The Story so Far: I am reading and reviewing the Buffyverse comic series’ that are canon with the television shows they are based on, including Buffy Season 8, Fray, Spike, Angel & Faith and Angel: After the Fall among others. I will post a final reading list when I’ve caught up to season 10.
I’ve included links to my previous posts in this reading marathon at the bottom of the page.
Find BTVS Season 8, Volume 2 Library Hardcover Edition on Amazon
This Week: Review of Buffy Season 8, volume 2 (Library Hardcover Edition).
A Beautiful Sunset (Issue #11)
Secrets are revealed. Buffy learns that one of her slayers has been caught on tape leading a robbery for weapons and ammunition. How does she deal? She gets back to her roots and takes her aggressions out on a vampire nest with her best slayer-in-training, Satsu. They talk and another truth comes out that would have probably ended with hugs and puppies if it weren’t for season 8’s big bad, Twilight crashing the party.
Yep, we finally get to see Twilight. He flies, wears a mask, is manish, he probably has one of those gruff Christian Bale voices. He’s also pissed. Buffy has upset the balance of good and evil with her league of extraordinary gentlewomen and he has made it his mission to put a stop to them all.
Twilight is unlike any foe Buffy has faced before. He is more similar to a super-villian from the pages of an X-Men comic than any of the vampires, demons, and forces of darkness Buffy is accustomed to. He is also manipulative. Already Twilight has Buffy questioning her methods. Buffy will need to find her moral certainty if she is to have any chance of surviving her next encounter with Twilight. Another action-packed issue!
Wolves At The Gate (Issue #12-15)
Dracula is back and reunited with his favorite bug-eating lackey, Xander! This time Dracula is teaming up with the Scoobies to take down a gang of Gothic, power-thieving, Japanese vampires. I really enjoyed the bromance between Xander and Dracula in this arc. Xander has become more of a friend to Dracula than his man-servant resulting in many funny and endearing exchanges between the two.
This mini-series is a must for fans of classic horror and creature features. You won’t want to miss giant Dawn attacking Tokyo Godzilla-style! There is also a Mecha Dawn to combat her!
This arc is everything that fans of the show love: a perfect mix of horror, action, drama, romance and comedy. Most impressive is the return of series writer Drew Goddard, who received a Hugo Award for his writing in the seventh season of BTVS. Goddard writes these characters as well as Joss Whedon himself. He also knows horror, as he showed in his directorial début with writer Whedon, Cabin in the Woods.
I recommend this particularly to fans of the show that have had trouble getting into season 8. Sure, Dawn is still a giant but the characters are in a more realistic setting and despite the crazy shenanigans that surround them, there are some fantastic character building moments reminiscent of the TV show.
Time Of Your Life (Issues #16-19)
Buffy meets Fray! I’ve been waiting for this moment since I first read the Fray comic book series in 2001. Willow sends Buffy on a mission from a mysterious source that takes her to New York and throws her through a time rift to the future. Seeing Buffy and Fray fight was awesome, particularly because both slayers fight with the mystical scythe. The scythe originated in the Fray comics and was given to Buffy in season seven of the television show. Nice to see that detail come full circle. Also, as you can tell by the cover, this arc marks the return of Dark Willow. She is an older, wiser force to be reckoned with than she was in season six and this time Xander is not around to help Buffy.
Xander is stuck with Dawn in present day Scotland standing with Dawn against an attack on the castle. Dawn continues to go through changes in this arc as well. Literally. But hey, at least she’s not a giant anymore.
Time of your Life also features appearances from many characters from season seven including Willow’s love interest, Kennedy (or as I call her Not-Tara) and Vi, played by Felicia Day on the show back before the red-headed actress became a household name.
I was very pleased to see that Karl Moline, who illustrated the Fray comic book series, returned to draw this arc. He did a fantastic job and it was amazing to see Fray and future Manhattan, or Haddyn as it’s called, return to the Buffyverse.
After These Messages…We’ll Be Right Back! (Issue #20)
Back in 2002, a BTVS animated series was greenlit. The show would have been in the same vein as Batman: The Animated Series. Unfortunately, none of the networks bought the show. It was a shame because the animation looked fantastic (similar to the Batman series). The series was set during the first season of the show back when the Scooby Gang was still in high school and Buffy’s primary foes were vampires. In After These Messages we get to see what an episode from the animated series would have looked like.
In this issue, Buffy gets some much-needed sleep and dreams of her life not long after she first moved to Sunnydale. I loved this. It was so nice to see Buffy with her mom again, to see Buffy and Angel, Xander with both his eyes, and computer hacker Willow. This one-shot brings to light how much Buffy has changed over the years and is a nice bit of nostalgia for fans of the show.
Willow: Goddesses And Monsters
In this issue, we learn how Willow met her spiritual guide, the snake lady Aluwyn. This issue takes place months after the end of season seven when Willow activated the potential slayers. Willow meets Aluwyn when she undergoes a mystical journey that is traditional for witches seeking guidance. Willow travels through a series of spiritual levels including one set at Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter. The goddesses Willow encounters, warn Willow that Aluwyn is a demon sorceress, a trickster who cannot be trusted.
Willow’s lost love, Tara appears in this issue, but the story is ambiguous as to whether Willow sees Tara or an illusion. BTVS is known to have deceased characters return for special appearances and flashbacks, but Tara has never been one of them. Since it is unclear whether Willow really sees Tara, her appearance in this issue was largely disappointing. There are some funny moments but, for me, this was one issue that I could have easily skipped over.
- Fray, Angel: After the Fall 1-2, and Spike: After the Fall
- The Conclusion of Angel: After the Fall
- Asylum, Shadow Puppets, and Spike: The Complete Series
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, Volume 1
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, volume 3!