures to the armor and skin. That aside, I loved the color work in this issue most out of the four. Jackson took command of warm colors and really set an atmosphere that left you bracing for what came next. To even switch from apocalyptic colors to bright and hopeful matched the roller coaster of emotions you had to feel when so much action and closure is packed into one issue.

By the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 12: The Reckoning #4, I felt like I was ready to put the book down and say I’m hyped for the new show. This final season was the perfect love letter to fans and this series. To see the way they have grown, fought for each other, fought for a better future. A true coming of age story that challenged what it is like connecting to a world that you’re either prepared for, or have to adjust to. The supernatural world is a doozie, but so is the real world, and who couldn’t forget every moment where we could relate to their hurdles.

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