Writer: Sarah Gailey
Art: Hannah Templer
Colors: Valentina Pinto, Riccardo Giardina, Francesco Segala and Gloria Martinelli
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Release Date: January 18th, 2023
Last issue, Willow rescued Buffy from being devoured by Hungrus, a Spider-Goddess who eats Slayers. But to destroy Hungrus, Willow let dark magic take hold of her, and the power has transformed her. In The Vampire Slayer #10, Willow comes to grips with her new reality-bending powers, taking stock of her friends and making a startling decision that will affect the lives of Buffy and everyone else close to Willow.
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After last issue’s action-packed battle with Hungrus, The Vampire Slayer #10 is a wonderfully trippy interlude, a journey inside Willow’s psyche and her elevated consciousness, which has been raised to nearly godlike levels.
The thing I loved most about the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series was that amidst all the vampires, witches, werewolves, etc., it had one of the most realistic portrayals of a teenage girl’s life I’d ever seen.
In many cases, death was handled realistically, as with the death of Buffy’s mom, which was caused by a simple brain aneurysm (no villain or creatures involved) and the show dealt with Buffy coping with her mother’s death for several episodes. Later in the show, when Buffy’s in college and starts a relationship with a guy who ultimately just has sex with her and dumps her, several episodes deal with Buffy grieving over a relationship she thought was serious but wasn’t. The show never treated anything in Buffy or her friends’ lives in a simple fleeting way.
The Vampire Slayer series is no different. It started with Willow and Giles casting a spell that accidentally strips Buffy of her powers and gives them to Willow, and over the course of 10 issues, the series has dealt with the ramifications of Buffy losing her identity, the guilt Willow and Giles have about wreaking havoc on her life, and how it has impacted Xander, Spike and Faith too.
Through the course of this issue, we get a fascinatingly deeper look into each of the characters through Willow’s eyes. For anyone who loved the series as much as I do, you’ll love these quiet reflections on each of the characters. Most surprising is what’s revealed about Giles and Faith, two people who always seemed like unwavering rocks of strength, but there is far more to them than what we thought.
What’s most surprising is how Willow changes over the course of the issue. You can feel the power changing her in the way she speaks and looks, and it gets progressively creepier. In one scene, she gazes at herself in a mirror, and snakes come out of her mouth and body, spinning around and trying to sink their fangs into her as she fights to hold them back. It’s a great visualization of her inner battle to keep the chaos magic power from totally overtaking her. In the end, we get a startling cliffhanger that will change the course of the series, and after this meditative interlude, I’m excited to see where the series and the characters go next.
Hannah Templer’s art, coupled with the colors of Valentina Pinto, Riccardo Giardina, Francesco Segala and Gloria Martinelli, fully engulf you in Willow’s mind in The Vampire Slayer #10. Templer’s use of off-kilter panel layouts gives the book, coupled with the grotesque details that Willow’s face goes through throughout the issue, amp up the story. The colors pop in many places, various shades of green (the color of chaos magic in the Buffy universe) flowing around the panels like mist. Templer gives the scenes where Buffy dreams of her Vampire Slayer past impact and a wonderful Universal Horror-type feel.
The Vampire Slayer #10 is a wonderful interlude, giving us deeper insights into the characters, great acid trip visuals, Willow’s internal conflict and a cliffhanger that could seriously change the course of the series.