Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8

This entry is part 4 of 12 in the series Hallowe'en Horror Week

Published: 2007
Author: Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty


A disappointing graphic continuation of a great TV show

I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the action, the humour, the characters.  Hell I even loved the songs.  It was a wrench when the TV series was cancelled but it ended on a high.  Sunnydale was destroyed, the hellmouth was sealed and Buffy and most of her friends escaped safely.  She also managed to recruits dozens of potential Slayers to help continue the fight against evil.  Creator Joss Whedon chose to continue the story in a comic book format.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 begins about a year and a half after the TV show ends.  Sunnydale is still just a hole in the ground, Buffy and her Slayers are spread across the world training and fighting demons.  Buffy and faithful Xander are based in a castle in Scotland, new Watcher Andrew is training a squad of Slayers in Italy and Buffy’s father-figure Giles is (unsurprisingly) in England.  The US military are keen to seen the end of Buffy and her Slayers, describing them as a terrorist organisation.  The military teams up with old foes of the Scooby Gang in their attempt to defeat our heroes.

Of the 40 comics in series 8 I’ve read the first 10 (presented across 2 volumes) and I’m really not sure whether to continue.  Compared to the funny and inventive TV shows the comics are weak and disappointing.

Our favourite characters are all back, the script is what we would expect from Whedon but the strange, overly thought-out dialogue which worked so well when delivered by Sarah Michelle Geller and her co-stars seems flat and cliched when placed starkly in front of us on the page.

The action jumps around relentlessly and too much time is spent in a ‘dream’ state.  I never cared much for the episodes spent in dreams and I continue to dislike them in this format.  The action sequences are not nearly as impressive as in the TV show.  Lots of ‘kapow’ and explosive illustrations which were too easy to skip over.

There were some very impressive aspects to the new Buffy series.  There is now no limitations to the world that Joss Whedon can create and he attacks this with real gusto.  There are a myriad of settings, Dawn has been turned into a giant and the bad guys are more numerous and inventive than ever before.  And (as always) the story takes a turn for the better when rogue Slayer Faith makes an appearance.

My major problem with the Buffy comics is that they don’t have the charisma or personality of the TV series.  The lead actors imbued their characters with verve and charm and this is sadly missing from these one-dimensional comics.  Having said that, the story is engaging and I enjoyed Volume 2 much more than Volume 1.

Perhaps it’s a sign that I should go on.  Or maybe I’ll just put on my favourite episodes and be happy with the ending of season 7?

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