Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one my all time favorite television shows.
Just to be clear, I was not a pre-Twilight teen mooning over a vampire. When
Buffy premiered, I was old enough to have a crush on Giles (though I thought Oz
and Xander were cute- yes, I am lover of all things geek!). I was captivated by
the powerful storytelling, smart and funny characters, non-stop action, and
emotional rollercoaster. I was disappointed when Buffy was canceled but found
the ending satisfying. Hell-mouth destroyed and big-bad defeated. In typical
Scooby Gang fashion, they tossed out all the rules and saved to world. No
longer the only one, I imagined Buffy could share the burden and live a life of
As I started reading the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 graphic novel (Vol.
1 THE LONG WAY HOME), I
realized immediately I had been shortsighted. I never stopped to ask myself one
important question— What happens to a world overrun by Slayers? This question
forms the basis of Season 8. Fundamentally, Buffy, while the only Slayer, was
never alone. Willow, Xander, and Giles (among others) had her back and served
as sounding board and moral compass. More than her physical strength, it was
love and friendship that made her a powerful and human slayer. As becomes
evident in Volume 2 (NO
FUTURE FOR YOU), slayers react in different ways to their power and its
accompanying responsibility. Those slayers guided by self-interest become
dangerous (Vol.3 WOLVES AT
THE GATE), while other slayers prefer to run and hide (Vol. 5 PREDATORS AND PREY). The
human and supernatural response is fear of the threat posed by their power
resulting in intense and violent efforts to contain the slayers (Vol. 1 THE LONG WAY HOME).
Reading the 8 Volumes of Season 8 was a treat. The dialogue stayed true to how
the characters spoke in the television series; I could all but hear the actors
saying the lines. The graphics were beautiful; though, with all the slayers
running around, I sometimes wasn’t sure who was speaking. I particularly
enjoyed the graphics for the various covers interspersed throughout each
volume, and the examples of the development of the covers. I enjoyed catching
up with the familiar main and supporting characters (good, evil, and in
between) who appear throughout the series (I won’t say anymore about who shows
up so you can be surprised). I loved discovering where life had taken some of
my favorite characters.
The fundamental question at the heart of season 8- What happens to a world
overrun by slayers? – immediately captured my attention. The writers brought
forward issues I had never thought of and the challenges were exciting and
action-packed. Unfortunately, the plot sometimes veered in directions that just
didn’t make sense to me (in particular the reveal of the big bad and its
aftermath in Volume 7 TWILIGHT). I think the graphic format allowed for a level
of fancifulness that ended up detracting from the story.
This is my first time reading a graphic novel as an adult and there will be a
season 9. So, will I read it? My first inclination was to say no. Though I’m
glad I read Season 8, there were aspects of the format and the story I didn’t
enjoy. But…. at the end of Volume 8 (LAST GLEAMING) there are some final words by Joss Wedon in which he
addresses the challenges of Season 8 and plans for Season 9. If, as Wedon
indicates, Season 9 is a return to the Buffy we love, the slayer (and her
friends?) rather than a slayer, I will definitely give Buffy another chance.
Thanks to the publishers for making the series available for review via
Now some questions… are you a Buffy fan? What did you think happened to the
slayers and the Scooby Gang after Season 7? Do you read graphic novels? If so,
which series do you recommend?
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(Fantas Magor 4:37am April 9, 2012)