Buffy Season 8
The Long Way Home (2007) Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty
The Long Way Home takes up after the end of Season 7. Sunnydale is destroyed, every slayer with potential is now a full slayer, and these slayers are now organized into groups all over the world, to take out demons as they find them. Unfortunately for Buffy, others know about her and want to take her out, for a variety of reasons. In the meantime, we get to spend time with our favorite characters (for me, that would be Xander. So cute!).
We also revisit some old enemies and meet some new enemies. (Because there is always a new big bad every season.)
Of course the flow of a comic is very different from the flow of a TV show. There is a lot less dialog, and a lot more reading between the lines. So there is a transition as you try and get used to the new format, which takes a bit. I’ll definitely have to read through a second time, paying more attention as I go (My first read through of every coming tends to be very fast, and this was worse than normal, as I meant only to browse through the book (it arrived today) and then spend time reading it this weekend. Unfortunately, as soon as I started browsing I was hooked and had to finish. (This was unfortunate, because I’d twisted around to get a different book, decided to grab The Long Way Home quickly to browse through it, and then ended up reading the first 20 pages while sitting at a strange angle because I thought I was just going to set it right back down.
So how did The Long Way Home fit into the Buffy series? As I said, it’s a change. If you don’t read comics, then it may be a difficult adjustment. If you read comics, then the adjustment should be far easier. The one thing I didn’t like in the change of format is that we don’t get to spend a lot of time with any one character, so the feeling of the comic is different from the TV series. It also takes longer to learn about what has been happening to the characters, because not only are we curious about what has been happening, the story also has to move forward immediately. Which makes sense for a comic, but as a fan of the show, one wants to spend just finding out how everyone has been doing.
But is it worth it? Hell yeah. We got more Buffy, Xander, and Willow! What could be better? Additionally, there are things that can be done in the comic form far more easily than on TV. For instance, we get to see “&@#%ing” instead of some milder comment. Which all things considered makes a lot more sense. We also get things that might not be as easily done in TV, including lots of monsters, and, well, then there’s Dawn.
So if you’re a Buffy fan whose already a comic reader, then you’ll want to pick up The Long Way Home, and you’l probably love it right off the bat. If you’re a Buffy fan who is not a comic reader, you’ll want to lower your expectations before reading The Long Way Home. The format is very different, and takes some adjustment. If you expect it to be just like the TV series, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you recognize that a different medium requires a different approach, then you should be able to enjoy it.
No Future for You (2008) Brian K Vaughan, Georges Jeanty, Joss Whedon
Volume two see the return of Faith, and what is interesting is we get to see Faith’s interior monologue, including some glimpses into her past. Faith was never one of my favorite characters on the show (I don’t think I ever forgave her for breaking Xander’s heart), but I did like that she was extremely complex.
A group called the Twilight still wants to kill Buffy, Giles wants Faith to help him save the world from a slayer gone rogue, and Dawn is still large.
The problem, I think, is that as much as I love Buffy and Joss Whedon, I always feel like I’m missing something when I read his comics–that there’s something happening between the panels that I’m not catching.
It doesn’t mean I don’t like the story, I just have a harder time following along. Of course, I can go back and re-read the comics as many times as I want, but I have a hard time doing that when there are so many other new books out there to read. (Let’s do the math: reading a comic versus reading a book. Time wise I can read a comic multiple times in the same time it’d take me to read a book. But I’m not about logic unfortunately.)
But it is a good story, and although the Twilight arc is nowhere near completion, it ends relatively well, with new doors opening for the future.
Wolves at the Gate (2008) Drew Goddard, Georges Jeanty, Joss Whedon
I’m not sure how I feel about the story arc with Satsu. I’m just not sure it feels like Buffy. It’s not that I think the story arc is wrong, I’m just not sure if feels like Buffy. But, the story did work, so I can’t complain too much.
The story arc with Xander was very good. He was always one of my favorite characters, and although he was often goofy, they’ve managed not to make him a parody of himself. Of course, the end of his arc in this story was not so great, but it was well done.
But the best line in the story probably came from Andrew, who I have to say annoyed me through much of Season 7. I think I found him and Kennedy both poor substitutes for Tara.
Additionally, I liked the flow of this story better than the previous two volumes. As I mentioned in my review of volume 2, I sometimes feel like I’m missing things when I read Joss Whedon’s comics, but I didn’t have that feeling with volume three, which over all made it more enjoyable than the previous two volumes.
I’m still, however, sometimes weirded out by seeing the actors and actress who played those characters for seven years transformed into drawn characters.