World’s need rules, whether it be gravity or seasonal changes. However in fictional worlds rules can sometimes be a little looser but without them storylines can fail. The new season of Buffy has taken the old rule book and thrown it out of the window, in its place we have the new rules that this arc takes it names from. The first issue was action filled and even though we get the end of the confrontation here this issue is more concerned with starting the reader on the road to understanding. Both issues work well together and I prefer this structure as the opening helped hook new readers and keep the strength of the narrative.
The return of Giles in his Harry Potter guise was pretty much the biggest shock to most in the first issue. His death was devastating but thanks to the efforts of Angel and Faith he is now back, of course the new way of the world has caused him to become a child. The interesting point is he is still as knowledgeable but emotionally and physically he is a child. This looks sure to cause strife within the Scooby gang as the once father figure of the group is no a different person. It looks the new dynamic will be tested and we get some early warning signs that all in Scoobydom may not be smelling of roses in the long term.
Of courses the New Rules apply to more than just the magic, one of the strengths of the Buffy franchise has always been the relationships the gang have. Whether it’s with other members of the collective or new characters each one has brought something new and helped the franchise to grow. One of these relationships ended years ago with the death of Anja but now the former demon who gave up her immortality, only to be killed is now haunting her former beau. It’s a great twist on the idea of the way magic is malfunctioning and we get more insight into this most odd of situations in this episode. I’m happy to say thanks to this and the return of another character Xander gets plenty of panel time and as always brings the comic relief that many love.
In combination with episode one, this is probably the strongest opening to a Buffy Season ever. The balance of action with exposition feels pitched perfectly. However as a single issue this is heavier in narrative and may lose new readers who neglected to start at the first issue. For fans of the actual characters in the Buffyverse, this will feel like a fun frolic as we are reacquainted with the world as well as learning about its new Rules.
Issue Rating 4/5
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