Buffy fixes Xander's creepy '90s love life
By today's standards, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Xander could be considered a stereotypically "nice guy," but the new comics have modernized the character.
Warning! Spoilers for The Vampire Slayer #9 ahead!
In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Xander Harris has never been lucky in love, especially when he was originally on the show, he was very much like a 90s archetype. When he was first introduced, at least for the first few seasons, Xander's character metaphor was that of a lovelorn man in "Friend Zone" who is hopelessly in love with a female star.
Although popular culture in the 1990s was rife with this stereotyped character, the character seems to have fallen out of favor in recent memory. Modern eyes have largely re-evaluated and recast characters like Xander, flawed and scary at best, pathetic and creepy at worst. Today, critics would label Xander an incel or the classic "nice guy."
The latest Buffy comics spin-off, The Vampire Slayer, seems to realize this, and seems to go to great lengths to redefine Xander in modern terms. While Xander is still as unlucky in love as ever, his journey becomes all the more relevant and tragic when he is reframed as an unlucky man as he pursues the emotional one withholding. This is especially evident in Sarah Gailey and Hannah Templer's The Vampire Slayer #9, where Xander expresses a series of annoyances he has with his partner Tony. Xander's situation seems to be more complicated, as readers remember that the series has been edging closer to a teased relationship with Spike, who initially only pursued Xander in hopes of getting closer to the killer through her friends learning about her weaknesses.
Xander Harris Is No Longer A Stereotypical "Nice Guy"
Not many people can understand a guy who suffers from nice guy syndrome and complains at every opportunity, like he does early on in the show. However, many people today can relate to being in a relationship where their love is not being reciprocated like they should be. Fans also easily relate to those who find themselves constantly drawn to people they can't connect to emotionally. Xander in the current iteration falls into these categories. Casting Xander as someone who always seems destined to fall in love with the wrong people makes his character more sympathetic than in those early seasons of Buffy, making him easier to root for.
see how These journeys into Xander open the door to more rewarding emotional character beats. For example, after an entire series showing Xander being constantly ignored or let down by Tony and seeing him grow more and more frustrated with the ordeal, it was nice to see him finally conclude in Vampire Hunter #9 that he was being abused rather than trying to Tony's sake justifies his abuse. The best character development Xander could get from being a good guy in the original series was to accept his role as Buffy's friend and move on to another romantic interest. Here, though, the new version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer offers the best makeover Xander Harris could ask for.
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