It's quite possible that at some point in time, both, Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg have set foot inside the writer's room of your favorite dorky TV show. Between the two, they've worked on Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, Dexter, Warehouse 13, Torchwood, and Game of Thrones. Before the Cylons and serial killers, however, the pair gained recognition for their work on the cult hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
BTVS Season 9 #14 marks the seasonal return of Greenberg and Espenson to the Buffy-verse. It's an unsaid tradition, put into place ever since the series left prime time for page and panel. Fortunately, they haven't forgotten to bring that unique brand of honesty and progressiveness that Buffy was and is still known for.
Titled "Billy the Vampire Slayer," issue 14 veers away from Buffy's current end-of-the-world-drama, opting to focus on the small town angst of a vigilante slayer by the name of Billy. A modest teenager with a Balboa-styled workout regiment, Billy's decision to be openly gay is an incomplete victory when you consider the fact that he can't muster the strength to ask out "cute Devon." That's not to say, however, that his lifestyle choice is without consequence. Billy still has to contend with the expected anti-gay nonsense provided by the local high school juice-heads. Good thing all that narrow-mindedness is about to give way to a Zombie-Vampire invasion --- a trickle down effect brought on by Buffy's actions several miles away.
Long after its cancellation, the Buffy franchise still humbly prides itself on approaching the horror genre with earnest characterization and matter-of-fact dialogue. Espenson and Greenberg introduce their newly drafted slayer with the same type of legitimacy as any of the series' key players. It allows this two-part aside to feel every bit as authentic as the seasons that preceded it instead of a gimmick.
While specific media outlets have caught on to the news of the first gay male slayer (albeit, "slayer" in name only), when compared to Marvel and DC in recent months, publisher Dark Horse hasn't used the angle in an exploitative manner (it wasn't even acknowledged in the advance Previews description). Intentional or otherwise, the move to not use sexual preference as a sales boost proves that progression doesn't have to be a competition of "me first," but a unique opportunity to show that anyone can be the chosen one. And, really...isn't that what our obsession with superpowers is all about?