Buffy the Vampire Slayer: WillowWonderland
Script: Jeff Parker and Christos Gage
Pencils: Brian Ching
Inks: Jason Gorder
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Reviewed from NetGalley ARC
Rating: R Creative Must
Just months after Buffy destroys the seed of magic in order to save the world (again), Willow starts to notice changes all around her. Her friends just think she misses the power she had when magic was around; however, power is not the only thing missing. Rainbows only have two colors, no one can hit a note, suicide rates are rising, and creativity is slowly deteriorating. As she leaves to find a solution, Willow explores new dimensions and herself while confronting her past. Giant worms try to eat her; she’s drugged and kept pliant; a large blue caterpillar gives her magic memory water; the protagonist overcomes the challenges that hamper her on the way to her goal–finding or creating a pipeline of magic that flows back to Earth.
Any Buffyverse fan will enjoy this side-trip that features Willow the witch and her delicate relationship with magic. The artists rendered highly detailed comic-style graphics, which allows the reader to better visualize the fantastical landscapes, which the characters jump between during their quest. Many of the characters play no bigger part than to reaffirm the protagonist’s inner monolog as she tries to find the root of her magic anxieties. Fortunately, Willow didn’t come across as whiny, which is a recurring problem when other authors portray self-doubt and misery. To best understand this iteration of Buffy, the reader needs to have a working knowledge of the seven season television program and the Season 8 comic series. Reading Season 9, Faith & Angel, and even Spike’s side story will give the reader an even deeper appreciation for Willow’s journey to bring magic back to Earth. By the end of this graphic novel, the reader will wonder how many hidden references were included. The many clues about where Season 9 will take the fan base as Joss Whedon’s brain child continues to grow in unpredictable ways are fun to search out.
This book would make a great addition to any collection. Libraries will be glad to have another strong female character as well as an adventure fantasy that features soul searching and self-confidence. Physical battles amongst mental challenges make this a great read and a worthy addition to the Buffyverse.