Buffy Season Ten #16 is a successful start to what will probably be the climactic storyline of the Season Ten Buffyverse with its character driven storytelling in both art and writing with splashes of action. Gage uses the pre-existing emotional connections between important characters like Buffy, Angel, and Spike to correspond with the raised stakes in their fight against the Big Bad, Archaeus. Archaeus uses Angel and Spike’s pasts to tempt them to become soulless killers once again, and they must also confront their pasts with Buffy and each other in order to become effective allies to the Slayer and Scoobies. Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs effectively use both internal and external conflict along with one of the greatest fictional love triangles to kick off this mini-crossover in a way that will make fans smile and squee.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Ten #7 shows that Spike and Xander together as roommates is both comedic and dramatic gold. Christos Gage and Nicholas Brendon land joke after joke starting with the first page where Spike asks Xander to move over his “dolls” so he can have room for his hundreds (possibly thousands) of Soap Digests. (Vampires watching soap operas makes weird, yet logical sense. You have to do something to pass the time while the sun is up, and not everyone can read Jean-Paul Sartre in the original French like Angel.) Artist Rebekah Isaacs adds some more humor with her spot-on reaction shots of the other characters’ faces to Spike and Xander’s odd couple antics. An issue of Spike and Xander trading banter would be an entertaining read in and of itself, but Gage and Brendon do what Buffy did and still does best by mixing its comedy with a heavy helping of interpersonal drama and a focus on character relationships. Beyond the hilarious banter, hijinks, and strange, yet fitting baddie, Spike and Xander have a lot in common.
“New Rules: Part Two” picks up immediately after the previous issue left off, in the middle of a daytime brawl between Buffy and her Scoobies, and a gang of vampires who are mysteriously immune to sunlight, and who can shapeshift into ravenous animals. A daytime vampire battle is unlike anything we’ve seen in this series before, its universe in the midst of establishing a new status quo. When Buffy and Giles look through the “Vampyr” book, they notice a mostly blank book, but also new pages springing forth with new information. The rules of the vampires are currently being rewritten, and as long as there are blank pages, there are sure to be more surprises to come in regards to their abilities.