Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #3
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Natacha Bustos
The latest issue of “Willow” is out. Our main character has been staying in this mysterious town of Abhainn. Here she’s met a woman named Aelara who seems to have an almost hypnotic effect on her. She easily convinces Willow to stay in the town and join her at a bonfire when the witch considers leaving. Despite the icy reception, Willow was receiving from the town residents she seemed happy to stay for the event. It felt almost unnatural how our protagonist’s mindset would change after each conversation with Aelara. At the climax of the last issue, Willow discovered the entire town was filled with Witches and here we are.
The story for this issue starts off very similar to the last one. Tamaki even mentions the film “Groundhog Day” to highlight the similarities as Willow wakes up. Things are a little different though. The residents suddenly act warm and friendly towards Willow and the once-quiet town is now jam-packed with witches. The whole situation freaks Willow out and she starts to wonder what’s going on here. Right away it’s a stark contrast in attitude compared to the bonfire pages of the last issue. That helps not only highlight the creepiness of Abhainn but the potential supernatural influence Aelara may be having on Willow.
Mariko continues to get the humour of the show and Willow’s personality as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews. The story itself is strong as Willow slowly realizes something is wrong and starts to take action. There are moments that tease conflict with the residents but this issue is more set-up work. Hopefully, that’ll mean the final two issues will have a bit more excitement to them.
The artwork by Bustos continues to look brilliant. Natacha’s cartoonish style mixed with the creepy story is a nice contrast and the characters continue to be expressive. This issue isn’t particularly inventive with its artwork compared to the last two. This is largely due to the lack of over-the-top dream sequences that give the artist an excuse to go wild. There are still things that should be praised though. The pages where magic is used look utterly beautiful. The colours are used well too. There is a brief sequence where we see Xander lying on a bed. Most of the pages use bright, happy colours but this uses darker, more muted tones. It helps the moment stand out and creates a serious mood around it. There’s also a nice contrast between the bright skies of Abhainn and the darker ones in the forest outside it. It leaves you wondering “Is it just to indicate time of day or is there something else behind this?”
Lettering is decent throughout the issue. We get the use of bold text to highlight certain words and phrases. It also helps indicate a character’s tone of voice during dialogue. There’s also the differently coloured narration boxes to help the reader understand who’s talking at a given time. Pink for Willow and yellow for Aelara. Both are nice little techniques that help make the book easier to understand for readers.
Overall, this was a good issue but not particularly mind-blowing or anything. Like the last issue, this isn’t particularly exciting but it helps build towards the big blow-off to this story. The art and lettering are less creative than previous issues but they still do their job nicely. I can’t really complain too much about them. My only worry is that the comic has been very slow and heavy on set-up across these last two issues. Readers tend to be more used to the excitement in their comics nowadays. I appreciate a slow-burn in a story so I don’t mind that approach. If the final two don’t deliver a satisfying conclusion though then I think that could blow up in Tamaki’s face. As an individual issue in the series though, this was solid and well worth a read.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #3
This is a decent issue of Willow but it's kinda mediocre in terms of story and character. Willow starts to realise something is amiss in Abhainn, much like last issue and it does have a somewhat repetitive feel due to that. Tamaki portrays the town and its residents differently and makes them feel a bit creepier through a sudden change in attitude though. By the end of this book you get the feeling that the next issue will kick off some major events but as an individual book this issue falls flat at times. The artwork continues to be solid and the lettering throughout the issue was decent. A good issue but it does feel a bit like filler at times.