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Can the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book live up to the TV series? A review of Season 8

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 her choosing.

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 Netgalley!

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?




2 comments posted.

Re: Can the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book live up to the TV series? A review of Season 8

Hello Maria.
The season 8 of Buffy was awesome.
It kept ringing in my mind how things turned out
for buffy and the gang.

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