WRITTEN BY: MARIKO TAMAKI
ILLUSTRATED BY: NATACHA BUSTOS
COLORED BY: ELEONORA BRUNI
LETTERED BY: JODI WYNNE
Time and timing is an often overlooked component of many aspects of our lives. Take for example this issue, this series featuring Willow by Boom Studios. For it’s part this comic delivers an opportunity for a critical piece of the Scoobies to come to the forefront. Unfortunately, it is that very term, “delivery”, that prevents this experience from being as truly satisfying as I initially hoped for.
This issue finds Willow realizing the reality of her situation in Abhainn. Rather than use this as an opportunity to showcase a battle of witches, Tamaki opts to let more of Willow’s base instincts take over. When magic and might would serve the comic from an artistic standpoint, having Willow act like the nerd she is at times works. This consistency to the character proves Tamaki understood who Willow is and makes sure to impress this upon the audience. Teenage Willow would much rather talk it out than battle, at least for now.
The pacing of this issue is slightly disappointing. This too is a result of the means in which the conflict is resolved. The few panels of action happen at such a rapid pace it never felt like Willow was in true danger. What these scenes did however was allow for flashes of colors and bright tones to the punctuate the pages that had until that point been dark and subdued. Taking place at night, Willow’s standoff is punctuated by flashes of magenta magic being summoned. Even though I felt too much dialogue dominated this issue, this is the moment that Bustos and Bruni are able to give us a taste of what Willow is truly capable of.
Willow isn’t alone in her defeat of Aelara. Her ally is revealed, although this individuals actions of late make me want to use that term lightly. This for me is where “delivery” is truly a problem. It is during the resolution and explanation of Willow’s recent experience that much of what I had hoped to find in this series was lost. Willow left Sunnydale to find herself. She nearly lost herself in a sense of belonging and community in Abhainn. The blessing and the curse of Willow is it is part of a connected universe. The conclusion of this issue/series was somewhat revealed in issues of Buffy already. But this was Willow’s story.