Warning: Contains spoilers for Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer Special #1!Buffy Summers has officially been confirmed to be the perfect Slayer for the ’90s, but not necessarily for 2023. When the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer series debuted in 1997, it was a smash hit among audiences for its trademark wit and epic vampire fights. Buffy and her fellow defenders of Sunnyvale have become cultural icons and hold a special place in the hearts of fans. When the show ended and moved to the world of comics, Buffy’s stories became even more popular as the series saw a tremendous run in 2022. However, now a new Slayer has been crowned and has essentially shown that Buffy was great for her time, but she’s not the Slayer that’s needed for 2023.
In Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer Special #1 by Casey Gilly, Joe Jaro, Maria Keane and Lea Caballero; Thessaly, the newest Slayer in training, essentially calls out Buffy for how she was a product of her time. This isn’t to say that she’s not appreciative of Buffy’s training as she does see it as crucial to helping her take on dark threats. However, she mentions that Buffy’s worldview during her tenure as Slayer made her “allergic to bad-adjacent things.” In Thessaly’s view, one of Buffy’s biggest flaws is seeing anyone even remotely bad as a threat. Thessaly, on the other hand, sees things more than that because she knows that not every vampire or monster is truly evil.
Thessaly’s Connection to Willow Makes Her See the World in Gray
While Buffy tends to see evil in black and white terms, Thessaly has a differing opinion. This is all stems from her being able to channel the darker magic used by her mother, Willow, but use it for good as the next Slayer. There have been times throughout the story where she uses her abilities for the greater good rather than trying to further her own game. However, she feels that if Buffy were still the Slayer, Thessaly would immediately be deemed an enemy by Buffy and be a priority target. Thessaly doesn’t see the world in this light. Using Spike as an example, she explains that he’s not like other vampires as he has worked with Buffy to help train her as the new Giles. This has helped her see the monster world as more gray than Buffy ever did. Sure, a good amount of the monsters they face may be evil, but that doesn’t mean they all are.
Thessaly Ultimately Channels Real World Change
What makes this reveal about Buffy’s out-of-date mindset is how it echoes real-world shifts in society. During the 1990s, entertainment was dominated by crude stereotypes of different minority groups, turning them into jokes or other problematic depictions. However, as years have gone on, society has shifted to be more understanding of other human experiences. This has led to constant fighting between people about “political correctness” in media when the truth is people are being more mindful of others. New stories are attempting to be cautious of how other humans are shown in an effort to be more understanding. The world isn’t black and white, and Thessaly represents the growing shift in the public conscious as she points out the problems of Buffy’s 90s worldview.
This isn’t to say that Buffy is now a bad person. In fact, just the opposite. For her time, she was a good person who was just doing her best to save the world. However, as time has passed and the world has shifted, her views on evil have become outdated with Thessaly now leading the charge for the future. The Slayer’s powers are fascinating in a way as they seem to understand changes in public perception. While they saw Buffy Summers as the best possible candidate for the time, their shift to Thessaly years later shows that these powers are aware of not just who can defeat vampires but also do it in a way that reflects their point in time.
More: Buffy Has Fixed Xander’s Creepy ’90s Love Life
Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer Special #1 is available now from Boom! Studios!