Buffy the Vampire Slayer #12 made news media headlines due to the Satsu development in the story. Following just a few weeks later, does #13 hit any more hot button issues? Well, no, but it definitely delivers the funniest issue of the series yet.
Writer: Drew Goddard
Nowadays Drew Goddard is “the Cloverfield guy,” but prior to his breakthrough film he’d been writing TV for a long time. He’s been a successful scribe on Alias, Angel, and, yes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Goddard’s work on the Buffy comic is so far matched only by Joss Whedon’s own work in the opening arc.
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Georges Jeanty has been the series artist since the beginning of the series, aside from one or two filler issues. He’s slated to be replaced by Karl Moline (artist of Joss Whedon’s Fray), and even though Moline is a great artist in his own right, I’m really dreading missing Jeanty’s superb work with these characters.
Previously: Issue #12 was the beginning of the Wolves at the Gate “episode.” The most significant development was Buffy’s encounter with a group of Japanese vampires that could fly and transform, abilities previously possessed only by Dracula. They fought her and managed to make off with the Slayer Scythe. Oh yeah, and Buffy was in bed with fellow Slayer Satsu, in case you missed the news.
Synopsis: The second issue of Wolves at the Gate opens with Xander and Renee arriving at Dracula’s castle to question him about how his powers ended up in the hands of some fly-by-night (badum-ch) vampires. The tricky bit to this is that Xander is still under Dracula’s thrall from way back in the “Buffy Vs. Dracula” episode of the TV series. This leads to some awkwardness between Xander and his potential girlfriend Renee.
Eventually they are able to learn that Dracula wagered the secrets to his powers and lost them to the Japanese vampires in a game of pai-gow in Tibet in hopes of winning a motorcycle. Prideful and furious that his abilities are being exploited by lesser vampires, Dracula raids his armory and prepares to go hunting with Xander and Renee.
Meanwhile back at the Slayer castle, we see Andrew lecturing the Slayers about Dracula and how he’s different from other “vampyres.” This scene is one of the funniest of the series, not just because Andrew is naturally hilarious and Goddard writes him well, but also because he delivers the lecture while wearing George Hamilton’s authentic vampire suit from Love at First Bite. In the midst of all of Andrew’s embellishments, we learn that sometime after Anya’s death in “Chosen,” Xander left the Slayers and went to stay with Dracula in Transylvania. According to Andrew, he was there for a few months and bonded with the vampire, but most of the details in all of Andrew’s stories can be taken with a grain of salt (see the classic “Storyteller” episode of Buffy). Nevertheless, it’s clear that Xander did spend some time with the Count between seasons seven and eight, a bit of backstory we haven’t heard about until now.
Inside the Slayer HQ, Buffy is in communication with another Slayer, Aiko, who is on the trail of a Tokyo vampire named Toru, who reputedly can change into a wolf form. Aiko is tracking Toru through the city and is reporting in to the Slayers as she progresses. Convinced that Aiko is on the right track, Buffy orders all the Slayers to mount up and head to Tokyo to recover the Scythe. By her professional attitude towards Satsu, it sounds like their fling was indeed a one issue stand. Buffy has her eye on the mission and will not let herself enter into a “real” relationship. As Willow explains it to Satsu on the flight to Tokyo, “She’s alone. She’s vulnerable. And she has the weight of the world on her slender shoulders… She’s not like us. She’s the general, we’re the army, and that’s never gonna change.”
Before they land in Tokyo, Buffy checks in with Aiko as she is closing in on the culprit vampires. Unfortunately, they’ve been onto her all along and have set a trap for her. The issue ends with Aiko falling at the hands of the superpowered vampires and having her blood drunk by Toru.