Saturday, 20 September 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight: This Comic Proves That Buffy’s Still Got It!

A Review By: Amelia 
I always liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I well admit that the last few seasons of the show lost me in how truly ridiculous some of them were (I mean, that one where there’s a freeze ray–what the hell is that?). I did however like how the series ended: it was touching and meaningful and I didn’t think–for a long, long time–that Buffy should continue after such a great wrap-up. Anyway, after many years of doubt, I decided to give the comics (which go by seasons) a chance. Surprisingly, they did not disappoint.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight is a comic book series that serves as a canonical continuation of the television series and follows the events that come of the show’s finale. The story arch of the series is as follows.

A year after the end of the television series, Buffy and Xander now lead command-central of slayers and at their disposal are a wide array of psychics, seers, witches, and Slayers (around 1800 by Buffy’s count and 500 working and training with Buffy herself). In the wake of Sunnydale’s destruction, elements within the United States government view the expanded Slayers as international terrorists and characterize Buffy as a "charismatic, uncompromising and completely destructive" leader. Many villains from Buffy’s past make appearances and they are all connected to a new foe named Twilight. He’s the enigmatic big bad of season eight and seeks to destroy all the Slayers and bring about an end to all magic on Earth.

The authors and artists of the Buffy comics are numerous but include Georges Jeanty (who is a comic book penciller and worked on The American Way), Brian K. Vaughan (who is a comic writer and worked on Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad, and Saga), and, the creator of Buffy himself, Joss Whedon (who also wrote Dollhouse, Firefly, and The Avengers movie). Whedon doesn’t write any of the main stories but the writers that stand in for him do a remarkable job capturing the tone and essence of the Buffy-verse in the characters, themes, and dialogue.

The art style of Buffy Season Eight is a mostly realistic style with bland,
mostly empty landscapes, but exceptional foreground and facial details. It’s shadowy and dark–more so than the show ever was–but it’s not overbearing or distracting in any way. It actually suits the comic media better to have it more shadowy. And the comic is by no means just dark shadows. As I mentioned a few sentences ago, the facial details go a long way and there’s more than a few times when a face Buffy makes when caught off guard will bring a smile to your face. Sure it’s cartoony, but the whole premise kind of is, so why not?

The themes that Buffy had during its television run are present in the comics. It’s all quite heavy when you look past the witty quips, fast-paced sarcasm, and cartoony facial expressions of surprise. Loyalty and sexuality are there, as our revelations about friendship (especially concerning Willow and Buffy). Some of it gets a little overused–especially Buffy and Dawn’s strained sisterhood–but mostly it’s all good and all very reminiscent of the television series.

All in all, this is a great comic series and I look forward to sinking my teeth into Buffy Season Nine. Everything that made early Buffy so good were there: themes, characters, even the way they all originally talked! It helped a great deal to bring everything together and make it feel like the same universe and not just something that was tacked on at the end to try and squeeze more money from the loyal fanbase.

My final thoughts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight are that it’s good. Better than good. I’ll even go as far as to say that these comics are better than the last season of the television show! The characters seem truer and more on-point than they were that last season and even Dawn (my most hated character: probably everyone’s most hated character!) was put to good use as a giant. Are these comics as good as seasons one through three of Buffy? No, because nothing will ever be as good as seasons one through three of Buffy! But the comics do a good job capturing the characters we all grew to love so much and the sometimes ridiculous, mostly over-the-top story lines that made Buffy so memorable! If you were sad to see Buffy the Vampire Slayer end, then you owe it to yourself to read the comics!

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