Comics Review: Buffy Season 8

Back to the Action
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight: Time of Your Life # 1 – Time of your Life
After the last trade paperback, which was mostly laughs, we jump right back into the fray. (No pun intended) Buffy ends up sucked into the Future of Whedon’s Fray comic. Like the licensed and fan fiction that was written between the release of the Star Wars IV and Star Wars V, it can often be a mess to figure out continuity when you don’t know where you’re going to go creatively. Buffy ended in 2003 and Fray was mostly written in 2001. So when they started this future world, they didn’t know how the end of Buffy (the TV show) was going to end up with tons of girls activated as Slayers. So I think this book was Whedon rectifying the future and present of Buffy. Although you’re left wondering whether that future is still canon.

SPOILER WARNING:
Since at the end she’s still there. So, how does time travel work in the Buffyverse? Does this mean eventually Buffy fails or somehow it goes back to only one slayer – without failure – meaning the girls don’t have to die, they just go back to normal

That said, the future-speak was very annoying. Just like Clockwork Orange it took a while to get the hang of it. It’s probably one of those things where if I were to read it again right away I’d come up with some new insights into what was going on. It was interesting that both slayers – Buffy and Fray – have important Vamps in their life. It’s almost like a hint of inevitability. And maybe a sign that things don’t necessarily have to be so adversarial.

It was good to see Xander display a bit more growth. He’s still mostly Xander, but seeing his squad perform well helped him come to term with his leadership, I think.

One question for the comments (in the spoiler tag below):

SPOILER WARNING:
Take a look at page 68 and tell me if you come away with the same impression – that the way Willow gets to see the evil snake woman is by rubbing one out

Oh, one other question of a very different variety:
SPOILER WARNING:
On page 98 – who is that? (again, I have problems telling who’s who because the images aren’t photorealistic enough)

The final issue in this collection was cute, but probably pointless? Curious to see what happens next.

So it’s a pattern now
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight: Predators and Prey # 1 – Predators And Prey
Looks like every other book is the funny comic relief one. We’ll see if this continues. Of course, the fact that Harmony has the world loving vampires via reality TV is tragic at the same time as being hilarious. It’s funny, after having complained for the past few reviews that I’m having a hard time recognizing characters that were in the live show but don’t quite look that recognizable in comic book form, I was able to tell that the guy Harmony finds outside the club was Andy Dick before he was identified.

I enjoyed this book’s slayer one-off. Just like the one of the girl who was Buffy’s double underground, it was touching. Great job on the writing there and making us care about characters that just appear for one issue. Also, great job coming up with a reason for her not wanting to join Buffy – having just gotten out of a female gang.

The Hello Kitty Vampire is hilarious. It’s also got a great one-shot mini-issue near the end of the book. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Finally we get back to Giles and Faith. Their story was great. Faith is growing. And they’re doing great work on their own.

And Dawn finally gets a resolution to her problem with the thricewise. That little story was both fun and creepy. I feel like she had a bit of awkward dialog with the guy she cheated on, but w/e. I’m not going to criticize a book on one weird-sounding line.

A lull compared to the rest
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight: Retreat # 1 – Retreat
Yeah, the volume is book-ended by battles, but the middle is a break from action. It’s discovered that Twilight is tracking the Slayers’ hiding places by looking for large magic fields. The girls, Giles, and Xander go to see Oz in the mountains. And most of the volume acts as a “what’s Oz been up to” although it also involves the tough decision on whether or not to give up their magic.

The ending is quite quizzical and clearly intended to be a cliff hanger.

Basically:

SPOILER WARNING:
Was everyone in the temple captured?
Are the girls still depowered?
Why can Buffy fly? Does she now have everyone elses’ power and do they now resent her?

I also loved the small story at the end where Harmony goes on The Colbert Report. That was AWESOME!

What that what?!?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight: Twilight # 1 – Twilight
This volume starts off well. The first issue in which Buffy tests her new powers is hilarious. “oh, I just realized what they were doing” is a great line. You’re wondering where the heck these powers are coming from? Well, apparently from all the dead slayers. The power has to go SOMEWHERE. That somewhere is Buffy. When she finally meets Twilight, I love the joke against the other, more famous, Twilight. Most of the rest of this review has to be in spoiler because it depends on the twist of who Twilight is. Although I’m not sure how much of a surprise it should be given all the clues the book has.

SPOILER WARNING:
OK, so Twilight is Angel. How does that make sense? Oh, he was purposely doing this to ensure that all the Slayer enemies would THINK they were making headway against the Slayers. They attack random slayers here and there. If you go back and look at some of the older books you’ll see that Twilight was doing some weird stuff and now it’s obvious why. But why can Angel now have sex with Buffy? Isn’t that what turns him into Angelus?

And Giles’ explanation of what’s going on couldn’t be more cryptic. I don’t understand what’s going on here? Why are Angel and Buffy supposed to make a new race? Why is Twilight a place? Why does this mean infinite demons are entering Earth? After I read that section again, I came to the conclusion that what Giles is saying is that the Universe has been looking to evolve. So it was waiting for an awesome Slayer. Buffy became that awesome Slayer by sharing her power. And then I was a little unsure of why that requires Angel. The best explanation I could come up with was that she had to have extremely pleasure to get there and only Angel could give her that? I was a bit iffy on why Angel was involved. But the rest of the confusing stuff is resolved in the next volume.

willow saying f@#$ing seemed out of character. She was always squeemish about sexual stuff. Maybe it’s just character growth? Maybe it’s a slipup to get a joke out.

The extra Willow comic on how she met the Snake creature was very interesting.

It’s Over. Was it worth it?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight: Last Gleaming # 1 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight: Last Gleaming
So it turns out that Angel isn’t Twilight. Twilight is the universe that Buffy and Angel created and then abandoned. So it got pissed and went back in time to set everything into motion. So…. Buffy Season 8 is Terminator. That kinda sucks because I really am not a fan of time travel paradoxes. It turns out that I was right about this season bringing Buffy in line with the universe in Fray. After this volume is done, there’s a reason for Willow to become dark and hate Buffy. And there’s a reason why there will only be one Slayer in the future.

SPOILER WARNING:
So the Seed of Wonder was from another universe. It came to this one and brought all the demons. Something in our universe was used up. So it caused Buffy and Angel to create a new universe so it could go there and bring the demons. Buffy ends up destroying The Seed. So now all the demons are gone and there’s just the current vamps and Slayers. Willow’s pissed that there’s no magic.

In the epilogue, Whedon atones for going crazy in this season due to comic books allowing him to have an infinite budget. He also mentions that Season 9 will be more like classic Buffy. This is pretty clear with the last chapter of the volume. But it makes me wonder – has Buffy gone stale? We already had 6 seasons of classic Buffy. And without magic and it just being Buffy vs the vamps – who’s the big bad? I guess it could be Buffy vs the Slayerettes, although I’m not sure why THEY are mad at her. (Vs some other people – see the spoiler above) Part of me is curious where Whedon takes things and part of me doesn’t give a crap and thinks he should just end it at eight. I almost wish he’d focus more on the other girls or other characters. Buffy’s story is getting a bit tired.

Buffy has always come across as a little selfish (as Willow also did after magic became huge). But this volume makes her look like a total slut. She just finished having amazing sex with Angel and even says he’s amazing for giving up the Heaven universe to help her destroy the bad guys. Then, as soon as she sees Spike she can’t wait to get into bed with him? WTF?!? Not a lot of growth there.

Author: Eric Mesa

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