Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #4
Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Natacha Bastos
Colorist: Eleonora Bruno
Letterer: Jodi Wynne
Reviewer: Tony Farina
Willow had discovered something rotten at the heart of Abhainn – and now her newfound friends may become her enemies! To escape with her life, Willow will tap into powers she never knew she had to save herself – and her soul.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #4 features the art of Natacha Bastos and we are all better off for having seen it. Seriously, I love the way she captures this world. Abhainn is both a paradise and a prison. That is a hard line to walk and yet Bastos does it. She convinces us that this is paradise with panels that feature Willow at her perky best and when she flirts away with Aleara. We are totally sucked in and want what is best for Willow even if that means not going back to Sunnydale. The body language Bastos draws does all the work.
Of course, as this issue progresses, we see what kind of place Abhainn really is and there are literally hell hounds. The tone shift is shocking, but Bastos doesn’t fall down on her pencil. She keeps us on edge. Willow’s fear and confusion is plastered all over her face and we have no choice but to turn the page to see how it all works out even though, we kind of don’t want to know.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #4 is the issue that most mini-series have that tries to do too much OR does too little. This issue really felt like it tried to do too much. The turn is abrupt and while I think Bastos handled the tonal switch really well, it just felt like it came on too fast and more importantly, that Willow’s actions feel rushed. Yes, she can make rash decisions sometimes, she is just a kid, but Willow is a thinker. She likes to study and plot and plan. I feel that because this issue has so much to do, we didn’t get to spend the time we should have with Willow, making decisions. There is a lot of sitting around talking early on in this issue. I appreciate that. Willow sits around and talks. So, when she has to swing into action and make a huge decision on the fly, it feels wrong. I know, that is the story. We don’t always get to make decisions when hell hounds are chasing us. Still, I just think this series in general, and this issue in particular could have been better served with more space.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #4 works really well. It moves the plot along. It keeps us guessing and most importantly, it makes us want to buy the next issue. I love a good cliffhanging ending. It is a shame this is only a mini-series because I feel like Tamaki has more to say about this world.