With so many comic books to cover weekly it’s tough getting to every comic book. I was able to review The Sacrificers #1 and X-Men #25 earlier in the week. To give coverage to other releases I’ve put together a new comic book review round up. This week’s comic books in the spotlight are Buffy: The Last Vampire Slayer #1, Scarlet Witch #7, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin – The Lost Years #5. Find out how these comic books turned out with the reviews below.
Writer: Casey Gilly
Artist: Oriol Roig
Colorist: Gloria Martinelli
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Set in the alternate universe created 2021 Buffy: The Last Vampire Slayer mini-series this sequel series picks up several years later. Casey Gilly and Oriol Roig fully dive into this being a sequel series Thessaly Maclay Rosenberg, daughter of Willow and Tara, is the focus with Buffy and Spike getting their moments. Because of that this isn’t a new reader friendly experience. You do need the knowledge of what happened in the original series to get what is going on when the 2023 Buffy: The Last Vampire Slayer #1 starts.
Unlike the prequel, Buffy: The Last Vampire Slayer #1 is a more character focused start. The greater world of this universe is not fully explored. Given what happened before is a good choice. Much of the focus is on Thessaly’s development as both a slayer and witch. Even when she is not on screen the conversations Buffy and others have further the narrative of Thessaly as the new Slayer. Taking this approach does open more of an opportunity to show what makes Thessaly different as a teen from when Buffy had the role at a similar age.
This issue also highlights how even though she is watching over Thessaly the older Buffy is not someone that is made to be a mentor. Buffy, especially in her older age, is a solo act. That brings up a very heavy scene between Buffy and Spike that shows the wait the former still carries after all this time.
Buffy: The Last Vampire Slayer #1 is a solid start to this sequel series. This was a very character focused beginning as we see where Buffy and new Slayer Thessaly Maclay Rosenberg are at after a time jump. That works if you have read the first series. If you haven’t read the 2021 Buffy: The Last Vampire Slayer then I recommend going back to read that before starting this sequel.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Writers: Steve Orlando and Jonathan Hickman
Artists: Lorenzo Tammetta and Sara Pichelli
Colorist: Frank William
Letterer: Cory Petit
Scarlet Witch #7 further shows how well Steve Orlando understands how to balance strong character work with a fantasy adventure. Neither the interaction with Wanda Maximoff and who turns out to Magneto’s clone, Joseph, who returns or Wanda’s Wizard of Oz-like adventure feel out of place with each other. This speaks not only to Orlando but also Lorenzo Tammetta’s talents as a storyteller that these two distinct stories tell one narrative of Scarlet Witch’s growth.
Obviously the most impactful part of Scarlet Witch #7 is the return of Magneto’s clone, Joseph, which starts and bookends this issue. It speaks to how much Orlando respect the reader that they don’t create a big mystery around this return by confirming it was Joseph, not Magneto, who returned. Trying to trick Wanda or the reader would’ve lessened the impact of Magneto’s life sacrifice during A.X.E.: Judgment Day. By going with this route we got a more meaningful interaction hat showed Wanda’s growth and how much of an impact Orchis’ Hellfire Gala attack is having on the Marvel Universe.
The Wizard of Oz story that happens in the middle of Scarlet Witch #7 was transitioned well to continue the direction of this series. Having Wanda deal with a variety of threats and adventures showcases the flexibility there is with the storytelling with her character. While she is a magic based hero Wanda’s history makes it so she can go between regular superhero and high fantasy adventures without feeling out of place. This adventure to the Emerald Castle also further drives home how Wanda has a variety of ways to use her powers to deal with problems she is helping others with.
The three-page G.O.D.S. back-up story by Jonathan Hickman and Sara Pichelli was a solid teaser for the upcoming Hickman series. The new character, Hexfinder, is given a strong presentation from her dialogue to character design that makes her an intriguing character to look forward to learning more about. Other than that this was just another good teaser for the G.O.D.S. series.
Steve Orlando continues the consistent excellence with Scarlet Witch #7. The return of Magneto’s clone is given the weight it needed. The Wizard of Oz adventure in the middle also further showcased the versatility in storytelling with Wanda Maximoff as the series lead. Combining that with strong artwork from Lorenzo Tammetta the result is yet another example of what makes this one of the best comic books on the market right now.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Writers: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Artists: S.L. Gallant, Ben Bishop, Kevin Eastman
Inker: Maria Keane
Colorist: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letterer: Shawn Lee
The Lost Years #5 accomplishes concluding what this series set out to do in exploring how Michelangelo became who he did at the start of The Last Ronin. This final issue wraps up by showing us how Michelangelo truly accomplished becoming a master of all disciplines he set out to learn. The road wasn’t easy at all and that is reflective in his approach with every interaction and fight he gets into.
No doubt there wasn’t any sense of worry or concern for Michelangelo since we know where his story The Last Ronin ends up. But that was never the point of this series. This was to see how Michelangelo live this entire life driven by tragedy to become the ninja he nor fans ever thought he had to be. What was most impressive about the work Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz did was highlight how exhausting this journey was. Even if Michelangelo did not say it this is reflective in the way he talks and how he carries himself physically in and out of fights. Which is where S.L. Gallant’s artwork shines to compliment Eastman and Waltz’s dialogue.
Michelangelo’s journey is then reflected in how it all sets up what the next generation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in The Last Ronin Universe. While Casey Marie Jones, along with her mother April O’Neil, had to learn on the job to be the sensei of the new generation of Ninja Turtles she ultimately accomplishes that. And she accomplishes that by having the new Ninja Turtles be reflective of the evolution Michelangelo had to go through as ninja by becoming a master of multiple disciplines. In the process Casey was also able to emphasize how as a master of multiple disciplines also means they are to fight as one family.
The Lost Years #5 wraps up this mini-series in a way that compliments both how The Last Ronin started and ended. Michelangelo’s is completed to give greater depth to how he started when we opened The Last Ronin #1. Then, the ending sets the stage for the next generation of Ninja Turtles with Casey Marie Jones continuing Michelangelo’s legacy in a powerful way. If you were a fan of The Last Ronin make sure to pick up this series when it comes out in trade paperback form.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10