To me, Willow represents two things I find most interesting in Buffy Season 9: the approach to publishing (mini-series running co-currently with a regular series) and this whole ‘no magic’ thing that happened at the end of the last season. Oh, and it has Willow, who is arguably the most memorable character on the show, even over our titular hero. So now that she has her own mini-series, we can see the impact of no magic from both Willow’s perspective and an entirely different one: the world she’s trapped in.
While it was a bit eye-rolling to connect magic with a sort of spark of life idea, that the contemporary Buffy world is the way it is because they’ve lost their magic, I can get behind it for maybe some implications that can speak as metaphor. You know, that thing Buffy always does so well. Writer Jeff Parker is quick to lay down his themes but also quick to get to the character everyone’s here to read and, more than anything, it makes me miss Alyson Hannigan wonderful acting more than anything else. Willow lacks her emotion and her cute factor even while Parker nails her character and dialogue. The script blends action with plot, needlessly so, to the point that the cliffhanger end could be seen from a mile away, and really only able to be met with eye rolling. So while the story isn’t consistently amazing, there’s enough to keep me entertained and interested, like the memories Willow recollects that were wonderfully nostalgic. So the book, like almost all Buffy comics, isn’t blowing anyone’s mind, but it’s certainly interesting enough.
At this point it's obvious the editors of Season 9 have settled on a house style for these books to maintain a certain level of artistic continuity, it's really too bad the style they chose isn't strong at all. The colours are too vibrant and jarring, the expressions either completely lacking or strange looking; this and the other books are just not something I actually enjoy visually. The action sequences are cramped and the characters are cartoonish in a way that isn’t redeeming or really playing off the recognized Alice in Wonderland motifs to any great effect. Overall, I just dislike the art of all these books, even if the story itself is quite good. If the exterior work, the two incredible covers this book has by David Mack and Megan Lara, could ever match the inside, these books would be so much stronger.
Grade: 6.5/10 Good. Inconsistent in art and story, but good.