** The following review while careful not to reveal any actual spoilers from this issue, it does tease the reader with hints as well as spoilers from issues past. Please feel free to purchase this issue on 10/10/2012 **
Issue #14 kicks off Jane Espenson’s long awaited “Billy the Vampire Slayer” arc. While homosexuality in vampire tales is far from a new thing, and Dark Horse Comics has clearly always done their best to present comics based in reality with an absolute No-Hate policy; this is a very unique take on on combining super- heroism, vampires, romance, and the every day life of an American teenager who’s just a bit different.
Billy is 16, awkward, kind, and likes boys. He lives with his grandma, has a best friend, bullies, and even a high school crush. Billy is just like any of us, except for one very important thing. Billy is going to be a Slayer.
I found the introduction to Billy’s life beautifully handled, right down to the brilliant Aunt Beru Star Wars nod. I also loved the handling of the bullies, you can always tell it’s done right when you can find your own pity for them. Most of all, however, I loved the handling of a sixteen year old boy and his crush. Often times Hollywood leans on stereotypes and forgets that gay people are just normal people who happen to be attracted to the same gender. All people have types, and ways of expressing themselves, and relying on the same base stereotypes of male queens and butch ladies is as dumb as relying on the straight romantic stereotype of the Hollywood prince and princess motif. Sure, these exist, but to only write them shows either a very limited view of the world or a very limited writing experience. Jane Espenson clearly has an excellent grip on both reality and her script-work.
I also really loved the Zompire development, the page below charting their advancement into Billy’s world was one of my favorite parts of the issue. The 2nd being the familiar tug of grin that only comes from Whedonverse romance no matter what the orientation. Keep up the great and innovative work, guys! Can’t wait to see where this goes next. –N