"Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9" is about to hit its one-year mark and it's been an odd year indeed. After opening with a post-magic status quo of Buffy trying to make ends meet as a coffee barista and living a normal life, we've jumped everywhere from pregnancy scare to robotic doubles. This month, a lot of that strangeness is being left behind for a story that feels more reasonable.
The basic theme of Buffy trying to survive in the real world is still there, but this time thanks to former slayer Kennedy's bodyguard company, it's one that seems to fit. As charming as the character of Buffy could be at times, shifting her from a customer service job to protecting people with her strength seems like such a no-brainer that it's almost hard to believe that it took this long.
Andrew Chambliss still manages to get a lot of well-placed drama out of this set-up, though, as we're reminded of how Buffy finds herself left behind in a new world order she caused; her dealings with various demons and supernatural monsters on the streets is a little heavy-handed in parts, but it's a point that needs to be made. Here's the best thing about it, though: Chambliss makes Buffy's path through those points feel satisfying when the dust settles. It would be easy to feel like it's all for show, but Chambliss makes Buffy's little journey this month feel natural and good, and it gives me a lot of hope for the rest of the "Guarded" storyline.
Georges Jeanty's art has been all over the place on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9," with some issues feeling spot-on and others a little weak. This one feels more towards the latter when it comes to characters and their faces. I understand that likenesses are difficult to nail, but I wouldn't have recognized Kennedy without being told it was her and Buffy herself comes across a little misshapen in far too many places. Jeanty's drawings of Sarah Michelle Gellar are normally a bit more polished than these, and it's not what I've come to expect.
Visual hiccups aside, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9" #11 is definitely one of the better issues of the series, and it makes me feel like the comic is back on track. With a great cliffhanger to lead into next month as well, I'm definitely excited to see what happens next. This is the sort of writing I like to see about my favorite slayer.